Moa Noir Dark Lager – Moa Brewing (Marlborough, New Zealand) 

Moa Noir Dark Lager (no longer in production) – Moa Brewing Company, 5% ABV – 750 ml., (Marlborough, New Zealand)

on the front-left label:

“Moa Noir is a traditionally brewed European style dark lager with an abundance of distinct aromas and flavours. Chocolate and richly roasted coffee beans dominate the senses with a full flavoured palate, giving Moa Noir a long smooth finish. A perfect beer for the changing of seasons.”

Visual: (cellared for 4 years). Hefty quality bottle, aluminum foil wrapped, twisty steel cap, real cork. Pours dark cola brown with a smallish 1mm dissipating head, a thin micro layer of retention, scattered sporadic streams.

Nose: cocoa light roast grainy barley malt, toffee undertones. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp, slight tanginess

Mid-palate: wet cork, background mild sour, (lvl-2-sweetness), grainy dry roasted barley malt,

Finish: mild coffee bean exhale, dry cocoa

Summary: There’s a bit of cork flavour as well a background sourish note that distracts from the roasted malt experience. Overall the body and dark notes are good, but it seems acidic notes aren’t quite in harmony. Decent, but not great.

Blanc Evolution – Moa Brewing (Marlborough, New Zealand)


  • My Rating: C+

Blanc Evolution – Moa Brewing, 6.2% ABV – 375ml, (Marlborough, New Zealand)

On the front-side label:

“Moa Blanc Evolution is bottle fermented in the Belgian-style with a small amount of coriander added during its extended maturation time giving it a unique spiciness. Described as a rich, mouth-filling beer, it’s really a true wheat lover’s beer and a staple of the Moa Reserve range. ”

  • Style: Witbier
  • Taste: Tangy med-sour wheat malt pineapple/peach coriander dry
  • Where I got it : Legacy
  • How much: $6 (after 10% off) – 375ml., August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Composite corked. Pours almost clear pale orange with virtually no head but lots of very hard to see steady streams.

Nose: wheaty citrus malts, pineapple, peach. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp sweet malts

Mid-palate: tangy, medium sour, (lvl-4)-sweetness, (main) wheat malts, hints of pineapple, hints of peach

Finish: coriander dryness, dry fruity malt finsh.

Summary: Pretty straightforward with a good body and texture. It could be better visually.

Methode Pilsener – Moa Brewing (Marlborough, New Zealand)


  • My Rating: B

Methode Pilsener – Moa Brewing, 5% ABV – 750ml, (Marlborough, New Zealand)

On the front-side label:

“Moa Methode is bottle fermented and conditioned to give a natural, more consistent carbonation and flavour. Due to the natural brewing process of Methode Moa, a light, beneficial sediment will remain. This sediment protects the beer from premature aging and leaves full, slightly spicy characters on the palate.”

  • Style: Pilsener
  • Taste: Barley malt fizzy yeasty bread
  • Where I got it : Legacy
  • How much: $10 (after 10% off) – 750ml., August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Elegantly foil wrapped and corked, very classy. Pours clear golden pale yellow with a nice-sized foamy head, a good layer of retention, sticky lacing, a plethora of activity.

Nose: some sweet barley malt, but otherwise not much (lvl-1)-pungency

Attack: super crisp, incoming barley + bitter hops

Mid-palate: fizzy-airy mouthfeel, (lvl-4)-sweetness, (MAIN) barley malts, yeasty, bready, grassy

Finish: subtle soft bitter hops, gentle pronounced bitter hopped finish.

Summary: Good body for a pilsener, nice mouthfeel and balanced flavours.

St Josephs Belgian Tripel – Moa Brewing (Marlborough, New Zealand)


  • My Rating: C+

St Josephs Belgian Tripel – Moa Brewing, 9.5% ABV – 375ml, (Marlborough, New Zealand)

On the front-side label:

“Bottle fermented & Conditioned.

Moa St Josephs is brewed in the traditional style of a classic Belgian Tripel. Strong spice and clove characters create complex flavours and aromas which are heightened by its extended bottle conditioning, with a combination of malt and candy sugars complimenting the high alcohol content produced by the Belgian ale yeast. Best served at 8°C in a goblet after gently rolling the bottle to distribute the sediment signature. ”

  • Style: (Belgian-style) Tripel
  • Taste: Citrusy sweet acidic tangy sour light floral malts
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $6 (after 10% off) – 375ml., July 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Pours cloudy pale golden orange with suspended floaties, disappointingly no head upon popping the cork, almost no activity, and very thin ringed retention

Nose: very faint chamomile malts, with just a hint of fishiness (lvl-2)-pungency

Attack: almost flat, incoming sourness

Mid-palate: (lvl-7)-fruity citrusy sweetness, champagne vinegar medium sourness, (MAIN) lemon citrus malts, hints of florals + grapefruit

Finish: curd-like residual sweetness, subtle soft mild bitter hopped finish.

Summary: The flavour profile is quite unique and good for a Belgian-style tripel – Balanced citrus with subtle florals and a spot-on sweetness. It’s a shame that it’s vastly undercarbonated – it drinks almost flat with zero crispness.

Fresh Hopwired IPA – 8 Wired Brewing (Marlborough, New Zealand)


  • My Rating: C

Fresh Hopwired Wet Hopped IPA – 8 Wired Brewing, 7.3% ABV –500ml, (Marlborough, New Zealand)

On the back label:

“Over the past few years, HopWired has more or less become the BENCHMARK for all New Zealand hopped IPAs. It is a pure expression of NZ ‘terroir’ for better and worse. In 2012 we decided to mix it up a little and make a wet hopped version of this modern classic. So hotly demanded and so enjoyable to make, we decided to turn the creation of this beer into an annual event.

One beautiful morning in March we drove to Motueka and picked up a truckload (literally) of freshly harvested ‘wet’ Motueka hops. We went straight back to the brewery and brewed some beer. Two weeks later we did the same thing, but this time the hop was NELSON SAUVIN, (the two hops mature at different times). The two beers were blended and here it is, a refreshing take on New Zealand IPA.”

  • Style: (wet hopped) IPA
  • Taste: hoppy/creamy -> passion fruit/citrus -> grapefruit bitter/lingering hoppy bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $10 (after 10% off) – 500ml., July 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: only if you can handle bitter IPAs

Visual: Pours cloudy golden orange with a small creamy head, very long thin layer of retention, lacing, lots of steady activity.

Nose: strawberries and faint citrus. (3)-aromatic strength

Attack: incoming hops, creamy mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (4)-sweetness that quickly dissipates, (MAIN) passion fruit, grapefruit (HINT) peach, light caramel malt

Finish: sharp grapefruit bitterness, lingering hoppy bitterness.

Summary:  This one is all about the heavy bitter hops that last longer than the energizer bunny. Mainly citrusy with some passion fruit flavour in there but way too hoppy bitter without the sweetness/brightness to balance it out. Too heavy to sip alone. (Note: numbers above are on a 10-point weak-strong scale)

Craftsman Chocolate Oatmeal Stout – Renaissance Brewing (Marlborough, New Zealand)


  • My Rating: B

Craftsman Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (2012 edition) – Renaissance Brewing, 4.9% ABV –500ml, (Marlborough, New Zealand)

On the back label:

“Craftsman is our Chocolate oatmeal stout. To brew it we add a proportion of organic oatmeal to the mash for a velvety smooth mouthfeel. and plenty of dark roasted coca nibs to the mash,boil and fermentor. The result is a rich, intense stout with notes of dark chocolate that gradually gives way to a subtle hop finish. With malt, coffee and chocolate flavours, Craftsman pairs well with any dessert, or match it with hearty fare such as venison and beef.”

Ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, OATMEAL, COCOA, VANILLA.

  • Style: (Chocolate, Oatmeal) Flavoured Stout
  • Taste: syrupy richness -> mocha/vanilla/roast/malts/cola -> alcohol/malty-roasted bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : 16th Liquor Store
  • How much: $9 (after 10% off) – 500ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: “Winner of the Australian International Beer Award 2011 Champion Stout”. Pours super dark brown with barely any head, very thin ringed retention, some activity on the surface.

Nose: Very deep roasted coffee and liquid chocolate. (10)-aromatic strength.

Attack: deep richness, syrupy mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (6)-sweetness, (MAIN) mocha, vanilla, roasted coffee, malts, cola

Finish: light alcohol, malty-roasted bitter finish.

Summary:  A very nice balance of bittersweet flavours. Decent body but more creaminess and a bit thicker mouthfeel would’ve made this super awesome. (Note: numbers above are on a 10-point weak-strong scale)

Moa Pale Ale – Moa Brewing (Marlborough, New Zealand)


  • My Rating: B+

Moa Pale Ale – Moa Brewing, 5% ABV – 750ml, (Marlborough, New Zealand)

On the front-side label:

“Bottle fermented & Conditioned.

Moa Pale Ale is a New Zealand take on a popular North American beer style. Using famous Cascade and Nelson Sauvin hops, the dominant features in this beer are unique to New Zealand and the Moa bottle conditioned brewing method. Its hoppy strength displays powerful floral, citrus and tropical notes, and like its northern cousins is a beer best enjoyed just below room temperature.”

  • Style: (American-style) Pale Ale
  • Taste: crisp/fizzy-incoming bitter peel -> citrus/grapefruit/peach -> grapefruit bitter hoppy finish.
  • Where I got it : Firefly
  • How much: $9 (after 10% off) – 750ml., Sept 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes!

Visual: “Beer for Olympians” printed on the side along with 3 awards. Gorgeous bottle, cork, foil wrap, and sub-$10 price make this one very enticing. Pours cloudy hazy orange with an enormous lasting fluffy head and abundant CO2 activity.


Nose: orange citrus sweet malts with a hoppy backdrop. Extremely citrus. (7)-aromatic strength.

Attack: crisp fizzy-creamy

Mid-palate: tingly, citrus (6)-sweetness (MAIN) orange citrus, grapefruit, malt (HINT) peach

Finish: grapefruit sharp (7)-bitter hops, grassy bitter hop finish.

Summary: Overall very solid – price, packaging, substance. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)