Howling Hops

#HBBAdvent Beer 16: Howling Hops IPA NZ Special (East London)

Howling Hops says: Packed with Riwaka, Motueka and Kohatu hops from New Zealand.

We say: Webster's dictionary describes New Zealand as: "The jewel in the Australasian crown." This is the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa of IPAs (Google her, she's qual), the kind of beer you'd like to drink when you're out clubbing with the new Kiwi Prime Minister.

In a dystopian world over-run by New England haze, one beer stands up and says "To hell with you, 2017 - I am fresh, and I am bitter." A sentiment that gains increasing momentum as 2017 nears its end. - Lewis

HB&B Sub Club - our April box revealed

Here's what was in our first ever HB&B Sub Club box that went out last month. We're just as excited about this month's box - we've found some mind-blowingly awesome beers to fill it with yet again...

We'll be releasing a limited number of new memberships this week. These will go on sale on Friday 5th April at 9am. Head here and get your finger on the button. More info on the boxes can be found at our FAQs page, or simply drop us a line.

Matthew Curtis's No More Heroes XIV - Howling Hops West Coast Special IPA #2

I get that people worry about the gradual Americanisation of our beer culture, I really do. The key thing to remember, for me at least, is that the beer landscape exists as it does today because of shifting, global influence over hundreds of years. These days, that influence occurs exponentially thanks to how connected we are through technology and social media. If a brewer in California releases a revolutionary beer, then the rest of the world will know about it within minutes.

As a city, London is about as multicultural as it gets and it will happily take influence from whatever inspires it. Its breweries are no different: take Howling Hops in Hackney Wick for example. In the tall tanks stacked behind the bar, you'll see beers such the Czech inspired Howling Pils and plenty of US influenced beers such as Pale Ale No. 1, and the insanely tropical and juicy West Coast Special IPA.

I've been really impressed with the Howling Hops range ever since they moved from the tiny brewery underneath The Cock Tavern on Hackney's Mare Street to their state of the art facility in Hackney Wick. West Coast Special IPA has been the stand out beer for me so far. Those juicy, tropical notes I described earlier are astonishingly bright and defined, with flavours of lychee, mango and passion fruit being the most prominent. At this beer's end is a gigantic wave of dank, piney bitterness - those West Coast credentials really hitting home. In fact I'd go as far as to say this is one of the best UK examples of the style I've tried.

But don't worry, beers like this aren't going to take our British beer heritage away from us - they're just going to sit alongside and enhance it. In fact Howling Hops' Ruby Red is a fantastic modern interpretation of a classic British beer, I insist you try this too.

Music Pairing: The Champs - Tequila
At our tasting events in store, I always like to pair the beers we serve with some great music. I decided it was high time I started doing this with these posts too. I can't think of a better track to pair with this beer than The Champs' 1958 Cuban Mambo inspired anthem, Tequila. Stick this on after a few West Coast Specials and I guarantee that you'll be dancing on a bar top, just like Peewee Herman.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis at his excellent beer blog, Total Ales, and Good Beer Hunting, and on Twitter @totalcurtis. And you can get Howling Hops' stunning West Coast IPA #2 delivered to your door via our new online shop.

Big Beery Advent Calendar - Beer 8: Howling Hops Running Beer Brown Ale, 4% (East London)

Each night at 8pm, we'll post a blog about the day's hand-picked beer in our Big Beery Advent Calendar - why we love the brewery, why we've chosen the beer, why we think you'll love it too. Feel free to comment below or have your say on Twitter.

Howling Hops says: "Brown Ale with Citra, Chinook and Centennial" 

We say: Howling Hops are one of the best of the new breed of London breweries around right now, making a terrific range of beers at their great-looking brewery and tank bar over in Hackney Wick. We currently stock four of their beers but as soon as we have room on shelf, we’ll stock more as we’ve been impressed with pretty much everything we’ve tried so far. This brown ale hopped with Citra, Chinook and Centennial has something rather delicate about it, while not skimping on any flavour. Brown ales make for terrific matches for food and the strong malt base makes them an especially good partner for meat. However this is such a tasty, subtle beer, you could probably match it with anything.

Autumnal beers

While we've been blessed with a brief respite of Indian summer (and the sun is shining gloriously as we type this), it can't be denied that autumn is well and truly upon us. The barbecue is about to be packed away, the slow cooker has been dusted off from its summer slumber and - perhaps best of all - it's time to indulge in the delights of autumnal beers. 

We've had a great time reacquainting ourselves with the glorious nutty, malty beers that are often overlooked in this world of hop-forward IPAs and wacky sours, as well as discovering the best of the new-season offerings. We (well, Glenn) have also spent a bit of time in the kitchen, cooking up a storm and matching these beers to a host of hearty dishes that signal the move to the cooler months.

Here are a few of the autumnal beer and food matches we've enjoyed the most.

AleSmith Anvil ESB with Spiced Duck & Date Tagine

We feel a bit guilty plugging this beer as there's only one left in store (in our Bin Ends Box) but we loved it so much that it felt wrong to leave it out. Anvil ESB is an American brewery's take on an English style with English hops, but don't let that put you off. Big caramel and nutty flavours make this beer the perfect match for food, so we put it with a Moroccan-style duck and it knocked our socks off. You can find the recipe here, we got the duck from our friends at Flock & Herd and the dates, spices and preserved lemon from Khan's Bargain Store, Rye Lane's very own shop of dreams.


Beavertown Stingy Jack with Jamie Oliver's pumpkin chickpea curry

Beavertown's 2015 pumpkin ale is possibly the best pumpkin beer we've ever had. Smooth as you like, gentle spices that conjure up the most festive of autumn flavours... It's a pure delight to drink and conveniently arrived on the same day that Glenn decided to use up the pumpkin sitting in our vege bin in a subtly spiced curry. It's not rocket science to match pumpkin with pumpkin, but this worked a treat. We can only imagine what it would be like with a roast and caramelised vegetables.


Howling Hops Running Beer

This is such a delicious beer - probably our favourite from the Howling Hops range right now, and believe us when we say it has stiff competition. A brown ale hopped with Citra, Chinook and Centennial, there's something wonderfully light and delicate about it. We didn't drink it with food, instead simply enjoying it with friends on the tables outside the shop one recent evening, but this is such a food-friendly style, you could just about match it with anything and it would work.


Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Marzen with Nigel Slater's slow-cooked sausages

We drank this malty, German-style lager with a improvised variation on Nigel Slater's slow-cooked sausage recipe and it was the bomb. German-style beer + German-style food = no-brainer Oktoberfest goodness. This would also go brilliantly with some subtle, nutty hard cheese.


Brewdog Candy Kaiser with Steve's roast pork

The heavy toffee notes in this seasonal altbier from Brewdog make for a terrific pairing with pork. We tried to recreate the amazing roast pork our friend Steve made when he stayed with us recently - a top-quality joint from Flock & Herd with a heap of fennel and caramelised onions, and spiced apple sauce on the side. Ours wasn't quite up to his standards, but Steve is the roast king and we bow down to his greatness. Regardless, Candy Kaiser made for a fine match.

New stuff in store: 10 September

All of this week's beer deliveries are now in and new hot sauces are on their way... We'll save the sauces for a separate post - here's what's new and exciting in the HB&B world of beer:

  • Howling Hops! It's always exciting when we introduce a new brewery to our London shelves but we've been especially looking forward to stocking East London's Howling Hops Brewery. In lieu of making it to their amazing tank bar, take home their bottled range. We've picked four varieties to start with and by jove, they're good - the clean and crisp Pale XX, the delightfully light and fragrant Running Beer American brown ale, the bold, flavour-packed IPA and their tasty dark Black XX. Collect the set.
  • A slew of new Brew By Numbers goodies, including their White IPA Citra & Mosaic in bottle and on flagon-fill and a new porter, Bramling Cross. Yes, it's officially porter season, people.
  • On the US front, we welcome back Alesmith X and IPA. We've also got a new addition from The Bruery. Regular readers of our Twitter feed will have observed the occasional ode to Rueuze, The Bruery's superlative sour. Joining it on the Big Beers shelves is Cuivre, The Bruery's one-off 7th anniversary Old Ale. We won't lie, it's the most expensive beer in the shop. That's why we've only got six of them. Splash the cash and make one yours.
  • And as always we've got a stunning line-up on flagon-fill. The Kernel brings together the big Cs for their IPA Citra Columbus Chinook Centennial, there's a great collab session pale, North by South East, from Manchester's Marble Brewery and our new South London neighbours Bullfinch Brewery, and Gipsy Hill's Yuzu returns, tasting better than ever, to name just a few.