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.

Moa Brewing will be at GABS Again This Year!

Moa Brewing will be at GABS Again This Year!

After the success of The Great Australian Beer Festival (GABS) last year, Moa plans to return to the festival. Here is a bit of a Q&A from the guys.

Why be in Australia?

Australia is a huge beer market. It’s close to NZ, so relatively inexpensive to freight product to, compared to the US or Europe. And the craft beer market is growing by the day, with demand for both local and international beers expanding.

What’s Moa’s goal?

We want to be a successful brewery, producing good beers, which are known for being NZ made, by a NZ owned brewery. We want to be successful in the craft beer world, however, success is defined in a lot of ways, and the best part of our industry, is no two breweries are producing the same beer, or have the same aspirations, or even business model. So as much as some in the craft industry want us all to be under the “craft” banner, it’s important for all of us to accept we operate differently, with different strategies and goals. Our competition is not each other. It’s probably other less complex or machine made beers.

How big is Moa?

We have approx. 25 staff, and this year will produce in excess of 5 million bottles of beer. We have keg beer (draught), sessionable or gateway beers, bottle conditioned “bigger” beers and very complex reserve beers which are unique to Moa, and very well received. And a very popular apple cider. Our brewer also produces limited release beers regularly, pushing the boundaries of flavour and ingredients.

What do we think of the craft beer market in Australia?

Melbourne leads the pack. Its very like our Wellington scene, with a sophisticated audience, and a large number of breweries supplying the market. Sydney and Brisbane are on fire with the growth of craft venues. And each state is very parochial regarding their local breweries. It’s still a hot country, and a lot of beer is drunk as it always has, to quench the thirst after a bloody hard day. Not all craft suits this drinker, but increasingly the number of beer drinkers with a “bigger” palate are turning to craft.

How is the retail environment different from NZ?

We can sell in our supermarkets. Over here, your supermarket players own liquor outlets. However, both counties have 2 dominant players in these spaces, and the balance of retail outlets fight out for the rest of the market. Aussie beer is expensive compared to NZ too, with most of that related to tax.

Who runs Moa?

Geoff Ross, our CEO, with support from Gareth Hughes, our GM. These guys worked together at 42Below, and have been together at Moa since Geoff and some mates, plus another private equity business bought into Moa in 2009. Geoff is very brand, marketing and product focussed, and also has a big workload around investors and compliance as we are a listed company. Gareth is sales, sales, sales. These guys complement each other really well, and Moa’s growth over the last 6 years is thanks to their combined efforts largely.

What’s a Cicerone?

Good question. Josh Scott, our founder, has quite a cool history in craft beer, and last year decided to pursue becoming a Cicerone. It’s basically a professor of beer. Really hard exams, practical tests and a huge knowledge of the brewing process is expected. He was the first Cicerone in NZ and second in Australasia… we are very proud of him.


We are paid to be at it. No, that’s a lie. It costs us a lot, but it’s an outstanding event to showcase what Moa does, and who we are. Breweries are not just the product, but also the people, and how the business conducts itself. We also meet other really enthusiastic brewers and of course, its probably the best way of getting consumer feedback on our product and brand. Last year we had a ball, with punters 3 deep for 3 days, with many laughs and friendships made. So who wouldn’t want to be there again!!

What beer will be be serving?

From our Classic Range:

  • Moa Original Lager
  • Moa Session Pale Ale

From our Estate Range:

  • Moa Methode Pilsner
  • Moa South Pacific IPA
  • Moa Blanc - Wheat Lager

From our Reserve Range:

  • Moa Southern Alps - White IPA
  • Moa St Josephs - Belgian Tripel
  • Moa Five Hop - English Ale
  • Moa Imperial Stout - Oak Aged Stout Ale

From our Special Reserve (limited release) Range:

  • Moa Festive IPA - Red Edition
  • Moa Tripel Sauvignon - Belgian Tripel, 2014 Vintage
  • Moa Cherry Sour - Fruit Lambic, 2013 Vintage
  • Moa Sour Blanc - Belgian Style Lambic, 2012 Vintage
  • Moa Sour Blanc - Belgian Style Lambic, 2013 Vintage
  • Moa Feijoa Sour - 2015 Festival Beer

What’s this about your festival beer?

We will be producing a beer exclusive to the GABS festival - a Feijoa Sour!
Unmistakably Feijoa and sour, this unfiltered Belgian-Style Fruit Lambic was fermented and conditioned in used barrels for 8 months. The fruit (at over 100g per litre) was harvested from Moa Head Brewer David Nicholls' land and added at the start of ferment (no Feijoa skin tannin characters as all fruit was skinned/de-hulled by hand). A wheat beer base wort pitched with David's house blend of yeast and bacteria, including lactobacillus, peddiococci, Brettanomyces and three other yeast strains, two of which were wild yeasts sourced from David's vineyard. A labour of love, for the love of beer.



When we were searching the National Library of New Zealand’s archives for images of people engaged in recognizable and uniquely Kiwi pursuits from an era that also referenced our traditional brewing technique to feature on our new-look 6 and 12-packs we not only found some cool pictures, we also uncovered some cool stories that in some cases were at risk of being forgotten.

For example, the great-grandson of Sammy Turner who made the first ascent of Mt Cook alone in 1919, and claimed the world record for skipping in 1911, was unaware of his great-grandad’s achievements. He now knows his family’s remarkable connection with one of our country’s most iconic mountains because we tracked him down and asked him for his family’s permission to feature Sammy on our new Session Pale Ale 6 and 12-packs. True story.

The whole process got us thinking about how many other stories have been, or are at risk of being, forgotten over time. The stories we uncovered also reminded us that New Zealand is the way it is, and New Zealanders are the way we are, because of those adventurous, innovative, hard-working and determined pioneers who helped shape our country and our unique identity and approach to life.

Given our country’s relatively young history but rapid development, it is easy to forget about the many achievements both big and small that have been accomplished in the short space of time since New Zealand was first inhabited.

So we’re hoping that if we share a few stories of our own and provide a platform for other Kiwis to share their own stories we might just be able to uncover a few more gems and insights into what it means to live in New Zealand and be a New Zealander.

There’s no particular reason for doing this, it’s not a competition or anything. Who knows where it will all end up, but if nothing else it’s a good reminder to share a beer with your family and learn a little bit more about family history.

To read these stories and to share your own visit