Craft lager Surrey style

We are awash with real ales in Britain. Now it is lager’s turn.

So many real or craft ale-type beers are being brewed in small breweries all over Britain. Yet lager remains a drink largely dominated by foreign brewers.

Lagers such as Staropramen or Pilsner Urquell from Czechoslovakia are real enough, but there is an English craft lager called Hogstar, 4.5 per cent abv, being brewed at the Hogs Back brewery in Tongham, Surrey.

The brewery, founded in 1992, has gained a good reputation throughout the southern home counties for its T.E.A (Traditional English Ale), 4.2 per cent, found in supermarkets and on draught in many pubs. It is family owned and brews everything the traditional way by really helpful and enthusiastic people.

Located in the heart of the old Surrey hop growing area, they planted their own traditional hop garden in 2014, the first in the Farnham area for over 100 years. Very artisanal.

Hogstar is seen as a return to old style lagers with greater depth of flavour and aroma in keeping with the English ale tradition, and made with special lager malts, five different hops and natural herb extracts added at intervals during the brewing process.

Fermentation and maturing lasts over one month; the flavour develops and, importantly, carbonation occurs naturally. Strictly no pasteurisation or added CO2. The result is strong malt and hops flavours, and mid-amber, 4.5 per cent.

Being a small brewery, much of its distribution is through specialist wholesalers and pinpointing exact locations of their stockists is not always possible. But they tell me that Majestic Warehouses and Co-op stores in the Hampshire/Surrey area usually stock it.

Buying direct from the brewery is easy. Orders over £40 are delivered for free. Hogstar is available in 330ml bottles at £19.75 for 12 bottles or £10 for six 330ml cans. Tel: 01252 784 495 or www.hogsback.co.uk.

It is also supplied on draught for pubs and is well worth sampling.

Yachties’ favourite bar

Pewaukee Yacht Club, Wisconsin, USA, has been declared winner of the 2016 Favourite Yachting Bar in Wight Vodka’s annual Scuttlebutt-facilitated poll.

Situated on the south side of Lake Pewaukee, due west of Milwaukee of Miller beers fame, it is a major lake-sailing mecca especially for Scows, some up to 40ft, and many yachting rock stars have sailed there. It is open for sailing May to October and is a major centre for ice yachting in between.

Over 70,000 voted for Pewaukee out of more than 130,000 votes cast. Not bad considering the club has only about 300 members and the population of the town, which is the home of Harken yacht fittings, is 13,135.

Past winners have included iconic bars in the Caribbean or the Azores, all likely to be on anyone’s list of favourites. The 2014 winner was The King & Queen, Hamble, while the Pier View in Cowes jointly won the 2015 poll with Plas Heli, Wales. But sadly no UK or European bars were even in the top 10 this time.

Well, you know what to do when voting for the 2017 winner comes around!

Top 10 bars 2016

  1. Pewaukee Yacht Club, USA
    2. Rochester Yacht Club, USA
    3. Windward Mark at Bitter End YC, BVI
    4. Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, Bermuda
    5. Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, Bermuda
    6. Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, Hong Kong
    7. Sloop Tavern, Ballard, USA
    8. Gladstone’s Long Beach, USA
    9. Happy Island Bar, Union Island, St. Vincent & Grenadines
    10. Roger’s Beach Bar, Hog Island, Grenada

Previous winners

2009 – Peter Cafe Sport in the Azores
2010 – Soggy Dollar on Jost Van Dyke, BVI
2011 – IYAC in Newport, USA
2012 – Saint Maarten Yacht Club
2013 – One Bar Playa Blanca in Lanzarote, Spain
2014 – King & Queen Pub in Hamble
2015 – Plas Heli in Wales and Pier View in Cowes