What Is Tongham Tea Like

Tongham Tea is not a tea it stands for Traditional English Ale. It is brewed by the Hogs Back Brewery in the village of Tongham, Surrey in England. In fact it is the first beer they brewed when they started in 1992 and still popular today. So What is it like?

Tongham Tea is a rich sweet malty ale with hints of berry fruits and just a little bitterness. It pours a mid brown amber with a half finger head. On the nose it is malty and floral. The taste is sweet caramel malt with slight fruity background and a little hop bitterness. A little too sweet and gets a rate my beer score of 3.9 out of 5.0.

I am not sure whether I like this beer or not, it’s a little too sweet with something on the palate I can’t put my finger on.

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Tongham Tea Review

When I saw this beer on the store shelf I got excited. It stands in a tall 500ml bottle with a great stand out label.

The label features a hog with hops on the side and a farm house in the background. A statement on the bottle neck saying “Hops Fresh from our farm” and a stand out orange crown with a hogs head on it.

This beer was never going to stay in the store, so it came home with me.

Lou poured this one and it settled to a pleasing mid brown with an amber orange tinge. A half finger white head sits on top, but does fade to just a thin cover.

In for a sip and the immediate caramel malt shines through rich and sweet. This is joined by a little fruitiness, almost a blackberry flavour.

A little hop bitterness tries to balance the sweetness, but fails to do so. There is an aftertaste that I can’t seem to identify, and I’m not sure I like it.

Tongham Tea Score

A traditional English ale that weighs in at a session 4.2% ABV, so its okay to go for another. However I am not sure I would, I just can’t seem to fall in love with this beer.

I am not sure if I like it or not, it’s a little too sweet for me and has a not so pleasant aftertaste. It gets a rate my beer score of 3.9 out of 5.0.

M’Lady has a similar outcome with this beer, saying “This ale reminds me of liquorice tea with a slight bitter finish. I don’t know whether I like it or not.” Lou score it slightly less at 3.7 out of 5.0.

Maybe liquorice is the taste I can’t identify, but I like liquorice. Having said that I like honey, just not in my beer.

I thought I would like this beer, however it’s a shame but it doesn’t hit the right spot for me.

Hogs Back Brewery

It all started in 1992 on Manor farm in Tongham, Surrey, England. When Tony Stanton-Precious and Martin Zillwood-Hunt founded the Hogs Back Brewery.

The brewery is named after the local Hogs Head Ridge an area of outstanding beauty.

Brewing on a small scale with just ten barrels a week and making their first beer Tongham Tea. Which has obviously stood the test of time winning many awards over the years.

Tony stepped down it late 2011 selling his shares to Rupert Thomson, still a director today. Martin followed in 2014 and today there are five directors including Thompson.

The brewery has seen considerable expansion over the years. It also produces its own Fuggle hops and has a brewery shop as well as a tap and beer garden.

They even hold a Hop Harvest Party Weekend in September, a three day festival which sounds tempting for next 2024.

Hogs Back Beer Range

Hogs Back Brewer have a good range of beers from traditional ales to more modern lager, pale ale and cider. There is plenty of beers to get stuck into.

Although I am not the biggest fan of their Tongham Tea, I am keen to try what else they have to offer.

Here are a few that have caught my eye.


OTT or Old Tongham Tasty is a black beer with a 6.0% ABV kick. Brewed with Pale, Crystal, Chocolate and Malted Wheat and their own Fuggle hops it sounds rich and delightful.

Definitely a winter warmer so perfect for this time of year. A rich dark porter/stout that hopefully is rich in malt with some roasted notes.

Certainly a beer I would like to test drive.

A Over T

Aromas Over Tongham is a dark beer with a hefty 9.0% ABV, so go easy. It is described as a rich complex beer with some fruity notes. Flavours of sultanas, orange peel and plums feature in this full bodied beer.

Again another winter warmer, but its a sipper with its outstanding strength. One I like to take my time over and savour.


How about something lighter to quench the thirst. Hogstar is a premium lager with a refreshing crisp body and a hoppy finish.

It is brewed with five hops and special lager malts then matured for a month or more. Expect a fresh crisp style lager with more depth of body and flavour, and a hoppy bite to finish.

A session beer at 4.5% ABV it sounds like a lager with attitude.

I’m in.

Final Thoughts

Hogs Back seem like a brewery who are having fun doing their own thing in their own way. Growing their own hops is a great, which they do tours of. As well as brewery tours and other events, including the Hop Harvest Party Weekend (noted).

Although I am not so keen on their Tongham Tea, I am keen however to get stuck into their other beers. Maybe I need to go to their Harvest Party next September, and then I can try Tongham Tea on cask, it might just change my view.

Are you a Tongham Tea fan?

If so do share your thoughts below, let me know of your experience and view of this beer. Or any of the other Hogs Back beers.

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