How did Howling Hops begin?
We’ve been passionate about good beer for many years. Initially drinking it, then selling it at the Southampton Arms, and eventually onto brewing it. At the Southampton Arms we realised how much demand there was for interesting beer. There was some good stuff out there back in 2008 but the majority was pretty boring. We knew if we could brew some great beer, selling it would be no problem. All we needed was some space and a brew kit.
After much looking for a suitable venue we eventually found a pub with a huge basement, perfect for a brewery. In 2011 we reopened the Cock Tavern on Mare street as Hackney’s first brewpub. Back then we had one simple brief to ‘make some interesting beer’ and that we did. We brewed over 100 different beers in the ‘brew cave’ over the course of 2 years, never brewing the same beer twice. We expanded a few times but still couldn’t really keep up with the demand. We really needed to expand again, somewhere with more than 5’10” of ceiling height. Someone approached us about a space over in Hackney Wick and that’s where we are today with a lovely steam-heated, 15bbl, 4-vessel kit.
What sort of beers does Howling Hops brew?
Howling Hops brews bold, modern, uncompromising, flavoursome, generously-hopped beers. All our beers are unfiltered, unpasteurised and suitable for vegans. We still stick to our early philosophy of ‘make some interesting beer’, although not every one is different these days. Polished favourites like Tropical Deluxe Pale Ale and our House IPA are available most often, and the rest of our line-up comprises of new recipes and fresh ideas.
We love to deliver huge amounts of flavour wrapped up in lip-smacking drinkability. We’re probably best known for our DDH Pale Ales, but also love to brew stouts, lagers, DIPAs, NEIPAs and tangfastic sour beers. See Beers for a little archive.
The tank bar, what’s that all about?
Tanks are cool. Next question. OK ok! We used serving tanks in the basement of the Cock Tavern and connected them to the taps upstairs, it’s a good system that delivers superfresh beer in a format that requires fewer kegs (and washing kegs).
We took it one step further at the Tank Bar: 10 tanks with the taps pouring beer directly from them. It’s super simple and it works well. Instead of washing kegs all day we can do other interesting stuff like, er, brewing beer.