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Tuesday
Mar232010

Hog's Head Pub

Stop by for a pint of liquid courage before taking that Forbidden Journey with Harry. Located in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, connected to the Three Broomsticks Restaurant.  

Draft Beer
Bud Light, Yuengling, Stella Artois, London Pride, Tennent's, Bass, Guinness, Boddingtons, Strongbow, Hog's Head Ale

Pub Blends 
Have you been to the Rose & Crown Pub at Epcot and enjoyed one of their pub blends? They have a few of those same beers on tap here. While not on the menu at Hog's Head, if you ask the bartender he'll pour one for you.
Golden - half Stella & half Bass
Black & Tan - half Bass & half Guinness
Bumblebee - half Boddingtons & half Guinness


Hard Liquor
Alcoholic drinks are available, but at limited intervals. During peak seasons they will be removing the hard liquor so they can turn over butterbeer pours faster. While liquor is available, the mixers you have to choose from are assorted fruit juices, tonic, soda water and sweet & sour
.

Prices 
All Import Draft Beers are 20oz. for $7.50, Domestic $7

Pour Quality
 
Average

Food
 
Sit down to a feast next door at the Three Broomsticks. Need a dumb fact while you dine? The movie makers were said to be so impressed with how Three Broomsticks turned out, that had never previously been seen in a movie, that they used it in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince.

The bar and restaurant are connected, but employees are "guarding" the dining area and won't let you pass between the two - you have to go outside and enter through the main restaurant entrance. Hog's Head Brew and Miller Lite are available at the restaurant. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served at this counter-service restaurant. See the menu photos at the bottom of this post.

Atmosphere
 
If you didn't know better, you'd think you just stepped into an old-world English-style pub – with a twist. The low ceiling and lighting give it a cozy, intimate feel. Universal did a great job making it feel authentically dirty and grimy - even the beer tap handles are realistically aged to look like they've been there for decades. Some of the props behind the bar are supposedly the real thing, actually used in the movies.

And you can't miss the bar's namesake - the Hog right in the middle behind the bar. It's frighteningly lifelike, especially when he moves his head, snorts & puffs at patrons. (I've heard from a good source that he responds to tips.)

You can find some fantastically cold AC spots in here too. But good luck finding a place to sit as the bar stools are 'here today, gone tomorrow'. There are only 4 tables (each seating 4) that aren't reserved for diners of Three Broomsticks. It appears J.K. and us may have a differing view on enjoying a cocktail at a theme park. Once the weather cools down a little you can relax on the large outdoor patio behind the restaurant with lots of shaded seating and a great view of the castle and lagoon. You'll find an ATM back here too.


Review
 
The bar has ten beers on tap, from the very light Miller Lite, to the stand a spoon in it thick Guinness. They've also got their own specialty beer, Hog's Head Brew. HHB is a deep golden Scottish Ale that's heavy on the bitter hops flavors, similar to a Killians. A young lady that ordered one next to me took one sip and exclaimed "Ewww, it tastes like rust!" and sent it back for a Miller Lite instead. While it's not exactly my favorite type of beer, I'd say that review may be a bit on the harsh side. To each, his own, right? Hog's Head Brew is made locally by Florida Beer Company. 

The Hog's Head Pub also had another beer I've never seen, London Pride. London Pride is also a deep golden lager that's dry, heavy on hops, and light on malt flavor. The bartender compared it to a chardonnay. That's not exactly what I'd compare it to. London Pride has done something special for me that I won't soon forget, it's set a new low for how bad beer can be. Every sip was like licking the underside of an old bar table. But, I'm a trooper when it comes to biting off more than I can chew. I toughed it out to the very bottom - unfortunately, it didn't get better as I got closer to the bottom. It was like a marathon of terribleness. 

Here's some good news, they've got one of my favorite uncommon beers on tap, Boddington's Pub Ale. The Boddington kegs are hooked up to a nitrogen tank, just like Guinness, so it does the same "building" after it's poured. The beer has a smooth, well balanced flavor and a slightly creamy mouth-feel. Also worth honorable mention, one of my favorite dark beers, Newcastle, and a great, crisp, dry cider, Strongbow, have found new taps to call home.


Butterbeer
Let's not forget the N/A selection! So, what's our take on Butterbeer? First off, as you probably already know, it's available from a tap that's fed by a keg, like a real beer, or frozen, like a slush. Neither have alcohol so they're perfect for the children or the thirsty teatotaler. Butterbeer from the tap is extremely similar to a cream soda - so similar in fact that I'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and an A&W. They top it with
a secret concoction that tastes of vanilla and a touch of cinnamon. The topping gives it a unique creamy head that holds large spooky bubbles for a long time. After giving the stuff on top a taste, I'm fairly certain that it's whipped cream without an accelerant to make it frothy but with a little extra stabilizer, like soy lecithin, to help it hold bubbles for a mysteriously long time. Frozen Butterbeer comes out of a slushie machine and is similar to a frozen vanilla cappuccino. The slush is topped with the same whipped cream topping as is used on the tap Butterbeer.

Pumpkin Juice
I also got my hands on the surprisingly good (and surprisingly expensive) Pumpkin Juice. $6.25, including tax, got me a 16 oz. bottle of what can only be described as pumpkin pie without the troublesome chewing. The biggest other surprises about it, 1. pumpkin puree was one of the top ingredients listed, 2. it was pulpy. Make your own Pumpkin Juice at home - check out our recipe here, along with some alcoholic cocktails using the concotion.

 

Updated 4/2014

Thoughts on Wizarding World
This new land is really something. It's far more immersive than any other theme park area and it really shows you the direction theme parks are going in the future. Even the most adamant Disney fans (you know, the ones that hate Universal) will have to admit, Disney doesn't have anything like this. Don't get me wrong, I love Disney parks, but this land is so impressive, so over the top that it makes the Disney parks look the 15 - 40 years old that they are.

(By the way, the Forbidden Journey ride is AMAZING. It's easily the best non-roller coaster ride I've ever been on. Minor spoiler alert about the ride mechanism - imagine Spiderman but with Sum of All Fears Kuka Arms mounted to the cars. If that's not a recipe for success, I don't know what is.)

Have you visited the Hog yet? Tried his brew? Hate that I called out the Disney "fanboys"? Tell us what you thought or just air your grievance in the comments!

Don't miss our own Specialty Cocktail Creations using Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice!

Here is the Main Course Menu over at the adjoining Three Broomsticks Restaurant. Click to enlarge. Updated 10/12.
  

Reader Comments (24)

got your message from potterwatch and went on this.....this Article works so Well on pre-release of Firefox 3.7!!! Particularly Javascript PICTURES!!

June 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I'm glad you like it - always nice to read when something works like it's supposed to! We've had great luck with squarespace so far.

Check back frequently for more pictures and updates.

June 14, 2010 | Registered CommenterPartyThroughTheParks

A beer review! Yesssssss! Nice tip on the A/C, I'll be visiting when I go.

June 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPandora

FYI, no Coke (or Coke products) at the bar. Just various juices, tonic, iced tea.

June 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter71

71 - Thanks for the info. I was so busy trying the new beers that I forgot to get a mixed drink! More detailed info on what mixed drinks they have available to come after our next visit. (Which will be soon!)

June 14, 2010 | Registered CommenterPartyThroughTheParks

Oh God. Fantastically cold AC! ME NEED AC

June 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwaiting4WWOHP

6/30 Update

So, I attempted to check this place out again after work on 6/30 to see what it looked like in full swing. We got there a little after six and were surprised every ticket booth for the parking garage was open and there was a line of about ten cars at every booth. Typically, Orlando theme parks would only have two or maybe three booths open at 6pm and it would be uncommon to have to wait in any line. Parking was a solid stream of cars headed to the parking garage at about 2mph. This wasn't looking good. As we walked in with the masses it felt like we were getting there right at park opening. As we got to the City Walk area we found the park was EXTREMELY busy. But, there was a decent amount of traffic going both ways, some leaving, some coming, so we were still a little optimistic of what WWOHP would be like. A little more good news, Islands of Adventure wasn't absolutely packed when we got in, just pretty busy, so we quickly made our way back to WWOHP.

Unfortunately, it was person-to-person filled. Even Honeydukes, the candy store, had a hundred people waiting in an organized line with an attendant monitoring entry, I bet it was 45 minutes long. The re-badged roller coasters had short waits of 20 minutes each but Forbidden Journey was an hour and a half. Ollivander's Wand Shop had a ridiculously long line that was organized with ropes like a main attraction would be. The line looked to be at least an hour long, possibly an hour and a half and not a bit of shade or fans provided for any of it. Bear in mind, this is around 7pm when Universal is typically dead. With this type of crowd I can understand some of the negative reviews I've read (which until last night were mind boggling.) It'd certainly zap some of the magic to have to wait in an hour long line to get into a gift shop. Unless you're a die-hard, hardcore fan, I'd wait until September.

I'll keep on top of this and check back every couple of weeks and let you know when it's finally reasonable to try to see this great new land.

July 1, 2010 | Registered CommenterPartyThroughTheParks

********* Update 7/4/10 **********
Crowds are sporadic here! It was elbow-to-elbow packed on Wednesday night with hour long lines for gift shops but Saturday afternoon only had a 45 minute line for Forbidden Journey and was comfortable on the main drag. I'm betting the weather played a major role, it had been raining for most of the early afternoon on Saturday and many must have decided to call it a day. I suggest checking the wait times here: http://66.77.171.132/MobileWeb/ParkMenu.aspx before heading out the door.

July 4, 2010 | Registered CommenterPartyThroughTheParks

It's gotta be JK, she's definitely got her quirks. What is it they say about insanity and genius?

July 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRemotevette

As much as I love JK, I'm super mad at her right now. Bring back my cocktails!

July 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPartygirl

Sorry, we had too many satisfied customers and were making far too much money off of outrageously overpriced booze. You know how we are at Universal, had to nip that in the bud ASAP!

July 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCorporate

Maybe JK thought there was too much fun being had and taking away the alcohol would bring back the appropriate Harry Potter gloom?

July 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie Downer

Whoa! People are a little fired up about this one. Bear in mind, the comments section does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of PartyThroughTheParks (although I think these guys are pretty much getting it right ; )

July 6, 2010 | Registered CommenterPartyThroughTheParks

A bar without bar stools---sheesh! maybe they'll bring them back once the crowds die down. Probably can't say the same for the mixed drinks.

It must be entertaining watching people try to enter through the ENTRANCE, only to be told to go 'round back.

July 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPandora

********* Update 7/10/10 **********
We arrived around 8pm. The crowds were still large, but manageable. Olivanders had a 90min wait, FJ 60 (but looked longer), Dragons 15. The lines for Zonkos and Dervish & Banges were extremely long, maybe 45min or so. We went to check out the bar, and they are still making you go around to the back entrance. Except now you feel like you're in line for the next bank teller once you get inside. There is an employee just inside the entrance holding up the line and sending people over to the bartender one at a time. The few tables in the bar were empty, and the whole atmosphere was really odd and uncomfortable. Got the feeling they didn't want you hanging around once you got your drink. Employees were tight-lipped about the alcohol and gave a generic "I-don't-know-anything-shoulder-shrug" type of answer.

July 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterPartyThroughTheParks

I visited on 7/23/10. We went to the pub around 3pm. They are still making you go in the back of the pub and directing patrons to the bar one at a time. Also, they were not allowing seating for pub patrons in the pub, except for the small bench right inside the front door. They had "reserved" signs on all the tables. We asked a server why they were reserved. She said that they were using the seating for people eating at the Three Broomsticks. So now you can't sit in the pub and have a drink unless you are lucky enough to find a seat on the one 4-foot bench. You have to either stand in the way of everyone walking through the pub, or take your drink outside to the patio area.

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBru

Bru - So nothing has changed for the better I see. I'm holding out hope things will go back to "normal" once the crowd gets more under control.

July 29, 2010 | Registered CommenterPartyThroughTheParks

We haven't added any updates lately because nothing new has happened. We might see some changes in the next couple weeks since the heavy summer season is over, and they are going back to early closing times. We'll let you know as soon as we find out!

August 24, 2010 | Registered CommenterPartyThroughTheParks

We're halfway back to normal. The bar stools have returned, and you are entering through the entrance again, but still no liquor. We chatted with a source Saturday night and learned that liquor was supposed to come back at the end of summer, but now nobody knows when, or if, it'll come back. The crowds have drastically died down since school started, so now that the "bartenders" aren't filling Butterbeer orders every second, they should have the time to pour a drink.

August 30, 2010 | Registered CommenterPartyThroughTheParks

Just returned from a visit to the WWOHP on Thursday, 9/16/10, and it was absolutely wonderful. We arrived around 11:15am and I was relieved to find that it wasn't insanely crowded. I think our longest wait (for the Forbidden Journey ride, of course) was maybe 40 minutes. Our second turn on the ride we only waited 15, and walked all the way up to the start of the greenhouse before hitting the line. We waited maybe 10 minutes to get into Ollivanders. No wait into any of the other stores. We walked nearly all the way to the start of the lines for both the Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge. Crowds definitely decreased the more the day progressed...seems people rush to WWOHP first thing in the morning. If you can, I'd recommend going in the late afternoon (though keep in mind that the shops and things close up a little earlier now that it's fall, I think around 6ish, though you can walk about a bit longer if you like before they kick you out).

Hearing rumors now of Universal expanding/doubling (I've heard both terms used) WWOHP within the next year or so, potentially having it take over The Lost Continent. Yay!

September 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMalisams

Malisams - Welcome to locals season! This is a great time of year to be at the parks - low crowds, and usually slightly cooler weather, though I hate that the parks now close so early. Sounds like you had a great day at the park. I've heard that they have a contract with JK that requires expansion every x many years, so the sooner the better to us! Cheers!

September 21, 2010 | Registered CommenterPartyThroughTheParks

does any1 know how 2 make fire wiskey?

December 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchibi

I have to correct something from your post.

Fuller's London Pride is a very highly rated beer, it has a 95 rating on Beer Advocate.

Since the IBU of this beer is only 33, I would doubt the accuracy of your statement that it was "heavy on hops".

I would also call you on the statement that Boddington's is hard to find. It is in every Publix I have ever entered.

Other than the miss on the beer, this is an excellent article.

June 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKapeman

To each his own on the London's Pride review. For the record, Beer Advocate agrees that it's hoppy. Here's their description of the hops in London Pride "Hops are right on the mark with an ample biting bitterness." As for Boddington availability, remember I'm talking theme parks. Boddington's is only on tap in 2 locations in all of Orlando's theme parks, Hog's Head and Rose and Crown in Epcot.

Thanks for reading and happy drinking!

- ed.

July 21, 2014 | Registered CommenterPartyThroughTheParks

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