Thursday, May 28, 2009

Farmhouse Lager?

Moa Brewing Company is doing an interesting thing up in Marlborough (The epicenter of New Zealand's wine culture). It was founded by the son of a wine making family, who was himself full of wine making knowledge. Moa bottle conditions their beer (adds sugar and yeast to the beer before putting it in bottles, thus allowing carbonation to build in the sealed bottles), but they bottle condition with wine yeast. What this does to their beers is quite interesting. Their three flagship beers, Original, Noir, and Blanc all have a yeasty funkiness to them. This is something common in belgian beers, which are all bottle conditioned, but the Moa funk is quite unique.

It is my expert opinion that this interesting use of bottle conditioning with wine yeast in their Original means they have created a new style of beer. I call it Farmhouse Lager, as the beer is made like a lager but demonstrates a lot of the belgian farmhouse qualities that I mentioned in my review of the Original. I will post my beeradvocate reviews of the Blanc and Noir bellow. Again, the complexity of the beer has lent itself to rather lengthy reviews so they are posted as written on the site:

Moa Noir:

375 ml bottle poured into a glass mug.

A: Deep mahogany with a one and a half inch tan head. Leaves lacing down the glass.

S: Sour funk takes a back seat on this one. Darker malts take the lead, lending both a roasted coffee like quality to the nose, and a sweet dark fruit and vanilla quality.

T: Again sourdough yeast is there but not upfront. Roasted bitterness and malty sweetness dominate. Coffee comes through as well. Yeast is there but only around the edges.

M: Medium body with crisp carbonation. Finish is clean but not as dry as the original and blanc.

D: The carbonation on these beers makes them awesomely drinkable.

Moa Blanc:

375 ml bottle poured into a glass mug.

A: Pours a hazy straw with one and a half inch white head and lots of carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass. Leaves some lacing down the glass.

S: Starts out with a lot of sour funk from the yeast. Followed by some fresh cut grass hay like notes. As the beer warms banana and coriander come through.

T: Raw grain, spicy hops, sour yeast. Finishes with a but of sweetness.

M: Crisp carbonation punctuates a lightish body. Wheat definitely comes through on the mouthfeel, lending to a dry finish.

D: Very nice. I like the house wine yeast funk that the two moa beers I have had so far feature quite prominently. The blanc was a bit less complex and lighter than the original but that almost makes it more drinkable.

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