Nov 21, 2016

Fairwinds Brewing Howling Gale IPA

I’ve had Fairwinds’ Howling Gale IPA on draft many times in the past year or so. It’s always been a capable brew and offered a good drinking experience whenever I’ve had a pint or two. So, when I saw cans of it on the shelf back in late September (I’ve got a long backlog of reviews to get through), I felt like it was a good purchase. Unfortunately, the packaged IPA does not do its draft version justice.

This 7.2% ABV brew sported a canning date of 08/22/2016 — only a month old before cracking it open — but its hop character has faded massively in that short time. There’s still a bit of pine and grapefruit within the beer’s amber depths, but they take a big step back, allowing the cereal and bready malt to dominate. The crisp, medium-bodied brew tastes much older than it probably should based on the packaging date.

This IPA is usually a good beer with a solid IPA character. Unfortunately, it didn’t represent well outside of a draft line. I don’t believe this experience will deter me from grabbing a pint of Howling Gale at restaurants or bars, but I’m fairly certain I won’t be purchasing another sixer of cans.