Nestled in the Surrey Hills sampling Tillingbourne ales in the sunshine – someone has to do it!

Nestled in the Surrey Hills sampling Tillingbourne ales in the sunshine – someone has to do it!

When you’re invited to try all the beers on offer at a brewery it would be impolite to say No wouldn’t it? Especially when you have such a spread on offer – golden ales, a hop monster, malty traditional and then a black bitter. Is it a porter, a mild? Nope it’s Black Troll. Selected for the 2013 Great British Beer Festival, this Tillingbourne ale made quite an impression at Olympia last year. But back to the beginning…

A bumpy ride down the drive off Staple Lane in Shere and I reached the brewery, snuggled behind Old Scotland Farm in the Surrey Hills. The brewery’s situated around a lovely courtyard and fortunately the sun was shining during my visit so a couple of pints in the countryside was definitely on the cards. I will do a proper ‘Meet the Brewer’ piece next month, but for now Lee Nicholls & Steve Dodd told me their story, which started in September 2011 when they purchased some equipment from Ross as the Surrey Hills Brewery had moved to Denbies. A home brewer of over 25 years, it had always been a dream of Steve’s to own his own brewery. Bit different brewing 5000 pints a time compared to 110 I thought!! Together with old school friend Lee (who has a background in sales and marketing and big fan of Steve’s beer recipes) they signed a new lease with the Albury Estate and set about launching a new brewery. Tillingbourne Brewery (http://www.tillybeer.co.uk/) opened its doors to the public on 17 December, 2011 and has been brewing consistently high quality beer ever since. Local pubs and customers love the variety of beers on offer and the guys have an impressive wall of certificates – demonstrating their achievement at Beer Festivals over the past 2 years. Their biggest prize came in October 2013 when they heard that ‘Falls Gold’ had been awarded the title of CAMRA London & South East Champion Golden Ale 2013/14. Quite an achievement for a brewery not even 2 years old.

You’ll find Tillybeer in local pubs throughout Surrey and the South East; look out for Falls Gold, AONB, Hop Troll, Bouncing Bomb, The Source and Black Troll. I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to try Evolution No.4 (all their new beers are produced under the ‘Evolution’ brand to start with and then named once they have feedback from customers) – nice and hoppy I’m told.

Back to the Dorking Beer Festival – there will definitely be a few Tillingbourne ales on offer and Lee & Steve have kindly offered to help with racking and cooling jackets – essential if we’re going to keep the beer at the right temperature. Thanks in advance guys.

Dorking & Pilgrim breweries are next…