Well the Bledisloe has been run and won again by the All Blacks. Too big, too strong, too fast.
But it was while having to throw back a tin of the very interesting tasting Tui Lager as being on the losing end of a bet with a Kiwi mate, that I realised that us Aussies get to have the last laugh, we have the better beer. The term “interesting” is used more in a politically correct way here, the editor wouldn’t let me write exactly what I wanted, suffice to say that Tui has got this certain something about it…..and I think that something might be tinea, as there is the strange lingering taste like its been filtered through a pair of work socks.
But it was when I was thrown another Kiwi beer to wash out that lingering, god awful taste, that I realised, New Zealand might be getting the wood on us. The second beer in question was a bottle of Moa Pale Ale. The difference between the two beers, Tui and Moa, is like day and night.
Moa has got a fantastic aroma, an explosion of fruits on the tongue all with a great malt backbone, while Tui tastes like it’s been scrapped off your boot, watered down and thrown into a tin. Now I’ve seen Moa floating around in the bottleshops before, but I hadn’t really paid them too much attention, as I’ve been trying to help the Aussie beer and wine industry make a crust, but these beers were enough to make me sit up, take notice and grab a few of the different beers next time I walked into my local bottleo.
Moa Brewing Company was established in 2003 by Josh Scott, son of NZ winemaker Alan Scott, Josh too is a qualified winemaker. Whilst travelling the world to learn his trade, he gleaned all the beer making secrets out of those around him. He returned to NZ in 1999, to become chief winemaker at Allan Scott Winemakers. One thing led to another and in 2003 Josh made his first commercial brew of beer in a leased corner of a brewery; he named it Moa after the extinct giant flightless bird that used to roam New Zealand. It wasn’t long before Moa needed to have their own brewery and set up one in Blenheim, on New Zealand’s South Island.
The beer itself was their Methode, kind of a cross between a saison and a pilsner, its finished off using winemaking skills, like barrel aging and secondary bottle fermentation, much like a champagne or methode traditional (hence the name). These brewing methods are traditional, but costly and labour intensive, but often gives the best results. Moa isn’t the first brewery to use secondary fermentation in their brewing, and they won’t be the last, the difference here though is that ninety five percent of the Moa range is treated with these hands on brewing techniques and secondary fermentation.
And it’s these techniques that are garnering awards from all over the world. At this year’s Aust International Beer Awards, Moa claimed no less than 6 bronze medals, and was named in the top three finalists for “Champion Medium International Brewery”. At the Dublin Craft Beer Cup in February they took out seven medals to add to their already groaning trophy cabinet.
Having sat down and tried the range, at least the range available locally, I can say that Moa may not appeal to everyone, every time. At least one person on the tasting panel, at any one time didn’t particularly rate the beer they were trying at that time. Having only just having had my eyes opened to them it will be interesting to see how they go during an FNQ summer. Having said that though, these are beers that are be rated far better “than average”. If you try them, and don’t enjoy them, then fine, but if you can’t at least see the quality in them, then perhaps you need to be on the Australian Rugby board, as they can’t seem to pick quality either.
The easy to find range bro.
Moa Methode Pilsner – a German styled pilsner, brewed with Champagne yeast. It gives a beer that has a great bitterness; with dominate citrus notes from the hops, with those yeasty bready/brioche notes that come from using that particular yeast strain. It does have sediment in the bottle that, when poured into the glass with the beer, made those bready notes stronger.
Moa Pale Ale 99 Not Out SKW – I guess it was only a matter of time before someone made a beer with an Aussie cricketer, SKW here refers to Shane Keith Warne, the only man that could make the name Keith cool. I just always assumed it would be Boonie that had a beer named after him first. Much like SKW himself this beer isn’t for everyone, it’s the one that divided the panel the most. Fantastic hoppy aromas and hop bitterness, with bright crisp tropical’s and a finish that shows sweet malts and touches of flint.
Moa Five Hop English Ale – this was such a well balanced beer. As the name suggests there are five different hops involved here, which gives a seriously hop driven yet savoury beer. The aromas are hop driven, tropicals and florals; the flavours are creamy and slick on the tongue. Extremely more-ish, which is dangerous as it comes in at 6.2%.
Moa St Joseph’s – Belgian Tripel is a style that isn’t for everyone. At 9.5%lac, this is a serious chest hair producing, awesome, true to style beer that is a world class. Strong spice, caramel and a touch of banana in there on the nose, bitterness works well with the style, a smoky clove and spice on the tongue in there, that would make you believe that they were added to the mash, yet no spices or additives have gone into this. Its thick and plush on the tongue and that smokiness would make it work well with food.