Howling Hops

Bars and pubs Hackney Wick
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Beer is the star at ‘the UK’s first dedicated tank bar.'

‘The UK’s first dedicated tank bar’, says the inscription on the wall. Beer geeks, prepare to get excited by the row of big gleaming steel vats in the taproom of this Hackney Wick brewery. Everyone else, all we need to know is that by cutting out the bottles, cans, pipes or kegs of traditional dispense, we can drink the freshest beer possible. A couple of other brands have given us tank beer in pubs before (Pilsner Urquell, Meantime), but no one has done it with such a statement of intent.

Hops were originally put in beer partly for bittering and flavouring, partly because of their antibacterial properties. Howling Hops uses these dried flowers in great abundance, which means the quicker they can be drunk after production the better. So the American Pale XX explodes with the characteristics of the classic US hops Centennial, Cascade, Columbus and Citra; Riding Ale (Columbus, Cascade, Galena and Nugget, if you’re interested) is a 3 percent pale ale that also comes with a ton of hop flavours (and, without condoning drunken cycling, is probably light enough to have a half of then ride home). It’s all great, from the Victorian stout to the rye IPA; and, in groovy new label and container designs, it’s also now being bottled here, so look out for it in a fridge near you. Howling Hops was until recently made in the bowels of the Cock Tavern, a Mare Street sister pub to the estimable Southampton Arms, so it has a great pedigree. There’s food too – simple stuff like sausage baps, roasts or grilled cheese sandwiches, but made with decent ingredients.

This being Hackney Wick, the taproom itself is a former industrial premises probably once used for blubber-rendering or grain-winnowing or latten-furbishing, and now its concessions to comfort are not much more than long tables and sharing benches, with a few outside on the increasingly busy Queen’s Yard. But it’s the beer that’s the star here, and it’s brilliant to see so many people turning up to enjoy it straight from the source. 

By: Euan Ferguson

Posted:

Venue name: Howling Hops
Contact:
Address: Queen’s Yard
London
E9 5EN
Transport: Hackney Wick Overground.
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Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:6
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|9
1 person listening
Sarah R
tastemaker

Here is a dare, try all the beers, from 1 to 10, in one evening. I’m sure most people could do that, because they sell 2/3 size pints, which is pretty genius, because your beer stays cold and it’s that easier to drink it. By the time you are on 5, you don’t tell them apart anymore, but they all taste pretty great!
Honestly, not being a big beer fan, I do love this brewery, beers are really something special. Always good vibes, nice music and because of its relaxed atmosphere, there is often someone with a dog…and who doesn’t love dogs!?  Shout out to whoever that is- I see you in this place sometimes with a dog with glowing collar- I love it, where can I get that for my future dog?

Laura B
tastemaker

Very friendly staff who let me try basically all the beers before buying. 2/3 pints are a good size for testing out all the options, and some of them are dangerously strong so also good for that! Good atmosphere, and lots of seats. Food looked nice, but we didn't try any.

Kay

Superb selection of beer, friendly service, you can sit outside on a warm day and not have to move for hours - also like the 2/3rd pint size of the glasses.

Jboyle14
tastemaker

Someone below has described this as 'Oktoberfest meets an office Christmas Party' and given it 3 stars, yet that is precisely why I'm giving it 5. The atmosphere in here is amazing, the long beer hall tables encourage interaction - mass singing of Happy Birthday etc is not uncommon. One thing I really need to stress from the times that I've been is that the DJ's are great and the music is fantastic The beer and food are also pretty good so its basically a great place!

Matt Chorlton
tastemaker

Having outgrown their previous home in the base of the Cock Tavern, the Howling Hops guys moved here into the same building as Hackney Wick stalwart and beard-magnet Crate. Fresh beer, straight from gleaming tanks, is bloody great and these guys serve it well. Drinking around communal tables gives this a German Beer Hall feel and their 'Fuck Off Tray of Meat' is ruddy delicious as well, which makes things even better. With beer coming directly off the production line, if there's a run on a particular style they may run out, but again, fresh beer, you can't beat it. They've a small selection of ciders, wine and local spirits (coming ELLC just around the corner) if beer isn't your thing...but even if it's not, you'd certainly find worse places to change your habit.

James Manning

Like Oktoberfest meets an office Christmas party – on a Saturday night at least. People dancing incredibly badly to James Brown, long tables and low lights, lots of quaffing from plastic cups. I wasn't prepared for the smoked beer and ordered way too much and felt sick, but the rest was great. Tanks very much.

Daniel L
Tastemaker

Loud and proud. That is how I would describe the brewery and its beers. Amazing venue to go with the guys for a night of great beers. Pretty near the overground station but still not the easiest to find. Definitely one of the breweries that I would come back to. 

Laura G
Tastemaker

I stumbled upon this gem of a brewery walking around Hackney. You have to be very attentive, since its industrial look might not immediately give away the feast of beers served directly from their tanks inside. Offered in proper mugs, the artesanal taste is there, and it can be really fun figuring out what to try next. Choose one of the huge comunal tables inside, or go al fresco for a really nice and entertaining happy hour. Definitely a place to go back to time and time again.

Tim M

Can't comment on the food - haven't had any, but the "big fuck off tray of meat" does appeal.


The beer's excellent, and I plan to spend the summer here, working my way through all the beers. 


Love the look of the place too. Not sure what "The UK's First Dedicated Tank Bar" means (what, by a priest?), but the tall, shiny tanks look great, and you can be assured of getting super-fresh beer.