Day 15 – Beers of Auckland – Duskrider

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 15 – Duskrider by Bach Brewing Company

DuskriderTAP: Duskrider

BREWED: Steam Brewing Company

ABV: 6.0%

Today I got the call that Ben from Sky Sports Grill wanted a second opinion on a beer he had on tap he wasn’t sure of the quality. That in itself is really encouraging, to know that a bar manager is giving second thoughts to the quality of beer he has just put on tap. The beer was OK, but we decided that it probably didn’t meet his expectations of what he had previously experienced with that beer. Batch variation?

Since I was there I asked what was new from an Auckland brewery. Today Duskrider was on. This beer recently won Best in Class for Specialty Ales at the New World Beer & Cider Awards. The image on the front cover of The Pursuit of Hoppiness, the SOBA Magazine is from the Bach Brewing labels.

The beer is bright, fire orange/red colour, which lives up to the style name of Red IPA. The aroma, not so much as it has a pretty low hop aroma. I was expecting more. On drinking the beer, it has a sweet burnt caramel note, and a subtle nuttiness. It has a full round malty body, which is balanced well with the bitterness. The hop flavour is medium and is married well to the malt character. The beer is nice, drinkable and tasty, with just a hint of the alcohol in the flavour. Good beer. See it, drink it.

One question that kept running through my head while tasting it, was is this really a Red IPA or is it an American Amber Ale? IPA I would think would have more hop aroma and more hop flavour? Then again we live in a country where Tui is considered an East India Pale Ale, or Epic Loves Bacon is a Smoked IPA (it’s not but I thought it would be funny to call it that on the label, when it is really a Bamberg style Bock Rauchbier). So you see, IPA has become a sexy term to sell beer. 47% growth in the US last year and it made up 25% of craft beer sales. And they call me a One Trick Pony. Seems to be the best trick in the market right now. IPA = BEER, BEER= IPA These are now interchangeable.

Should brewers be selling their beers as what they really are? Recently I got to try the Lakeman beers from Taupo. The Pale Ale and IPA both were pretty good as beers, but disappointing if you had an expectation of hops, which might have been implied by naming them Pale Ale and IPA. Might have been better as Bitter and Best Bitter, as they were malt driven. Then again less people are likely to pick them up off the shelf. The other issue is do beer drinkers even know what an IPA is suppose to taste like?

Sky Sports Grill TV's
The mirrors on the ceiling at Sky Sports Grill makes it look like there is even more TV’s than there are in the place.



Sky Sports Grill Fish & Chips, they come in a big bowl. Add some Culley’s Reaper sauce to the ketchup to give it a little zing. Coleslaw is very bland.

9 thoughts on “Day 15 – Beers of Auckland – Duskrider”

      1. Ah, so brewery change? Pretty hard to maintain good consistency after changing breweries entirely! Glad it’s still tasty, even if not overflowing with hop character. I’ve been really enjoying Bach’s beers.

        1. Hey Greig,The New World Beer & Cider competition required our new batch at Steam undergo further assessment by judges from the main competition to validate it was consistent with the prior batch and met the Best in Class award. It passed and went on to feature in all the promotion. At least one other beer failed this further assessment, and the beer judged second in comp, became the Best in Class.
          Other competitions should expect the same integrity from award winners and I totally support the principle.

          Let’s not confuse Luke’s comments about “less hop aroma than he expected” with being brewed in different breweries. The batch brewed at Steam is true to the recipe, and perhaps the recipe doesn’t have enough hops for everyone (or well stretched IPA palates) rather than the brewery where it brewed.
          Cheers, Craig

          1. Sorry my comments might be read differently than I intended. The beer I initially went to taste at Sky Sports Grill was NOT Duskrider. It was another beer from another brewery, which is not located in Auckland.

            As for my comments about lower hops than expected. My expectations where based on a Red IPA. It also doesn’t in any way imply that this beer was disappointing or faulted. The beer is very good, and it just raised a thought about labelling of beer styles. There was no connection to being brewed in different breweries. I felt the two beers where great, with maybe this second batch slightly better. Definitely worth of a medal.

            I too am in agreement with the NW Beer & Cider Awards checking quality for integrity of the beer.

      2. Different brewery = different beer. Not necessarily. Brewers in the same
        brewery successfully alter recipes. However, this was critical in
        delivering the same beer as judged the best in Specialty Ales class by
        the New World Beer & Cider competition judges.
        Beer Fountain
        couldn’t meet the quick turnaround in volume for 136 New World stores,
        so Joe Wood from Beer Fountain communicated closely with Shane Morley at
        Steam Brewery (who do a superb job on all our other beers) to
        transition the recipe across… we think we nailed it. Try it Benji.

  1. Interesting assessment on the hop character. Perhaps your palate is at the higher end of hop expectation? ; )
    On the question of Red IPA or American Amber Ale, there’s a topic discussion across beer styles worthy of endless debate. I’m not thrilled about being in a paragraph comparison with Tui East India Pale Ale, when it’s bottom fermented,lower alc and bugger all hops for what we understand IPA’s to be. Maybe Session IPA’s will change the definition to Tui’s favour haha!
    In competition guidelines I’m aware of, there’s no specific category for Red IPA and they’re grouped into American style Amber/Red Ale as follows (Brewers Guild of NZ/World Beer Cup Guidelines) as follows;

    89. American-Style Amber/Red Ale
    American Amber/Red Ales are copper to reddish
    brown. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. Fruity-ester aroma
    is low if present. Hop aroma is medium. Medium-high to high maltiness
    with medium to low caramel character is present. Hop flavor is medium,
    and characterized by American-variety hops. Hop bitterness is medium.
    May have low levels of fruity-ester flavor. Diacetyl can be absent or
    barely perceived at very low levels. Body is medium to medium-high.

    For our first brew, we went straight to a 2500L batch due to time constraints and bold confidence! I was very clear on the malt base and we took a bit of a punt on the hops and load. Maybe it could have more hops, but it is what it is and there are plenty of drinkers out there who love it.
    I’m really proud of the Gold and Best in Class we nailed in the NW Beer & Cider Awards, in addition to Silver at the Brewers Guild Awards, not bad for a beer only in the market four and a half months.
    When you say it was funny to label a beer Smoked IPA, I’m sure there was an equal element of commercial opportunity – Epic of any beer label has a direct pipeline to the IPA fraternity.
    That group of passionate IPA drinkers, who seem to only drink beers with the letters I.P.A. on the label – we Brewers are following the group and willing to label any number of extending beer styles with IPA; Black IPA, White IPA, Red IPA, Session IPA, Smoked IPA, and even APA’s etc. The original mother class styles are becoming pretty blurred.
    I’ve tasted beers labelled IPA’s which are more like Pale Ales, and Black Ales where I’ve wondered where the Black went to, White IPA’s where the coriander and orange is smothering what hops they might have had. Who am I to judge what can/cant have IPA on the label. There’s some really interesting & innovative beers blurring the lines, and bringing people into beer styles they might never have considered. In many cases, those 3 letters IPA are leading people through the gate.
    Funnily enough, just yesterday I was enjoying a lazy Duskrider and said to my wife this beer could easily be a American Amber. It’s really easy drinking and while not perhaps meeting the expectations of IPAHEDS, it’s really approachable and jammed full of taste for plenty of drinkers. An understatement for sure, but it could be a good ol draught beer on steroids.
    I eagerly anticipate NZ Craft beer drinkers will develop in time a willingness and open-ness to try different beer styles beyond IPA label descriptors, and not become IPA snobs in the same way wine drinkers would only drink Sav Blanc and Anything But Chardonnay (ABC). You only have to travel to the USA to see how broad the beer styles are there and we’re on the same trajectory.
    Happy Xmas. Cheers to good beer.

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