Surrey-based Hogs Back Brewery has won three top medals in the annual Hop Awards.
All three of the hops cultivated in its hop garden were recognised by the Institute of Brewing & Distilling (IBD) with Golds for Fuggles and Farnham White Bine hops and a Silver for Cascade.
The Hogs Back hops came through against competition from a total of 166 hop samples submitted by hop growers and merchants from across the UK. Judging took place in November in London, where all samples were assessed ‘blind’ by a panel of head brewers and other experts.
Hogs Back was the only brewer to win medals at the competition, with all others going to specialist hop growers.
Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson said: “Winning three medals at the Hop Awards is a tremendous achievement, especially as we were the only entrant to win two Gold medals. Next year marks 10 years since we planted our original hop garden, so to be bringing home a prestigious medal for each of the hops we’re growing is something to really celebrate.
“We started growing hops because we wanted to reduce the carbon footprint of one of our key ingredients by growing them just yards from the brewhouse. We also wanted to revive hop growing in the Farnham area.
“Ten years on, the benefits of having a hop garden have exceeded all our expectations: the hops we grow provide around 50% of our annual requirement and contribute to the unique character of our beers. The hop garden has become a focal point not just for the brewery but for the local community, with 3,000 people helping to celebrate our Hop Harvest in September.”
He added: “We are now the largest brewer grower of hops in the UK but growing hops hasn’t been all plain sailing! When we started 9 years ago Matthew and I knew absolutely nothing about how difficult a crop of hops are. But we had a vision, great enthusiasm and, fantastic help from two experts, Dr Peter Darby from Wye Hops & Bill Biddell from the local Hampton Estate. I am indebted to our hop garden manager Matthew King for his 100% commitment, dedication and skill, without which none of this would have been possible. Thanks, are also due to our volunteer Hogs Back Hoppers who help to tend the plants and bring in the harvest. These medals are a wonderful reward for a great team effort.”
The Hop Awards also presented a medal to another Surrey hop grower. The Hampton Estate in nearby Seale, which supplies Hogs Back. They won The Wigan Cup for the best sample of Fuggles.
Both Hogs Back and Hampton estate are close to Farnham, which was historically one of the most important hop farming regions in the UK, with the area’s hops commanding a premium price. The Farnham White Bine hop was originally developed in the early 1700s in just a mile and a half from the site of Hogs Back Brewery. It was highly prized for its aromas and was the precursor variety to the better-known Kent Goldings.
The IBD Hop Awards were presented at a ceremony on the 19th of January at Renegade Brewery in West Berkshire
A large group of “Hogs Back Hoppers” volunteers joined Matthew & Rupert to celebrate the Brewery’s win at the Brewery Tap & Hop Hangar in Tongham and are pictured in front of the Hop picker with the ‘Le Mays’ cup held by Matthew in the foreground.
Image: Hopper’s celebration drinks (Group)
Contact: William Reed, email@example.com
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