Friday, March 12, 2010

New Zealand: Moa Brewing Co: Exceptionally Rare Beer

I also came upon Moa's beers in a wine speciality chain store called GlenGarry. I was looking for some interesting New Zealand beers to try as that was my only rule during my stay on the North Island: only drink the local beer. So when I saw Moa's beers on the shelf, with a cork and higher abv's than the rest, I thought I would give it a try. My only note of distain is that they were all in green bottle no less (shame on you guys- change the freaking bottle to brown! Otherwise they will be skunked-).

Their website says:
       A vision of Moa beer came to Josh Scott, winemaker for Allan Scott Family Winemakers...
What if he used his winemaking expertise to craft an exceptional quality beer?
The process starts off quite normally. Josh brews the beer using mainly local hops, malt, wheat or barley. Then he veers off the well-worn path. Josh bottles the beer, adds a dose of yeast and sugar and then seals the cap.
Just like champagne, the bubbles produced by this second fermentation are dissolved in the liquid. The result is a beer unlike any other — clear, exquisite, and bottle-fermented

We tried in order:
1-Moa's St Josephs Tripel-Belgian Style Tripel and 9.5% abv-Limited edition
2-Moa's 5 Hop Winter Ale- 6.2% abv- English style Extra Special Bitter/Strong Ale and limited edition
3-Moa's Harvest- 5.5%- fruit beer made with Nelson hops and cherries
4-Moa's Imperial Stout Barrel Reserve- 9.5% abv aged in Pinot Noir barrels and limited edition

St Josephs Tripel- This poured a cloudy caramel yellow. On the nose, you get flavors of sour lemons, slight spice, light caramel and very belgiany. It tasted: of a slightly sweet caramel, light spicy clove, yeast, belgiany, some dark fruits and some light citrus. It was extremely good and probably my favorite beer so far in New Zealand.

5 Hop Winter Ale- This poured a teak brown with a good, thick white head. It smelled of light sweet malts, hops, and some light tropical fruits. It tasted belgiany with some bitterness, candied sugar, malt, light grapefruit and light spice.

Harvest- This beer poured a golden yellow with a touch of white foam. It smelled of wheat, light fresh cherries and slight vanilla. It tasted light with some light cherries, slight banana, clove spices and wheat. Very drinkable and refreshing.

Imperial Stout Barrel Reserve- Yeah! Aged in Pinot Noir barrels! Someone is doing something comparable to what's going on here on the West Coast. I actually brought this one on the plane back home with me for my husband to try. The only problem with beers being bottle conditioned is that sometimes they explode. This one didn't quite explode on the way over, but it did leak due to pressure (the other bottles of Moa did not). It poured a dark brown black with an oatmeal cream head. It smelled of wine, chocolate, light vanilla, and big roasted malt. It tasted of dark espresso, fresh vanilla bean, toasted malt with some light tannins in there as well. It was super carbonated and not too bitter- very drinkable and very good. I am glad I brought another bottle home to age!

Overall, they are doing some good stuff over there and if you get a chance to go to the South Island of New Zealand you should definitely make a trip to their brewery! (If I ever get to the south island, I definitely will!) Keep up the good work Moa!

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