My Uncle John grew up working for his Dad clearing the bush clad Bombay Hills of scrub and gorse. This was during the early 1940s so there were always Air Force planes buzzing overhead as they traveled to and from Ardmore on training flights.

With nothing much else going on, Uncle John decided he would rather be an Air Force Pilot than a scrub cutter.  So he applied for the New Zealand Air Force and was promptly turned down. Then he applied for the Australian Air Force and was turned down again. But rather than give up he said “Bugger these useless bastards, I’ll try my hand with the Poms”

So he hitched a ride to Auckland , got on a freight ship to Europe and, due to some miscommunication, found himself stranded in northeast Italy. Luckily a couple of nuns from a local convent took him in for a few days, and then with no other options he stuck out a thumb and hitched to England where he applied and eventually got in to the RAF.  

Fast forward a few years and Uncle John was an RAF Fighter Pilot for 66 Squ6adron at Linton on Ouse, flying Sabres and Hawker Hunters.  He flew jet fighters in combat all over the world.

After retiring from the Air Force he became a captain for Cathy Pacific who were quite keen on hiring ex-fighter pilots to fly their Jumbos into Hong Kong when you still had to dodge buildings to get to the runway. 

He truly loved flying, and when he returned to New Zealand in 1982 the first thing he did was build his own plane so he could go to any fishing spot he wanted to without having to dick around on a boat.

This picture of him was taken in the Christmas Islands. He flew there, and caught this shark and GT. 

I thought he looked like Roger Moore.
He was a cool guy.





This Mexican beer cocktail is the perfect balance between salty, sour, spicy, bitter and umami flavours, creating a refreshing drink.  Great any day of the week, especially if your feeling a little under the weather. 


Equal parts tomato juice & Moa Original

1 Tsp of Lucky Taco Jalapeno hot sauce or more if you like it hot.

½ Tsp of Worcestershire sauce

½ Tsp of Soy sauce

Juice of half a lemon &lime

Serve over ice with a stick of celery

Moa Beer Michelada




For those who have been waiting, it’s back. For those who are yet to experience one of our Festive IPA limited releases – we have a new reason for you to give it a nudge. Head Brewer David Nicholls has ramped up our highly popular limited release Festive IPA brew yet again, this time with a Belgian twist and more hops.

The new Festive IPA (Belgian Edition) comes close to 80 IBU, stepping up the stakes in subtle mouth-numbing bitterness and bold hop aromas and flavours. With a distinctive royal purple and bronze label, the third installment of the Festive IPA series swaps American yeast for Belgian and sports a fusion of American and Belgian styles. Belgian qualities come from the Belgian Ale yeast, known for its fruity and spicy flavours, whilst the complementary American hops Citra and Amarillo used for aromatics bring a light and very drinkable American influence.

“As the third evolution of the Festive IPA brews, the Belgian Edition satisfies the beer believer’s need for a classic, strong hoppy beer that also excites the palette with complex fruity and spicy characters,” David says.

Tasting notes:

American style India Pale Ale fermented with a Belgian ale yeast. Hopped with Columbus for bittering, late hopped with Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra, and dry hopped with Citra and Amarillo, citrus (tangelo) and pine resin characters feature in this hop dominant IPA. At 75-80 IBU your mouth will be left comfortably numb, making it the perfect beer for the mid-winter festive season..


  • Limited to 750 cases (12x500ml).
  • Available at leading craft beer outlets, selected New World, Pak n’ Save, Four Square, FreshChoice supermarkets nationwide, selected Liquorland and independent bottle stores nationwide, and selected craft beer bars nationwide. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details. 

About the Festive IPA series:

Our first Festive IPA (later named the Green Edition), was launched to coincide with the New Zealand Christmas/Summer Festive season in 2014, with pine-like hop characters to mirror the scent of freshly cut Christmas trees and embrace fond festive memories. The first release was a runaway success and with countless requests for more, David then created the Red Edition, an American IPA with smooth, caramel aromas from the medley of malts used. All-or-nothing American, the yeast used was American Ale yeast, and the hops used were all from America too. The Green Edition sat at about 70 IBU then the Red came in at 75 IBU.


After giving it a lot of thought we made the tough decision not to make the annual pilgrimage to Wellington for Beervana this year. Beervana is an amazing event for the beer community in New Zealand and we have always really enjoyed the opportunities it provides to meet and talk to new and old beer enthusiasts, sample and sell our range of beers to new and old Moa supporters, and generally enjoy and help foster the growing enthusiasm for a movement towards better beer in New Zealand.

But you can’t do everything all of the time and after exhibiting at the Great Kiwi Beer Festival, Marchfest, Taste of Sydney and GABS Melbourne earlier this year, along with GABS Sydney and Fieldays for the first time as well as putting on a series of Grape vs Grain wine and beer gourmet food matching dinners across the country, we’ll be giving Beervana a miss this year.

We’re planning on being back at Beervana again next year and have some great ideas about what we’d like to do, but for the time being we’ll be focusing on some other exciting projects (and new beers) we have got on the boil.


- Josh, David and the team at Moa



A hark back to brewing the way it was 7,000 years ago has seen Moa Brewing Co. take away three awards for its sour beers at the Australian International Beer Awards in Melbourne last night.

Moa’s Sour Grapes 2014 Vintage and Cherry Sour 2013 Vintage each scored a silver in the 'Other Belgian/French Style Ale' category to pip offers from Italy to the US and even China. Moa’s Sour Blanc 2012 Vintage was then awarded a bronze in the 'Best Belgian/French Style Ale' section otherwise dominated exclusively by Belgian beers. 

A further six gongs were tallied up across the evening via variants from the brewery’s diverse range, totaling nine awards across the evening.

The AIBA, conducted by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), is the largest annual beer competition in the world assessing both packaged and draught beer. 

Sour beers have an intentionally acidic and tart taste to them, made by allowing wild or naturally occurring yeast strains into the brew.  The result is most akin to how beer was brewed naturally some 7,000 years ago.

“We’ve been working on our sour program for six years now, and we’re really pleased at how the beers have developed over the last few years in particular.  With sours being the hot category in the US craft scene right now, it’s fantastic to get some kudos that we’re delivering some world class beers,” says head brewer David Nicholls.

New Zealand brewer’s growing reputation for excellence was highlighted by ParrotDog, Epic, Lion and DB picking up trophies, with ParrotDog also picking up the title of Champion Small International Brewery.

The full Moa medal haul is as follows:

  • Silver - Moa Sour Grapes 2014 Vintage (Other Belgian/French style Ale)
  • Silver - Moa Cherry Sour 2013 (Other Belgian/French style Ale)
  • Silver - Moa Southern Alps White IPA (Best Wheat Beer)
  • Silver - Moa Rum Barrel Quad (Wood Aged - Best Specialty Beer) 
  • Bronze - Moa Original Lager (Best Australian Style Lager)
  • Bronze - Moa South Pacific IPA (Intl. Pale Ale) 
  • Bronze - Moa Festive IPA Red Edition (American Style - Best IPA) 
  • Bronze - Moa Sour Blanc 2012 Vintage (Best Belgian/French style Ale)
  • Bronze - Moa Tripel Sauvignon 2014 Vintage (Other Specialty Beer)

The full list of winners can be found by clicking here.



Josh Scott is not your typical winemaker. It is not often that a person qualified in viticulture absconds to the Napa Valley by way of France to study winemaking techniques and returns with intel that he uses to create premium beer.


It is also not every day that someone who has dedicated their life to alcohol completes six Coast to Coast multisport races, the most recent of which was clocked just last month (placing him 20th overall in the competition).


And it is even more unlikely to somehow manage to train for these multisport races and concurrently sample 1,000 beers from all around the world in a bid to become New Zealand’s first qualified Cicerone (a Sommelier of the beer world).


But that’s exactly what Josh Scott did and has done.


When Josh Scott laid down his first commercial brew on 13 June 2003, Moa Brewing Co. was born.  Back then you could count the number of craft breweries in New Zealand on one hand.  Now there are over 100 and growing by the week.


The son of renowned Marlborough winemaker Allan Scott, Josh’s interest in all things liquid can be traced back much further than his wine studies and subsequent travels to a bootleg wine/raro mix operation he was running out of boarding school. Back then he was the go-to for rocket-fuelled party starters that impressed his comrades based on potency rather than palette.  And it appears Josh is even more surprised than his Dad to fast forward to 2015 and find himself responsible for the 13-year strong Moa Brewing Co., with  its focus on producing super premium handcrafted beers that (following his qualifications in winemaking) have at their roots a winemaker’s approach to brewing.


Moa’s Estate and Reserve range of beers are 100 per cent bottle conditioned. This is a secondary fermentation in bottle in line with the way Champagne is made. This traditional technique naturally carbonates the beer (rather than adding CO2 like you do with a SodaStream maker), significantly enhances shelf life and longevity, creates dynamic and complex flavours that change over time (like a good wine), and gives the brews an elegant, champagne-like mouth feel.


Today Josh is at the forefront of the craft scene, and is the only qualified Certified Cicerone in New Zealand.


The Cicerone program was developed in 2010 as a way to recognise the complexities and extent of the beer market in much the same way as professional sommeliers and the ‘Master of Wine’ program has.


Growing up in a winemaking family, Josh was no stranger to the term ‘Master of Wine’, a three year study and gruelling course based out of London.  When his friends in brewing circles began talking of the same deal for beer, called a Cicerone, his ears pricked up.  With three levels – a Certified Beer Server, Certified Cicerone and a Master Cicerone – the mix of theory, tasting and education hones in on what makes a good beer good, then uses that knowledge to improve all facets of the beer-drinking experience.


Studying for a full year before having the nous to reach his certification, Josh has already been tested on everything from the proper way to pour a beer to the anatomy of a hop plant. About 3,500 people have passed the beer server exam (level 1), and only 200 (a 30 per cent pass rate) have achieved the Certified Cicerone status he sat in January, where he gained a 99 per cent score in the tasting section. 


“I tasted some 1,000 beers in the lead up to the exam, forking out hundreds of dollars per week importing exotic beers from all corners of the world and tasting, photographing and documenting my own personal notes in anticipation of the blind tasting. It was of course Murphy’s Law that the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale that tripped me up from scoring a perfect 100 in the tastings was what I call my epiphany beer, the one that propelled me to pursue brewing in the first place,” says Scott.


Perfect scores aside, Josh is excited to continue the program and become one of only a dozen beer wizards worldwide who have made the cut as a Master — a person who can legitimately claim to know almost all there is about various beer styles, proper serving procedures, beer pairings and the rest.


“Beer’s not just for guzzling.  The Master Cicerone will be my driver for 2015. My biggest strength is my palate and thankfully this has the largest weighting in the Masters.  Although the stakes are as high as the fail rate, on the plus side, it’s not every day that you’re encouraged to drink in class,” he finishes.


Josh will sit the final Cicerone Master test in November.

About Cicerone

The Cicerone Certification Program certifies and educates beer professionals in order to elevate the beer experience for consumers.

Founded by Ray Daniels in August 2007, the Cicerone Certification Program was initiated to identify those with significant knowledge and professional skills in beer sales and service. As the wine world has their designated expert term, “sommelier”, beer expertise can now be recognised by Cicerone certification.

The Cicerone program has three levels as follows:


1. Certified Beer Server

A 60-question multiple choice exam, administered online requiring competent knowledge of beer storage and service issues as well as modest knowledge of beer styles and culture.


2. Certified Cicerone®

A written exam with short answer and essay questions, a tasting session and a demonstration component. Those who reach this certification have a deep and well-rounded knowledge of beer and beer service as well as competence in assessing beer quality and identity by taste. They have excellent knowledge of modern beers and styles, beer history and historical styles. They also have good understanding of beer ingredients and familiarity with the variations of brewing processes plus knowledge of beer pairing principles and the ability to recommend reasonable beer pairings for common foods.


3. Master Cicerone

The certification for Master Cicerones includes a two-day examination including multiple written, oral and tasting components. The written component consists of essay questions to demonstrate the depth and breadth of their knowledge in each section of the Master Syllabus.  Oral examinations are conducted by industry experts and often involve hands-on demonstrations of knowledge. Taste assessments will include sampling a broad range of off-flavours, blind assessment of beer styles and advanced assessment of beer acceptance.

Those who attain this final Cicerone certification possess widespread knowledge of beer and highly refined tasting ability. Master Cicerones® demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of all issues related to brewing, beer and beer service. A Master Cicerone must have theoretical and hands-on knowledge of draft systems and a mastery of beer styles by engaging in advanced tasting experience and also food-pairing practice. They are able to describe beer flavours using specific terms that accurately describe its full range of flavour.