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Moa – not just an extinct native bird

by on 23 July, 2011
So, as some of you will know, last week The Hopful Thinkers were privy to a very special private tasting session, thanks to Gareth from Moa Beer.

Aside from tasting 10 different beers from their range, in fact everything listed on their website, we learned a lot about Beer and the history of Moa in particular.  How Josh came from a family of Vintners, for example.  And the influence of that history comes through — the use of wine yeasts, and the clean and crisp finish that is a real signature across the range.

The care that has gone into each Moa is clear.  In each case, the ingredients are selected specially for that one flavour, something is different in each – the malt, the hops, and even the yeast varies between varieties.

On to the tasting — what did we think of the beers?

Well we started, naturally, on the Moa Original.  This is a nice lager, plain and simple, and is the only beer in Moa’s range that is not bottle conditioned.  Nice but, nothing too exciting here.  Move along.

Breakfast.  The beer that caused global controversy when it was relaunched under this moniker (it used to go by the name of Moa Harvest Ale).  I would happily drink this with breakfast, or if I was a bit “under the weather” (certainly beats a bayonet run) and I reckon for people that “don’t like beer”, particularly of the champagne drinking persuasion, this might be a good introduction.

Next up was the Methode, a Pilsner style.  We’ve tried this before, but at the tasting it was definitely fuller and more flavoursome; turns out this one is best after it’s spent some time in the bottle, Gareth reckons about when it expires is good, and I’d say he was right.  So if you buy this one and it’s fresh, chuck it in the pantry for a few months before you try it.  You won’t be sorry.

Moa’s Blanc is a wheat beer, but much lighter than the typical style you would see from Germany or Belgium.  If you don’t usually like wheat beer because it tastes like apple juice that’s sat around too long, you would probably enjoy Moa Blanc.  However if you are a fan of Hoegaarden and it’s kin, go for the Blanc Evolution – spiced with Coriander this is a much tastier brew and definitely my pick.

Noir, the dark lager.  Malty up front with hints of chocolate and coffee, but a very fresh finish unlike most others of its ilk.

The anticipation is too much for Chris, apparently...

The Pale Ale is a hoppy and very sessionable American style PA.  Floral and citrus notes are evident from the Cascade and Sauvin hops.

Five Hop is a traditional English style ale, and certainly fits the profile.  A great winter drink, the bitterness of the hops is well balanced with rich maltiness, oak characters (achieved by aging 10% in oak barrels), and a smooth creamy mouthfeel.

Some of the Aftermath

St Josephs is a Belgian style Tripel. The candied maltiness makes it a smooth and easy drinker, but don’t be fooled — at 9.5% it’s not to be taken lightly!  Very dangerous brew this one…

We finished on the Imperial Stout – or should I say, it finished us.  This is a powerful brew at 10.2% and to be honest, there’s no avoiding the booziness on the nose, but full of heavy stout flavours of coffee and mocha, sweet notes, there is a lot of layers to this beer.  Where is that drink taking you?

In way of palate cleansers, wekas were laid on as well. All in all, a good night.

Oh which was our pick?  No way would we all decide on one.  Chris would suggest that if you were to try a couple first, to go for the Pale Ale and the St Josephs, if you ask me then I’d add the Blanc Evolution to that list.

Like any flightless bird, Moas are hard to spot in the wild, but if you want to go hunting, we suggest you start here.

Shootin' the breeze

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