Wow, what a weekend!
Although we missed last year, the Hop Harvest Festival & TEA Party certainly bounced back bigger and better than ever.
With over 2,300 guests, friends, family and supporters visiting over the two days, there was plenty to cheer about.
Although we were in the middle of harvesting a bumper crop of hops, we managed to transform the site in just two days with a little bit of help from our staff and local companies. Our hops decorating the entrance may not have been quite as stylish as those at Chelsea Flower Show but they were beautiful and aromatic in their own special way! As were the hop hats adorning so many of our guests.
The local Scouts were out in force to help with the car parking.
The new festival stage looked just the part and featured local talent as well as some from further afield, with a lively mix of originals and covers. Plenty of visitors enjoyed the live stream from the comfort of the picnic benches behind the Hangar.
On Saturday, we were blessed with the weather. It was the perfect temperature for drinking beer! Despite the glitch with the credit card machines, Green TEA was a hit, and the rest of the Hogs Back line up on the bar went down smoothly too.
The Hog Roast was done to a turn and there were tantalising aromas from the Food Village all day. This is the first time that the Hogs Back team has provided all the catering and we have discovered some budding chefs in the team!
We were royally entertained by The TR5’s, Pattern Pushers, Coco & the Butterfields – with a rousing finish late in the evening by Fleetwood Bac.
The small shower on Sunday morning did nothing to dampen spirits, and the sun shone for the rest of the day! The Kids Zone was busier than ever, there was lots to see and do for all the family. Our furry and feathered friends from the mobile farm certainly enjoyed meeting everyone.
Sovereign made a welcome return with his fellow Suffolk Punch, Bowler, giving our visitors the chance to see the hop garden in style from the back of their dray.
Our little visitors enjoyed the bouncy castle and slide, and there was lots of skill on display at the penalty shoot-out, football darts and basketball shoot-out.
Our lovely new face painting designs – the new piggy and hops – went down a treat with the kids, as well as mums and dads!
There were magical moments from Fred in the Shed, and we mustn’t forget our Morris Men.
On the main stage we were treated to performances by Jim Hammond, Peach & the Prairie Dogs and Bloomfield Avenue, with Morganway finishing off a wonderful day.
Whether you were enjoying Green TEA or afternoon tea, Hogstar of Lemon Hogfizz, there was something for everyone.
Thanks to our visitors’ generosity, we raised over £600 for Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby, based in Fleet, in memory of our dear colleague, Nick Burne, who sadly passed away recently. He was a gentleman and a rugby lover.
There was a lovely atmosphere on both days, so thank you to everyone for helping to make the weekend such fun.
It’s not too late to share your photos and enter our competition to wind a pair of Brewery Tour vouchers for the best decorated Hop Hat.
Next year, Hogs Back Brewery will be 30 years old, so there is double cause to celebrate. We’ll be announcing the date of the festivities soon!
Our thanks go to the following people and companies who helped make the weekend special:
Peachy Productions – stage, PA, lighting, stage management, live streaming
4th Farnham (Tongham) Scout Group – car parking and Kids Zone support
Carron Marquees – the main marquee
Hedgehogs – for the smaller marquees
A Turners & Sons – all the meat for the BBQ
Loseley Bakery – ice cream and cakes
Farms2ewe – mobile farm
Best Bounce – bouncy castle, slide and inflatable games
Fred in the Shed – children’s entertainment
Dancing Brush – face painting
John Medhurst – dray rides
Yateley Morris Men
Sam Partridge – design
Gareth Thurlow – web
AMT – T shirts & merchandise
Andy Loos – mobile loos
Town & Country Cleaning – site cleaning
Duncan McDougall – drone footage
Paratus – First Aid
Farnborough Communications – radios