Coming Soon… New Zealand Hop Harvest 2015

This week I headed to Nelson (with a bunch of other brewers from around New Zealand) for the day (and night) for a visit to “The Hop Lab” at Plant & Food Research in Motueka. The focus was on the new 50 litre trial brew plant (manufactured by Chris Little Engineering) which is now being used to brew beers with the trial hop varieties to see if they show promise for brewing.

It was a good time of year to do this, as it is a week before the New Zealand Hop harvest begins. The plants have hops on them, the hop growers aren’t too busy to be able to spend the afternoon with the brewers.

I look forward to this becoming an annual event for the brewers and hop growers to catch up and have a chat over a beer. (without the full-page release form having to be signed to taste 90 mls)

Below is a photo gallery showing a bit of what happened. It’s a lot of hop photo, but that’s what I’m into.

Day 17 – Beers of Auckland – Kingtide IPA

Beers of Auckland Advent Calendar 2014
DAY 17 – Kingtide IPA by Bach Brewing Company

HightideBOTTLE: Kingtide IPA
BREWED: Steam Brewing Company
ABV: 7.0%

This afternoon Craig Cooper from Bach Brewing stopped by for a catch up and a beer. The beer we drank was Beachstone Pilsner (very nice) but I had already Advented that. It was getting close to the end of the day and I got thinking what am I going to review today.  Craig said he had a Kingtide IPA in the car. So lucky me he gave me a bottle to taste and write about.

Gees, this is a hard time of year to be doing this. There is so much going on, and so little spare time at the moment. The weekend and next week I hope to have a bit more fun doing this. Alice I think of you each night now as I write this and think how amazing you are. How did you do it?

It was noted that this bottle had a little age on it being bottled in August, but not too bad. The aroma is still pretty fresh , and is driven by a mix of Citra and NZ hop notes. The colour is a gold golden colour. On tasting it there was a little age/ oxidation. BOOM! Armageddon jumped into my mind. Very similar characters of Armageddon after several months in the bottle. I hadn’t made the connection before.

Next thought, ” hey wouldn’t it be fun to taste these beer next to each other”. Lucky I had a bottle of Armageddon IPA in the fridge.  What were the chances of that. Nek Minute. I had a glass of Kingtide IPA and a glass of Armageddon IPA. The colours are very very similar, possibly the same +/- 1 or 2 EBC. The aroma of the Kingtide IPA was more obvious with the Citra and NZ hops, Armageddon just wasn’t doing it tonight for me. (will need to check the dry hopping on this batch). On tasting the Armageddon IPA, it was leaner in the malt but the hops were greener and more aggressive, and Kingtide had more malt, less hops and a little alcohol sweetness (7.0% vs 6.66% abv).

Funny how my thoughts kept rolling along, and wondered why I had never thought them before. How close are these beers in taste? They are made in the same brewery, Steam Brewing Company. By the same brewers, with the same yeast strain. Different hops are obvious. The brewer who wrote the recipe jumps to mind also. Another common thread. These beers are brothers from nearly the same mother. Could these beers be called as close as DB Draught and DB Double Brown (well maybe not since they are said to actually be just one beer). But they are pretty similar.

Two really great beers from the same brewery.

So there must be a discussion that could be had about contract brewing right about now. Beers from the same brewery, etc, etc.. Maybe I’ll sleep on this over the Christmas break and see what pops out the other end.

Craft Beer in Auckland

#craftbeer, #auckland, #newzealand, #bachbrewing #kingtide #adventcalendar

These links might help you find out what is on tap around Auckland

https://twitter.com/TapHunterAKLD
http://auckland.taphunter.com/location/
https://twitter.com/NowPouringAKL

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.