Howling Hops Tank Bar

My Twitter timeline went into a frenzy on Friday when Howling Hops announced the opening of its new brewery and “tank bar” in Hackney Wick. Open from 10am – 11pm seven days a week, Howling Hops Tank Bar is minutes from the Overground station and spitting distance from Crate Brewery.With Truman’s and Tap East also in the neighbourhood, could Hackney Wick be set to replace Bermondsey as the epicentre of the London craft beer scene? Probably not; we all know about the demise of London Fields, and Tap East has the distinct disadvantage of being located in a shopping mall. However, shopping for pants has never been so much fun…

I’ve had affection for Howling Hops since I first visited the Cock Tavern, and I’m now head over heels in love. The tank bar has vibe in bucketloads, and if that sounds like hyperbole, don’t judge me until you’ve visited.  Located in an industrial estate, as microbreweries tend to be (when they’re not under railway arches), the tank bar is a large and inviting space boasting ten taps pouring directly from the tanks meaning you can enjoy Howling Hops’ eclectic range as fresh as you like. At least you will from this week – on our visit there were only four beers pouring: the Pale, hopped with citra, mosaic and simcoe and coming in at 3%; the Running Beer, a brown ale at 4% brewed with centennial, chinook and citra; the Riding Ale, a 3% APA containing cascade, columbus, galena and nugget hops; and my go to, the Pale XX, a 5% pale ale hopped with cascade, centennial, columbus and simcoe. If you weren’t already aware, you’re probably gathering that Howling Hops have got a thing for US-style beer, and the above are set to be joined by a black IPA, a  smoked porter and red ale among others. All beers come in pours of two thirds, and all glassware is of the dimpled mug variety. I’d imagine this is for reasons of aesthetics, but it is a very minor drawback for me, being somewhat of a glassware fetishist.There’s also seating outside which is where the majority of people were on Sunday, including us. Not one for sitting in the sun for hours on end, I bowed to peer pressure having liberally applied the factor 50, and in between drinks I annoyed the staff by taking numerous photos and bombarding them with questions. They were very patient with me and I’m sure I’m not the first bearded beer geek with a camera they’ve encountered. Honestly, I’m not as awful as I sound. Really.

Breakfast is also served from 10am-12pm and dinner from 6pm-10pm, including “a big fuck-off tray of meat” at £11.50 (how very east London). Growlers are available too, as well as a selection of spirits and wines, but who comes to a brewery to drink wine, right? The  most exciting venue to open in London since Mother Kelly’s, the Howling Hops Tank Bar is further proof of the dynamism and vibrancy of London’s beer scene. Go.

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