Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Night Beer: Hogs Back T.E.A.

T.E.A. (Traditional English Ale)
Hogs Back Brewery
Tongham Surrey, UK
English Pale Ale (Bottle Conditioned)

I guess I've been going a bit overboard on the ales eh? I'll switch it up next week.

Today a simple British session ale from the LCBO's spring release. You can see on the bottle that this is endorsed by CAMRA. That would be the UK's Campaign for Real Ale, the champions of cask conditioned beer and traditional public houses in Britain. So that's promising!

Agressive pour, little head. Looks like a cask ale, that's promising. A clear amber.

Not much at all on the nose, some slightly metallic malt.

Not much in the flavour either. Light caramel malt. Oddly enough, a weak tea character... iced tea. Very subtle bitterness at the back of the mouth.

Nice bottle conditioned mouthfeel, but doesn't have the flavour to back it up, so it just comes across as thin.

Frankly, I can't say it's that much better than your average Canadian macro-ale. Rather disappointing. I'd give it a pass.

Simple review for a simple beer. Maybe I'll make up for it with an extra one in the next couple days.

EDIT: Note, as this is bottle conditioned, there will be some sediment in the glass. Feel free to gulp it down, won't kill you.


  1. Just got back from a weekend in TO and had a fabulous beer experience at a place called the Bier Markt (no typos, that’s how they spell it) on l’Esplanade, two or three doors west of Church near the St Lawrence Market. Tucked into a six-beer sampler they call a caddy. At the moment, they have four different ones for $19.31 each (not a bad deal for 42 oz of beer from the taps) – “Vive la Belgique”, “Whole Wheat”, “Lovely Lagers” and “Winter Warmers”. I had the Belgian, a Stella lager, a Hoegaarden, an Affligem Blond Abbey Ale, a De Koninck Amber Ale, a Leffe Brune Ale and a Fruli Strawberry Wheat Ale. Then I got talking to the owner and when I told him how much I like wheats, he brought me another Hoegaarden and, for comparison, a Paulaner Hefe-Weizen. My wife, meanwhile, had a pint of Salzburg, Austria’s own Stiegl Lager, served in “the sexist beer glass we’ve ever served beer in” and it was indeed a stunning lager glass – tall, slightly bulbed at the bottom and narrowing along its pipe-like length to a quite small diameter rim. It preserved the carbonation forever.

    I came home with their hugely informative 33-page beer menu that has some wonderful descriptions of their over 100 brands from 24 countries, a style guide, plus a highly informative two-page glossary of beer terms, from ABV to Wit Beer. (I had asked Tony, our friendly waiter, if I could buy one and he said, “We don’t sell any swag here but if I don’t see it go out the door with you, I guess it never went out the door with you.”)

    Poured myself onto the train and, for good measure, had a couple glasses of red wine and a Graham's Port en route back to Ottawa. I've been chilling on ice water since about 9 pm just so I wake up relatively clear-headed. My frackin' Monday has to start at 5 am. (Long story; has to do with reporting weekend media coverage of the Speech from the Throne and the Budget so our political masters can have their reports by 07h30. I keep reminding myself that every two weeks I get a little brown envelope reminding me how much has been put into my bank account. Oh, plus I drink beer -- not at 5 am, mind you, but one every couple days or so, as a suppertime wind-down.

  2. Can't say I've ever done any beer exploring in TO unfortunately. Though I have heard of Bier Markt. There are a couple other great beer spots, I hear, like Beer Bistro, and Volo's. I'm looking forward to a trip to Vancouver at the end of the month, I always come away from BC with a good haul.

  3. Iced tea flavour? For a moment there, I had flashes of those horrible mixed drinks they served at those "cool clubs" where overly preened young adults frequent :). Anyway, I seem to have become a request mill Shiner, but I am about to hike to the LCBO tomorrow morning (yes morning, it is happy somewhere in the world right?), and I am on the lookout for a beer suitable for St. Patrick's Day. Now, don't get me wrong; I am actually, by lineage, of Irish descent, so I am not an imposter whom you see pouring into the bars on the beloved March 13th. However, apart from the usual suspects of Irish alcohol (Bushmills, Harp, Kilkenney, Guinness, etc), I have yet to find a unknown, but decent irish beer or whiskey from the LCBO. I will keep you posted, but if you have any suggestions on the top of your head, I would be eager to know.

  4. Too late for you, but no matter, I really don't have any suggestions at all! Fact of the matter is that the offerings in Ireland are poor to say the least. They have been undergoing a craft beer revival, but I haven't tasted anything stellar from the country. When I was there the most exciting thing you could expect in a pub was Erdinger hefeweizen. They do have access to bottled Guinness and Foreign Extra Stout, but that's little consolation.

    You're options are to go with a stout (Sinha, St. Ambroise Oatmeal, John By Imperial, Black Irish, or Grand River Imperial Russian Gun if it's available wherever you are), or a whiskey, and I'm not much help there. I have a bottle of Tullamore Dew I picked up at some point, but damned if I know if it's any good or not!