Howling Hops began life in The Cock Tavern, London, brewing in the basement and picking up a lot of fans along the way.
Now in a new brewery a couple of miles up the road, the brewery is better able to get its beer out to the wider world.
And so it should.
Pale Ale #1 (3.8%)
Just taking a sniff of this bottle of delight made me do a little involuntary sigh.
The aroma, especially given the low ABV, is an enormous fresh fruit salad bouquet.
It’s tropical fruit chewy sweets, pineapple, peach and papaya.
And you get all this as you swig too.
The hops are fresh as a daisy and packed with the aforementioned fruit salad.
But there’s also a super piquant stinging nettle and herbal leafiness that adds a much needed sharp bitterness.
The malting is super light, caramel, wafers and honey, giving you a super base for all the fruity goodness.
Black XX #1 (5.5%)
Another hoppy attack, this time underpinned by a rich chocolate and brandy snap malt making for a rather super Black IPA.
The hops barrage is made up of Ahtanum, Simcoe, Chinook, Amarillo and Pallisade and it’s big and rather fierce.
A sharp tangy lime zest, tangerine, grapefruit and sherbet lemons make for a long tongue twisting finish that’s tempered by a deep oily coffee and toffee backbone.
IPA Export De Luxe (7.5%)
This really is one hell of an IPA.
It’s immensely fruity, pouring a rich amber it smells of Juicy Fruit chewing gum and peaches.
There’s a gorgeously chewy malt that’s crammed with toffee biscuits, honey pancakes and lightly salted brioche.
But the gang of hops – the same as used in the Black XX – re out of this world.
Huge blasts of deep green foliage, fresh herbs, lime zest and sticky orange marmalade, and without the dark malts of the Black XX to round things out you find a lovely little hint of rhubarb as you head towards the long bitter finish.
Ruby Red (5.2%)
Ruby Red is a “Dinner Ale”, or so the bottle tells me.
I’ve not heard of one of those before, and I’m quite happy to tell you that this particular “Dinner Ale” is a very nice Amber Ale full of toffee popcorn, bran flakes and honey on toast.
The aroma is plums and apples and a hint of brandy and the beer sits a deep red in my glass.
There’s lots of red fruit, cherries and prunes, and the hops are resinous pine needles, lemons and crunchy red leaf litter making for a long dry and crisp finish.
Running Beer (4%)
Running Beer is a Brown Ale.
A Brown Ale that has been attacked by hops.
Sure you get the round nutty praline goodness, the brown bread and honey thing that you’d expect from a good Brown Ale.
But you also get a lip smacking, cheek tweaking, tongue twizzling hit of Citra, Chinook and Centennial hops that punch your lights out with grapefruit and lemon zest, tobacco, pencil shavings and green tea.
All this leaves you with a super dry and bitter finish and a yummy sweet shop smell.
Source: Howling Hops