The origins of the MOA Red Stag Wheat Beer

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The origins of the MOA Red Stag Wheat Beer

By Parley Reynolds – MOA Asia Market Manager


Part 1.

Like many good stories, this one also starts out with a few beers…

On a cool March mid-spring evening in Shanghai, the MOA General Manager - Gareth Hughes and I were sitting outside the Hop Project on Dagu Rd enjoying a few brews.  There was a beer tradeshow in town at the time, so we were soaking in the bustling Shanghai atmosphere and the chance to catch up with a few old friends. Most importantly we were waiting for the owners of M99 to meet us for a drink.  M99 is a large craft beer retail chain based in the western Chinese city of Chengdu where I live. The owners Alex and Kite are good friends of mine and they soon appeared. A few more beers were downed shortly thereafter as they shared stories of their recent beer purchasing trip to California.

  M99 Store Chengdu

M99 Store Chengdu

Both Alex and Kite make a point of traveling to the countries where they source their beer. We soon got to talking about a planned trip to NZ. Other than drinking a lot of great kiwi beers, they were interested in activities we could suggest for them to do while they were there. They wanted to do something beyond the usual Queenstown bungy, Hobbiton, whale watching etc. Being a keen hunter, Gareth suggested they come visit the MOA brewery and he could take them for a deer hunt. After showing the boys some pictures of his recent hunting successes, they were dead set keen on the idea.

  The think tank. Shanghai 2017

The think tank. Shanghai 2017

The ideas kept flowing as fast as the beers were being poured. Rating himself as a bit of a brewer, Kite floated the idea of doing a M99 collaboration brew with MOA using some special NZ ingredient that would be attractive to their customer base. Sure, but what? Kiwifruit, cherries, honey? Circling back around to the hunting trip, Kite suggested doing a deer velvet beer. “Good for man” he said… I thought he was joking, but as I laughed and sipped my beer he was still looking at me with a serious expression. “Good for man” he repeated. I looked at Gareth and he shrugged his shoulders. I guess we had settled on a collaboration brew idea.

As it was going into winter in NZ we decided to hold off on the trip until summer, a much more pleasant time to go hunting and travel in NZ. Of course, it was also the best time to catch the deer while in velvet too.

  Deer in Velvet

Deer in Velvet

Velvet is the soft furry stuff on the outside of the deer antlers before they turn hard. Male deer grow a new set of antlers every year to both  how their dominance and attract females. They can grow up to 2cm a day! Wowee! Once they’re done dealing with the busy mating season, the antlers dry up and drop off as they wait around for the fun and games to start the following year. Deer Velvet is valued in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a way to balance yang deficiencies (too much yin and not enough yang bruh!). Don’t ask me what that even means… Spread over 2000 farms across the country, there are around 1 million deer farmed in New Zealand for venison and velvet. According to Deer Industry New Zealand market manager Rhys Griffiths, New Zealand exports of velvet to China doubled over the past year from $20 million to nearly NZD $40 million. I didn’t realize how popular this stuff is!  It’s got to be doing something good for some fella out there!

  MOA Hunting, Auckland Airport

MOA Hunting, Auckland Airport

Come January, with freshly issued visitor visas and their empty suitcases in hand ready to fill with NZ beer, I picked up Alex and Kite from Auckland airport. Even after a 13-hour overnight direct flight from Chengdu to Auckland they were surprisingly full of energy and keen to go out and try some local beers. After checking into the hotel, we found a nearby supermarket that was open until midnight. As it was 10:30pm we hurried down to the store and headed straight for the beer section. The boys were impressed with the selection that supermarkets in NZ and took their time to choose the best mixture of craft beers that the store had to offer.  A young fella stacking the shelves called over to us “Hey, you know you guys are gonna get cut off at 11pm aye”. No, we didn’t, but cheers for the heads-up mate! Being 10:57pm we ran the checkout counter and were stoked to have made it in time. “I’m gonna have to check your IDs” the elderly woman behind the counter insisted as I pulled my wallet out to pay. Being in our mid to late 30’s we were quite taken back by this request but also sort of flattered at the same time. As she fumbled to enter in our birthdates into the system the clock struck 11:00pm when she finally finished. “I’m sorry, I can’t process this purchase, it’s after 11:00pm and I’m locked out of the system”. Gutted! I guess they take the concept of countdown seriously…

Being in South Auckland on a Tuesday night our options were limited. Embarrassed by what had transpired and with two distraught and thirsty Chinese boys in tow, I had no other option but to take them to the local TAB for a beer. The beers on tap were obviously limited to a few industrial mainstays of the NZ beer world but at least they got a beer along with an authentic welcome to NZ. It wasn’t quite Skycity but they had a fun time sinking a few pints behind the pokie machines while sitting next to a local character with facial tattoos and a warriors jersey. I suggested they were probably best not to ask for a selfie.

First thing the next morning we were on the morning flight down to Marlborough. Gareth and David Nichols, the head brewer for MOA, picked us up from our Airbnb just before lunch. After a quick stop for supplies were on our way up to Stronvar Station just out of Marlborough on the northern most tip of the Southern Alps.  We met with our hunting guide Dave Evans who gave us a quick tour of his place and after an introduction to the history of the area and a breakdown of the health & safety protocols for the hunting newbies amongst the group (i.e. me and the Chinese boys), we were in the truck and on our way up into the valley.

  The hunting crew, Marlborough Jan 2018

The hunting crew, Marlborough Jan 2018

Part 2 coming soon…

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Fresh Snapper Burgers & Moa Five Hop

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Fresh Snapper Burgers & Moa Five Hop

There is not a lot we like more than a fresh snapper burger at the beach.  This is the perfect recipe Summer or Winter!


Ingredients:
Fresh snapper fillets (1 per burger)
Panko crumbs
Herbs of your choice (we used a pre-madeTuscan mix)
Salt & pepper
2 x eggs
olive oil

For the burger;
Burger buns
Avocado
Rocket or lettuce
Tomato/tomato sauce
Mayo
Hot sauce
Sliced beetroot & carrot

Method:
1. Catch and fillet your snapper (Discard remains in compost for ultimate garden nutrients!)
2. Make your rub using the Panko crumbs, herbs, salt & pepper and mix together with your hands
3. Beat eggs on a separate plate
4. Heat your pan to a med/high heat with a dollop of olive (or coconut oil for a sweeter taste)
5. Dip fillets into egg mixture then into crumb mixture and set aside until pan is hot
6. Cook your fillets until the crumb is golden brown, it should only take a couple of minutes in total!
7. Prepare your burgers however you like using fresh, seasonal produce and bun of your choice
8. Pair with a Moa Five Hops for the ultimate belly comforter in the cold weather!

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Moa Cider Drunk Cihicken Pie

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Moa Cider Drunk Cihicken Pie

Recipe

You will need:
1 Tbsp Olive oil
400g Skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh
1 large leek roughly trimmed and sliced
60g Butter
2 heaped Tbsp plain flour plus extra for dusting
300mls Milk, plus extra for brushing
200mls Moa Cider
salt & pepper
170g Broccoli, cut into small pieces
handful chopped fresh parsley
Tin sweetcorn, drained
320g frozen pastry sheets

Method 

1.    Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees C Fan bake.
2.    Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, add olive oil and chicken & cook until meat is sealed all over. Add the leek and cook for 5-6 mins more, stirring now and again until it has softened and the chicken is starting to brown. Turn off heat & set aside.
3.    Now make the saucey stuff. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan over a low heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring as it thickens to avoid any lumps, for 2 mins. Slowly add milk and cider, a little at a time, mixing as you go. Once fully mixed add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 3-4 mins until thick.
4.    Tip the sauce, broccoli, parsley and sweetcorn into the chicken pan, stir well, then simmer gently for a further 5 mins. Season the sauce with a good grind of salt & pepper, the set aside to slightly cool
5.    Line a floured baking dish with your pastry (you can just put pastry on the lid but we went the whole hog and made it a fully sealed pie) and pour in your slightly cooled mixture. Cut off any excess or fold it over, or make funny patterns on top of the pie for added conversation pieces at the dinner table.
6.    Brush the pie with leftover milk, stab a few holes in the lid with a fork and bake for 25-30 mins until golden and puffy.

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Sharkman's Semi Famous Popcorn Cray

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Sharkman's Semi Famous Popcorn Cray

Ingredients;

Crayfish

2 x eggs Panko crumbs Chilli

Lemon

Herbs + spices of your choice Salt + pepper to taste

Canola or sunflower oil for frying

Method:

1. Pre- Boil your crayfish for one minute to make for an easier peeling process

2. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk until smooth

3. Make up your panko crumb mixture using your chilli (finely chopped), rind of the lemon, herbs and spices, salt + pepper

4. Cut and peel your cray and chop into small, bite-size pieces.

5. Dip the cray bits into the egg, then into your panko mixture making sure to cover every bit generously.

6. Boil a centremeter of oil in a pan and throw in your popcorn cray for about 5 minutes or until they are a nice golden colour on the outside.

7. Slice up some lemon to garnish

8. Crack open your Moa Cider, enjoy!

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Ceviche

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Ceviche

This recipe is super easy, it requires ZERO cooking and only a few fresh ingredients.  We managed to throw ours together in a caravan before wandering up to the neighbours for a BBQ.  

Instead of heading to the supermarket to collect your plastic wrapped fish (where trevally can be $35/kilo!) consider catching your own. Not only does it give you a sense of achievement but you learn the ecological surroundings of the fish, its behaviours and what environment it is best caught.  If we only take what we need – there is no waste! 

Ingredients:
Fresh, sustainably sourced fish (Trevally and Kingfish are best for raw dishes)
3/4 can Coconut cream
1/2 a Red onion
1 x Green capsicum
1 x Fresh Chilli (you can use chilli flakes but fresh is best)
1 x Lime / Lemon
A handful of Coriander & cracked pepper to taste.

Method:
Clean/fillet your fish and slice into thin strips
Squeezed lemon, cover at least 90% of your fish
Chop all your dry ingredients into small bits
Throw it all into a bowl and cover with the coconut cream, make sure all the ingredients are completely soaked in cream with a small amount of leftover liquid around the bottom.
Get your hands in there and toss the ingredients around until everything is mixed nicely.
Season with cracked pepper and coriander

Grab our Gerwurz IPA or Southern Alps IPA and you’ll be the star of your summer barbie!

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Five easy weekend getaways from Auckland

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Five easy weekend getaways from Auckland

A stone's throw
from Auckland


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Great Barrier Island

Head to the largest island in the Auckland region, great forests, beaches and bays providing scope for all kinds of wilderness adventures. The flights aren’t too expensive and can be considered an experience in itself.


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Wine tasting on Waiheke Island

The ultimate island retreat with its many vineyards and wineries, only a 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland. Rent a bike and discover everything Waiheke has to offer!


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Bay of islands

The turquoise waters of the bay and its 150 undeveloped islands is bound to provide you with that holiday feeling. There are tones of things to do, including incredible boat tours and water sports.


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Coromandel

With some of the North Island’s best white-sand beaches and amazing walking tracks, there is somthing for everyone. Only 2 hours drive from Auckland, you will find yourself enjoying the splendid isolation in no time.


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Surfing in Raglan

New Zealand’s most famous surfing town is known for its relaxed atmosphere.  Cool down in the waves after spending time on the beautiful black sand beaches.  If you don’t feel like surfing, you can hike Mount Karioi (an ancient volcano), which has amazing views on a clear day (you might even see Mt Taranaki!).

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