15 of the best breweries in Surrey
PUBLISHED: 11:19 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:18 10 June 2020
Surrey has always been a county of good taste, so it’s no surprise that microbreweries are popping up all over the place to partake in the craft beer revolution
1) Hogs Back Brewery, Tongham
Hogs Back Brewery was founded in 1992 in Tongham, where it remains today. Its first brew was TEA, Traditional English Ale, which remains its flagship and one of Surrey’s leading independent ales.
Hogs Back quickly gained a reputation for brewing a range of outstanding cask ales such as HOP and Ripsnorter, and bottled beers such as OTT and A over T, many of which have won awards over the years.
In 2014, they planted our own hop field next to the brewery, bringing the traditional but near-extinct White Bine hop variety back to its Surrey home.
2) Surrey Hills Brewery, Dorking
Shere Drop, their flagship beer, is named after the village of Shere and is comfortably their best-selling beer. The beer has become a favourite locally, and many regulars order a pint of “Drop” in local pubs.
They also brew collaborations with Cobbetts Beer Shop in Dorking. The beer is called Collusion and they have already produced four versions of this.
A little known fact is that over 95% of the beer they brew is consumed within 15 miles of the brewery. They’re proud to supply the Surrey Hills and surrounding area with their core beers and you should look out for many more innovative beers in the future.
One of the larger breweries in Surrey, they have a strong local following in the county but their extensive range of beers - made in an environmentally-friendly manner with 97% of grain coming from East Anglia - also available nationwide.
The company’s brewers are highly-trained, meaning each of the 20,000 pints they produce each week are expertly crafted with the best ingredients and using methods from around the world.
Beers are on offer in kegs, casks, bottles and cans and include their flagship pale ale Pilcrow Pale, the best bitter DB One, an extra pale ale Surrey XPA and many others catering to a variety of tastes.
4) Big Smoke Brew Co, Surbiton
Big Smoke Brew Co was founded in July 2014 when the owners of The Antelope began to make use of a space in the back of the pub that was perfect for a microbrewery.
Their beers are suitable for vegans and many of them have been stocked in some top London pubs including The White Horse in Parson’s Green, The Rake in Borough Market and The Southampton Arms in Kentish Town.
A few of their most popular beers include the Electric Eye Pale Ale, Solaris Session Pale and the Underworld Milk Stout. Their best-seller is Electric Eye, a very hoppy and bitter pale ale with a juicy mouth feel and a huge citrus aroma.
5) Ascot Brewing Company, Camberley
The brewery started in 2007 and despite an intention to set up in Ascot, they were forced to establish themselves in Camberley due to a common problem in the area: low water pressure.
A few years ago their Anastasia’s Exile stout was named the second best stout in the country while Posh Pooch - their best-seller - is a delicious bitter named after a dog in ascot that wore a diamond necklace.
For something a little unusual they also produce Strangely Desserted, a pale ale that has flavours of strawberry cheesecake.
Here are some more great Surrey pubs:
6) Craft Brews, Frensham
Initially called Frensham Brewery, the company was first set up in 2014 and works alongside the scenic 200-acre Pierrepont Farm.
Their unique location helps them to stand out in the market and as they are based on a public footpath that cuts through Tankersford Bridge and Frensham Common, they are uniquely placed for a visit when you’re exploring this part of the county.
The brewery changed hands in 2018 and today their taproom often hosts a number of great food, drink and music events where you’ll be able to sample one of their wonderful unfined beers.
This brewery based in a barn has a wonderfully unique origin story: Steve Taylor and Anne Jackson bumped into each other at a school parents evening having not seen each other for more than 30 years and from there they ditched their careers to set up the company.
Since setting up they’ve attended numerous beer festivals where they show off brews like Trenchman’s Hop, Pond Tail, Polly’s Potion and many more that you’ll likely recognise by the bottle’s colourful labels.
At the end of each working week - although not during lockdown - they run Fresh Beer Friday where you can visit the brewery for drinks, food and a spot of entertainment.
8) Brightwater Brewery, Claygate
Of every pub, micropub and brewery in Surrey, there can’t be many with a more unique location than this.
You’ll find the brewery’s micropub - Platform 3 - right next to Claygate station and it certainly has a claim to be the smallest pub in the UK.
Daisy Gold is their flagship beer while you may also recognise the Little Nipper, Lipsmacker and Wild Orchid Cherry Porter, each of which is brewed with the exact same attention to detail.
9) The Crafty Brewing Co, Dunsfold
Starting out in a shed, this Surrey Hills-based company has rapidly expanded to serve communities in a 30-mile radius around their hub at Thatched House Farm. Their success was such that they also managed to acquire The Little Beer Corporation in Guildford.
While their main source of business still comes from inside the county, the company also ship to all parts of the British Isles and today you’ll find their beers in 700 pubs, hotels, restaurants and retailers around the country.
Their core selection of beers are supplemented by a range of ales that have been developed in association with regiments and corps of the British Army with a part of the proceeds going towards sport and adventure activities for injured soldiers.
Since setting up a brewery in a 16th century oak barn in 2015, this independent has been busy perfecting four regular beers and a few specials for more acquired tastes.
Their first beer was launched at The Crown Inn at Old Oxted and since then they have been working to increase the number of locations where you’ll be able to get one of their pints.
Online ordering is available while you can also pick a few bottles up from the Flower Farm Shop on the Oxted Road.
Some more things to do in Surrey:
11) Pilgrim Brewery, Reigate
Established in 1982, Pilgrim lay claim to being the oldest craft brewery in the South East. Their flagship ale, Progress, has been brewed since the company’s inception and it is a firm favourite in Reigate and further afield.
New investment was secured in 2017 and that has helped Pilgrim develop their taproom and today it is the best place for you to sample one of their many varied beers.
To appeal to traditional drinkers and craft beer enthusiasts alike they use heritage ingredients and modern brewing methods, resulting in beers that stay on trend without alienating their local customer base.
12) Thurstons Brewery, Horsell
Started in the kitchen of The Crown in Horsell in 2012, Thurstons has spread quickly around the local area and it’s now likely you’ll find a Horsell Best, an Un-American pale ale or Milk Stout in nearby pubs.
Their best-selling beer is Horsell Gold, a tipple that goes down well as a light, easy-drinking session beer that frequently does well at beer festivals.
Keep an eye out for their beers at the White Hart in Chobham, The Half Moon in Windlesham, The Inn at West End and many others as the business continues its expansion around the county.
Supplying to over 50 pubs in and around Surrey as well as off-licences, wine shops and beer specialist shops, Tillingbourne Brewery has been serving the county since 2011.
The Stephan Langton Inn at Friday Street is where you can always find at least three of their beers on tap and apart from the brewery, it is also where most of their new beers can first be sampled.
Summit IPA - a powerful 6.6% deep copper ale with the very noticeable taste of Galaxy hops from Australia - is considered one of their most distinctive beers while their first sour beer called “Surrey Sour” has raised the eyebrows of many beer lovers.
14) Thames Side Brewery, Staines-upon-Thames
Thames Side Brewery owner Andrew Hayward realised a lifetime’s ambition to leave the insurance industry to start his own micro-brewery and today he even grows some of his own hops by the river.
Their signature ale is White Swan, a hoppy US-style pale ale, bursting with Chinook and Columbus hops and perfectly complemented by traditional Maris Otter pale malt. 5p from every pint sold goes to the Swan Sanctuary in Shepperton.
The best places to find their ales are the London Stone and Beehive in Staines, Thyme at the Tavern in Chertsey, The Sussex Arms and The White Swan in Twickenham, Barley Mow in Shepperton and the Glass House and The Watchman in New Malden.
15) Leith Hill Brewery, Coldharbour
Based at the Plough Inn - a traditional country pub deep in the heart of the Surrey Hills - this brewery is the perfect place to stop off for a pint after a long walk or cycle up Leith Hill.
Inevitably, the Plough itself is the best and only place to enjoy their beer and on a sunny day their beer garden is a fantastic place to work your way through their selection of beers.
Crooked Furrow - the 3.7% traditional best bitter - is their top-seller and the only beer that is brewed all year round and you can expect to find it on tap in the pub every day of the year.