The autumn chill and morning dew are two features that have dominated this past week or so. I shouldn’t complain about the chill really, the South East corner has actually had a fairly decent summer all told, but whilst this fresher autumn air brings niggling desires for smoked, oaked and all together darker brews, I’m looking back over the summer season with a glass full of a deeply golden IPA. In fact its colour is not out of place with the golden light of the late season sun or the amber of trees as they give one last show before they fall to the winter months, and these hues happen to belong to Summit by Tillingbourne Brewery.
At 6% Summit is the strongest beer brewed by this Surrey outfit. It’s a full bodied, near-syrup throwing out aromas of punchy tropical fruits and pine. Bold, and punchier still over the palate, carrying juicy passion fruit and more pine before leading you into a very long, dry, pithy finish. It’s a summers evening in a glass.
It was closing in on a summers evening when I briefly visited the brewery. Based just outside of the village of Shere it’s well worth a visit. Wind you way up and through the picturesque Surrey Hills and you’ll find the entrance to the site just before the most spectacular view across London. The micro brewery is housed in a small barn, with a gift shop sitting across the courtyard ready to supply bottles, glasses and t-shirts. Bottle fills from cask are also available.
Sitting on a bench in the yard, basking in glorious sunshine, I tried my first pint of Hop Troll. This is a beer I’ve been aware of for a little while, but one that until that point had eluded me.
Hop Troll pours a little lighter, both in colour and body but still retains a boldness, sitting at 4.8%, it packs in the flavour. Sticky orange marmalade and pine mingle whilst sweeter candied citrus pop to the fore in little bursts. The pale malts keep everything in check before a grapefruit pith bitterness sweeps into the finish. Troll by name, beautiful by nature.
These beers remained elusive to me for far too long. If you get the chance to try any beers by Tillingbourne Brewery, be they cask or bottled, then I highly recommend you take that chance. They can be found in and around Surrey and London and you can find out more via the brewery website: http://www.tillybeer.co.uk/