The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Grape expectations from Moa’s latest brews

rsz_the_shout-moa_gewurz_ipa_-_500ml_rrp999Sticking to its distinctive strategy of adding a winemaker’s spin to brewing, Moa Brewing Co. sets grape expectations with its latest grape-infused beers.

Taking advantage of the quality vines and grapes produced in the Marlborough region, the latest instalments from Moa head brewer David Nicholls include the Gewurztraminer-inspired Moa Gewürz IPA and Sauvignon-inspired Moa Tripel Savvy.

The two new brews are exemplary examples of grapes used two-ways in brewing. The first, an addition to the beer base in the fermentation process to ramp up the natural spice alongside the yeasts and hops (as seen in the Gewürz IPA) and the second, replacing the candi sugar adjunct and then adding it again later to build the sweetness and complexity of the imparting flavours (as per the Tripel Savvy).

“We’re surrounded by grapes – here we get to infuse both passions [winemaking and brewing],” says David.

The Moa Gewürz IPA has bold spicy characters, evident from the Gewürztraminer grapes (known for their natural spice and aromatic properties) and Belgian Ale yeast (known for its complex spice aromas that stem from a regimented fermentation process).

In his own words David describes this beer as ‘all about spice: spicy grapes, spicy hops and spicy yeast’.

Brewed with a heavy helping of American hops including Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra, the Gewürz IPA leaves a spicy aroma and mouth feel with smooth warming finish – best enjoyed in a chilled large tulip glass alongside strong, spicy curries or sweet desserts.

“This beer may just be the first of its kind and with beautiful freshly harvested grapes sourced locally, it underpins what it means to put a Moa spin on a beer,” says David.

The Moa Tripel Savvy is the third vintage of Moa’s Tripel Sav series, this time with a greater addition of Sauvignon Blanc grape juice, ultimately making the Sauvignon shine more than previous vintages.

An experimental Belgian style Tripel with quintessential phenolics (banana) and spice sees the Tripel Savvy dominated by a grape aroma and finish – perfectly paired with funky blue cheese and served in a steamed Abbey goblet.

“The extra grape addition plus the higher alcohol content means that this year’s vintage packs a greater punch for a more in your face assault of the senses,” says David.

Keeping it ‘in the family’, the grapes used in both beers are taken straight from David Nicholls’ and the Scott’s family vineyards (as the Blenheim-based brewery sits on the back of the Allan Scott Family Winemakers vineyard blocks).

“Marlborough is known for its winemaking credibility and at Moa, our winemaking heritage means we get to build on that reputation, ultimately producing innovative brews with the Moa special touch,” says David.