It’s been a while since I fell head over heels for a hazy DIPA. Thankfully, this juicy number from East London outfit Howling Hops had little rosy hearts fluttering past the centre of my gaze from the very first sip until the last.
A couple of things work well really in this beer. The hop combination for starters – while featuring the omnipresent marriage of Citra and Mosaic, it also features Simcoe, a hop that’s long been a favourite of mine, which I feel has fallen a little out of favour in recent times. These hop varieties provide a lot of juicy fruit in the form of apricot and lime, but with a smooth, mellow dose of fresh melon in the mix too. It’s also very well balanced, so every gulp is easy to savour despite the relatively high ABV of 8%. There’s a little alcohol warmth in the finish, lending a note of satisfaction to each sip.
This is also one of the latest beers I’ve come across that has been fermented using a Kveik yeast strain. Originating from traditional farmhouse breweries in Norway and researched extensively by writer Lars Marius Garshol (as well as HB&B’s own Claire Bullen), Kveik consists of many strains and is directly related to Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, or brewer’s yeast to you and me. It’s generally much hardier than regular yeast, however, being able to ferment more quickly, and at higher temperatures. Many yeast scientists see it as the future as far as beer fermentation is concerned.
I remain unconvinced at the moment. I’m regularly told that, as well as fermenting quickly, these yeast strains are also very clean – meaning that they produce minimal flavour compounds, called esters, at the same time as they produce carbon dioxide and alcohol. The beers I have tried that use Kveik have all been very hop-heavy IPAs, and they have all had a unifying feature – a note not unlike strawberry milkshake. Sometimes it’s quite delicious, and with others, well, it doesn’t quite fit.
While this strawberry element is definitely part of this beer’s profile, it leans more towards the side of fresh, juicy strawberries than milkshake, melding almost effortlessly with the lime, apricot and melon. It’s an X-factor in what’s probably one of the best new beers I’ve tried in 2020. Give it a whirl, you won’t be disappointed.
Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. PIck up a can of Howling Hops Shout Mode DIPA while you can. And to be first to read articles from Matt and our food writer Claire Bullen every month, why not subscribe to our All Killer No Filler subscription box?