Record visitors celebrate hop harvest at Surrey brewery
6th October 2023
Hogs Back Brewery’s popular Hop Harvest Festival welcomed more than 3,500 visitors this year, making the event the biggest hop harvest party ever held at the brewery.
Guests flocking to Hogs Back’s harvest festival on 15th-17th September enjoyed beer, food, live music and family entertainment in the late summer sunshine.
For the first time ever, entertainment started on Friday evening, with a new ‘Roots’ concert on the festival stage, headlined by folk musician Seth Lakeman. On Saturday, crowds gathered from early afternoon to watch lively performances from six bands, culminating in a set of crowd-pleasing covers from headliners Bloomfield Avenue.
Performances were also live-streamed to the Beer Garden for those wanting a more chilled musical experience.
Sunday’s TEA Party has a more family-friendly atmosphere, with plenty of entertainment for children of all ages. The fun included a circus workshop, archery, inflatable slides, Mr Magic show, farmyard animals and electric skateboarding, as well as the ever-popular dray rides around the Hop Garden.
There was music for the younger crowd too, with the popular Harry Styles Experience topping the bill.
Across the weekend, guests enjoyed the full range of Hogs Back beers, including Green TEA – a variation of the brewer’s flagship Tongham TEA, brewed with fresh ‘green’ hops straight from their hop garden.
One of the event’s highlights was the competition for best hop-decorated hat. The custom of raising money for a local charity was also continued, and all proceedings from the dray rides were received by the Prostate Project, totalling £2,543 over the weekend.
Rupert Thompson, Hogs Back managing director, said: “Every year, we say we’ve just had our best Hop Harvest Party ever – and it’s always true! This year we had more guests than ever before, more bands on the festival stage, fabulous entertainment for families – and we enjoyed nearly all of it in glorious sunshine.”
Hogs Back harvested three hop varieties this year: Fuggles, used in Tongham TEA; English Cascade, used in its Hogstar lager and Surrey Nirvana Session IPA; and Farnham White Bine, a traditional local variety that the brewer saved from near-extinction by planting in its hop garden in 2014.
Mr Thompson continued: “We’re delighted to have harvested hops from our own hop garden for the eighth year. This year’s crop won’t be our biggest, due to the wet weather in July and August, but the hops we have are of good quality and will add distinctive flavours to our beers.
“We’re proud to be growing hops just yards from the brewery, helping to reduce our food miles and achieve our goal of being an ever more sustainable brewer.”
Dates for next year’s Hop Harvest Festival have already been set, with the event taking place over the weekend of 13th-15th September. Mr Thomson said the Hogs Back team is looking forward to hosting an “even bigger and better event”.