When driving along the A31 from Guildford to Farnham along the hog's back you will probably get stuck in a traffic jam as you approach a large roundabout / gyratory system. The left lane steers you past Farnham via the bypass and the right hand lane steers you round this enormous traffic island where you have further choices to make. Staying in the inside lane after going through the first set of traffic lights you notice the inside of the island contains a somewhat small settlement of a few houses and a pub. A few hundred yards past this first set of traffic lights there is a road to the right that leads you onto this island. Miss it and you can go all the way round and try again!
The pub is called the Shepherd and Flock. I first visited this pub way back in the late 1980s and I remember it as being a lively pub with a good beer selection. Since my company moved offices to within a few miles of Farnham a decade ago I have made occasional lunchtime visits. It had acquired a name for itself due to having a good food menu alongside a selection of five or six locally sourced beers. After working away for some time I decided to try it once again for lunch and see if it had changed.
The pub looks out onto the constant stream of traffic heading off in all directions. With tables on the grass in front of the pub it is a perfect place for vehicle spotters!! The traffic fumes may not be quite so good for your lungs though. Entering the pub via the front door you soon forget where you are as you never notice the fact that you are inside a large traffic island. It has the warm and cosy feel of a village local. The bar is immediately in front of you with a large dining area off to the left. To the right of the bar is a less formal area where you are also free to enjoy the food on offer or to just get a beer and relax. There is also an outside garden area to the rear.
The beer selection was not quite as interesting as I remembered from previous visits. My heart sinks when I see the very average Doom Bar for sale but this was the only disappointment. There were three beers (Fresh Spring 4.0% ABV, TEA 4.2% ABV and Englands Glory 4.4% ABV) from the excellent Hogs Back brewery which is literally a couple of miles up the road from the pub. There was also a beer from the Isle of Wight brewer Goddards as well as Otter Head (5.8% ABV). The TEA, Otter Head and Doom Bar are constants with the other three beers changing regularly.
It is over a year since I visited the Hogs Back Brewery so I chose the Englands Glory. This is probably one of the few beers from this brewery that I have never tried before. First impression was excellent. It had a deep golden colour and it looked nice and clear in the glass. The first taste was beautiful. A malty base was followed by notes of orange and toffee. Their website describes it in a similar way which I find is not always the way with beers I taste. The beer was simply in perfect condition.
I am not a food gourmet but I did enjoy an excellent sausage and mash in an onion gravy (£9.75). The menu is supplemented by a daily specials board that always has something interesting. The website link has their current menu so if food is what you are after then take a look.
Next time you are stuck in traffic as you're approaching Farnham and you fancy a break then don't forget this 'little pub on the big island' . You won't be disappointed. A word of warning though. If you are in need of a comfort break you need to know whether you are a ram or a ewe.