I just glanced at the county breakdown of my ratings. It always shows that I rate Nottingham and Derbyshire beer most. I live in Nottingham. What puzzles me is the very few beers I encounter from Surrey. If I wanted to rectify this which brewery should I seek out? Mind you the Isle of Wight and bafflingly Co Durham are low too. So help a provincial lad, fellow provincials.

I brought this very subject up a couple of years ago: there are very few breweries in Surrey and of those none are even regional size or distribute too far out of the county. Only 25 active breweries with just Ascot and Hogs Back being ones most of us might have heard of:

The top 50 rater list shows this, with the totals rated falling away very quickly:

Durham also has few breweries and of course the IoW is most peoples (British anyway) lowest rated region, with Rutland usually second last.


“Traditionally, members of royalty and peers of the realm who visited or passed through the town (Oakham) had to pay a forfeit in the form of a horseshoe. This unique custom has been enforced for over 500 years, but nowadays it only happens on special occasions (such as royal visits), when an outsize ceremonial horseshoe, specially made and decorated, is hung in the great hall of the castle. There are now over 200 of these commemorative shoes on its walls. Not all are dated and some of the earliest (which would doubtless have been ordinary horseshoes given without ceremony by exasperated noblemen) may not have survived. The earliest datable one is an outsize example commemorating a visit by King Edward IV in about 1470. The horseshoes hang with the ends pointing down; while this is generally held to be unlucky, in Rutland this was thought to stop the Devil from sitting in the hollow. The horseshoe motif appears in the county council’s arms and on the local Ruddles beer labels.” Check Grainstore ales logos.

Case proven. I will just have to drink Hogsback and Ascot when I see them.

I remember visiting the display of shoes in Oakham. Its brewers are easier to find here. I enjoy a Panther now and then

Hogs Back are the obvious one - available I Spoons, certain supermarkets and garden centres nation wide

Little Beer Co are popping up more in craft leaning pubs/bars. If you to to Cotteridge, I just bought the last three bottles of 60 from a limited series they did for Christmas.

Ascot and Dorking pop up in places. Have seen both in London Spoons.

Surrey seems to be the hardest word. And one of the hardest counties. Doesn’t help that I generally dislike Hogs Back.

If you can get there a visit to Egham Beer Festival, which happens 3 times a year, knock up the Surrey rates pretty quickly from some of the local micro breweries. It is certainly an excellent Festival.

I’ve always struggled to find Surrey beers, and as well as Isle of Wight, the other one is Buckinghamshire randomly.

Yes Buckingham is another surprise. Vale and XT seem to be the only ones that travel.

Well as a graduate of Royal Holloway College, I guess I should give Egham a visit at least once.#

Inn At Home in Guildford are the best place go pick up Surrey beers. They now have an online shop but it’s not got much on it as yet. But they will do local brewery 4 packs going forward.

Probably not that easy to find away from Surrey and SW London but Surrey Hills is an excellent brewery. The Greensand IPA is particularly good although hard to find but both the Ranmore and Shere Drop are lovely session beers.

I agree they make very solid beers. However, their range is quite static and I’ve had them all long ago so I haven’t had any of their beers in quite a while. I guess they’ve found niche and are happy to stick with that.

Is Guildford just as bad for beer choice in pubs as it’s ever been. My occasional visits (usually bolted on to the end of a work visit) over the years have invariably been very disappointing.

Surrey has long been a rather tricky county becuase there are relatively few breweries, some of the places (e.g. Staines, Chertsey) are effectively part of the London connurbation, there are few (any?) sizeable towns with plentiful beer options and a lot of the better pub options are out in the sticks so require a designated driver. Even then, driving down is a bit of a pain from our side of London.

How are you on Northumberland? That’s another tricky county. It’s basically just Anarchy, Allendale, somewhat crappy beers from Northumberland Brewery (or whatever they call themselves these days) and a few scattered brewpubs & obscure micros, most of which you won’t even see much of in Newcastle.

Guildford is a nice town with good restaurants, lots to do culturally and some nice pubs in terms of pleasant places to eat and have a drink but there is nowhere you would really call a destination pub for interesting beers - its most reliable source for multiple ticks remains Wetherspoons.

The best place I know of in the county and indeed the highest rated on here is Cobbett’s in Dorking.

You also have The Albion in Kingston and The Antelope in Surbiton. Both are excellent pubs, run by the same people with the latter hosting Big Smoke brewery. They’re historically in Surrey with Surrey addresses but since local Government reorganisation they’re in London and so counted as such on here.

And yes, Chris is right about Surrey Hills that their range hasn’t changed for years. They do a few things very well rather than being a brewery to constantly innovate.

Yes, I’m quite familiar with those places, and a few more decent options in the vicinity. But, as you say, they’re not in Surrey!

To echo Kwik-Like there are are some nice pubs but no tickets haunts. If I was to open up a micropu I d do so in Guildford. Having said that it is a good spot for a pub crawl. And will spot the odd Surrey beer plus the three Fuller’s pubs sometimes have something of interest.

Farnham would be another destination. The Wheatsheaf is a Red Mist pub so will have at least one Tilford beer on. The Jolly Sailor will have local guests on.

And as to the Addlestone/Woking area good pubs are far and few between.