Black Dog Brewery ‘Howling’ Pale Ale


14718773_582677318583084_7128747173580082202_n“A new world pale ale inspired by the American Pacific North-West styles, this beer is made with premium malts and a selection of hops from three continents.  With a generous malty profile, lots of aromatic hop characters and a good lick of hop bitterness, it is very moorish leaving you wanting to have another. We are constantly tweaking the hops, maintaining the bitterness level but utilising new varieties to give our pale more aromatics and flavour.”

Served in Black Dogs labelled Pint glass. This dog offers a cloudy copper complexion with a well retained one and a bit finger head perched on top. She leaves a consistent set of rings on the glass as we imbibe. Quite a heady aroma on it actually. Big, lifted American hops impart hallmark tropical fruits like passion fruit, mango and stone fruits while this sweet, almost caramelized malt character is tucked in right behind. There’s a strange scent that we can’t ignore though, it smells a bit like burned plastic and it unfortunately keeps taking away from the gorgeous fruity hops. Frustrating because it would have been a brilliant aroma otherwise. The beer has a nice, full presence in the mouth. Its super smooth texture still glides over the tongue as a short cameo of bitterness pops up in the middle and in the swallow. The flavour pretty much follows on from the nose. The hefty fruit notes from the hops and that subtle caramelized malt sweetness advance nicely before that unpalatable burned plastic character returns. A lovely delicate bitterness develops late midway and ushers in a dry and slightly citric finish. A bit of a shame about that unpleasant trait of burned plastic but we guess it’s all down to trial by error. James is always “tweaking” the hop bill so maybe one variety used is clashing with another? Not sure. Either way, the base of it is great – nice sweet malt to counter the big fruity hops. Sessional but full flavoured. Not bad.