A couple of weeks ago I reviewed Eagle Brewery’s RED IPA. In that review I mentioned the wide variety of IPA options that various breweries are coming up with these days. One variety mentioned was a Belgian Style IPA. Essentially this is an IPA brewed with Belgian yeast. Belgian yeast has a very distinct taste and to include it in an IPA changes the beer quite significantly. While off putting to some, others find it a very pleasant flavour. I enjoy the flavour when it is mild but find it pretty overwhelming when it comes through strong. Well funnily enough, after mentioning that two weeks ago, and then reviewing a traditional Belgian style abbey beer last week (delicious), I’ve come across a Belgian style IPA courtesy of Moa Brewing NZ.
Moa Brewing Company is based in Marlborough, New Zealand. While Marlborough is one of New Zealand’s most famous wine regions, Moa Brewing is all about delicious hand crafted beer. They launched in 2003 and have been going from strength to strength ever since. Most of Moa’s beers are bottle conditioned with yeast and sugar added to the brew just before bottling. This means their beers have a cloudy sediment at the bottom, nothing to worry about though, it all just adds to the magic.
Moa promote this beer as an American style IPA brewed with Belgian ale yeast. This little blurb points towards the beer being very bitter / very hoppy, with strong citrus, pine, and fruity notes. This will be followed by a distinctive after taste that comes from the Belgian yeast; off putting to some and delicious to others depending to how strong it comes through. In Moa’s St Joseph Belgium Tripel (yep, that’s right, what a name!) the yeast flavour comes through too strong for me. Other Belgians I’ve had were more balanced and truly delicious. Like Leffe’s Bruin. Yum.
Let’s see how this goes. It has the potential to be a great combination.
Price: $7.99 500mls
Alcohol content: 6.0%
Colour: Deep amber gold with plenty of bubbles and a lovely white frothy head.
Aroma: Strong hoppy smells of grapefruit and tropical fruit. More fruity than herbaceous.
Palate: Very hoppy but the hops are full of beautiful fruity bitterness. Reasonably fizzy. Really quite lovely.
Finish: As you swallow you can't miss the distinct Belgian yeast flavour profile coming through. It is beautifully balanced though and comes through quite sweet and not at all over powering. There is a slight sweet toffee like malt finish too. Big bitterness sticks to the roof of your mouth while the lovely sweetness swirls around your tongue and cheeks.
On the Chart: This festive Belgian IPA is pretty hoppy, probably more out towards the double IPA side of things, which you would expect with an American style IPA (APA). But the sweet yeast and toffee malts certainly add a nice complexity that mixes everything up. So we are well left and with a really great degree of complexity.
Conclusion: This is a really nice beer that has been well executed. The Belgian yeast is slightly milder than how it comes through in Moa's St Joseph, which for me is a positive thing. It's not too pungent. While it is quite a bitter beer the yeast and the malts provide a lovely contrast and everything fits together really nicely. If you like double IPAs or IPAs, and if you like the beers of Belgium, this is a really good combination. Good stuff Moa!