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.

Scarlett’s Lime and Elderflower Spritzer – Invivo Wines (New Zealand)


  • My Rating: [B-]

Scarlett’s Spritzers – Wine Spritzer infused with Lime and Elderflower – Invivo Wines, 5% ABV, 500ml, (Mangawhai Heads, New Zealand)

on the back label:

“We take our premium blend of wines, add water and infuse it with elderflower and lime. The result is a delicious and refreshing fruit spritzer with a crisp, dry finish.”


  • Style: (lime & eldeflower infusion, wine) Cooler
  • Taste: Fragrant elderflower lime white wine sugary moderately cloying
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.50 CAD – 500ml., August 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to at parties: yes!

Visual: Pours effervescent straw yellow with large bubbles clinging to the side of the glass, large CO2 steady streams.

Nose: fragrant elderflower with hints of lime citrus – absolutely enticing. (lvl-10)-pungency

Attack: incoming sugars & acidity

Mid-palate: bubbly-big CO2, light sour-tangy, white wine, (lvl-7)-sticky sweetness, grassy elderflower

Finish: light tartness, dissipating cloying sugars, lime oil bitterness, elderflower exhale.

Summary: Firstly, I have to say I love the taste of elderflower. Having made elderflower soda from scratch, I can certainly taste the real elderflower and limes in this spritzer. Although somewhat cloying and a touch thin, it reminds me of a sweeter, less dense flavoured St-Germain Cocktail (elderflower liqueur, champagne). Still, it’s very drinkable and goes well with a meal.

Honesty Box Select Apple Cider – Independent Liquor (New Zealand)


Honesty Box Select Apple Cider – Independent Liquor Ltd., 7% ABV, 440ml, (Auckland, New Zealand)

printed on the back of the can:

“From a farm where you can purchase fruit from an unattended stand at the end of a laneway, by simply putting your money into an honesty box, we bring you this crisp and refreshing cider.

It’s lovingly crafted by our ciderers with the tastiest fruit. The sort you might find with an honesty box. Of course, we paid for ours.” (-interesting info on what exactly an honesty box is)


  • Style: (apple) Cider
  • Taste: Bubbly cloying dense sugar red apple juice/cider vinegar acidic tart
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $2.50 – 440ml., July 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados:

Visual: Aluminum can, odd size. Pours straw yellow with a smallish dissipating head, a very thin layer of micro retention, several slow steady large CO2 streams.

Nose: filtered apple juice, hints of yeast (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, large CO2 fizzy, incoming dense sweet

Mid-palate: (lvl-7)-sweetness, dense sugars, high acidity, medium tartness, (MAIN) mild apple cider vinegar, red apple juice

Finish: mild alcohol bitternesss, cloying sugars, micro bubbly apple exhale.

Summary: Almost guaranteed to give those who are prone to it like me, heartburn. Lots of acidity as well as added sugar in this, best with a meal or snack. Too sweet-cloying with just a basic apple/apple cider vinegar flavour, decent bubbly mouthfeel.

The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar 2014 Day #7 – ANZUS IPA (NZ)


The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar 2014 Day #7

Anzus IPA – Croucher Brewing Company, 7% ABV – 330ml., (Rotorua, New Zealand)

on the front-left label:

“In April 1952, Australia, New Zealand and The United States formed the ANZUS alliance as the Cold War threatened our combined shores. In the 1980’s New Zealand rocked the boat with our stance on nuclear warships and was unceremoniously dumped from the alliance. While a Nuclear Free ANZUS alliance didn’t work, the Nuclear Free ANZUS IPA sure does with its heady blend of aroma hops from Australia, New Zealand and the USA. After a glass of this it won’t be Uranium they’ll be smelling on your breath.”


  • Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • Taste: Peach apricot pine bitter light salty hops
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: only if you like IPAs

Visual: Pours clear golden amber with a small dissipating head, a thin layer of very micro retention, spread out large CO2 slow steady streams.

Nose: aromatic tangerine-apricot-peach hops, almost perfume-like. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: resin, pine

Mid-palate: fizzy-tingly, (lvl-2)-sweetness, (MAIN) grassy, apricot, more pine, caramel malts

Finish: burpy, soft-bitter + salty hopped finish.

Summary: Orchard fruit and pine with a SALTY bitter hopped finish; quite interesting to say the least. With so many IPAs out there, this one isn’t to my taste.

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.

Epicurean Coffee & Fig Imperial Oatmeal Stout – Epic Brewing (Auckland, New Zealand)


  • My Rating: A

Epicurean Coffee & Fig Imperial Oatmeal Stout 2012 – Epic Brewing, 8% ABV – 750ml., (Auckland, New Zealand)

on the front label:

“Luscious oatmeal stout brewed with razor sharp cleaver chopped Turkish Lerida figs & matured on Kenyan Karen coffee expertly roasted by Kerry and Dan at Caffe L’affare in Wellington. This stout was conditioned on toasted coconut from the Philippines. Grab a scoop of Kohu road vanilla ice cream, pour a couple of glasses and enjoy. Originally created & brewed with Dish magazine editor, Victoria Wells. Media Brew Champion of Beervana, 2011.”

back label:


  • Style: (coffee, fig, coconut) Flavoured Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Bold smooth roasted coffee fig malt bittersweet
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $20 (after 10% off) – 750ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, glad I bought 2 bottles
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nirvana for stout fanatics

Visual: Pours ultra dark brown with smallish very foamy lasting head, some lacing, a bit of activity near the surface.

Nose: clean roasted coffee without much burntness, soft aroma. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: dark malts, silky texture

Mid-palate: fizzy-micro-tingly, (MAIN) big roasted coffee, fig dark fruitiness, cacao, thick malts

Finish: coconut nuttiness, roasted coffee exhale, malty sweet coffee bitter finish.

Summary: Big roasted coffee and figgy flavour with just enough ABV, body, texture and zero sourness. Composed and poised. One of my top 3 favourite stouts out of all the 50+ stouts I’ve tried.

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.

Aotearoa Pale Ale – Tuatara Brewery (Reikorangi, NZ)


  • My Rating: B

Aotearoa Pale Ale (APA) – Tuatara Brewery , 5.8% ABV – 500ml., (Reikorangi, NZ)

on the back label:

“There’s a pile of clichés we won’t deploy here attesting to the fact that you can never take anything in this world for granted. Sure enough, just as Tuatara’s beloved American Pale Ale looked like getting bigger than Texas, our supply of the mighty American hops that defined it started to go wobbly on us. Undeterred, we set to crafting a local solution. Aotearoa Pale Ale takes the spirit of the old APA and reanimates it with a hopping regime that’s as kiwi as a 25 year mortgage. The same-but-different local recipe (Pacific Jade, Cascade, Sauvin and Wai-iti for all you trainspotters) is well within the remit of the original APA, but with a deep, long, new age flavour profile.”

  • Style: (American-style) Pale Ale
  • Taste: Hoppy-bitter + citrus sweet pale ale
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor Store
  • How much: $8 (after 10% off) – 500ml., December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours clear golden orange with a decent lasting small foamy head, sticky lacing, lots of activity.

Nose: sweet citrus hops, mild malts (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: bitter citrus hops

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-citrus/bitter sweetness, (MAIN) orange, sweet grapefruit bittersweet hops, yeasty malts

Finish: lingering grassy bitter hops, off-dry citrusy bitter sweetness.

Summary: A pale ale with a pronounced yet gently balanced hoppy-citrus bittersweet profile. Extremely drinkable, even as it warms. Recommended.

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)