While on a wine tour in New Zealand I asked the tour operator if she would be willing to make a detour to MOA brewery, even though it was not on our itinerary. I had discovered a MOA beer at a local grocery in Picton and was curious about their other offerings. Tour Operator was very accommodating, offering to drop off anyone interested in MOA as a swap with Cloudy Bay, which was next door.  When we arrived at MOA the tour group polarized; boys got off at MOA, girls went on to Cloudy Bay.

Cliche, I know.

We sampled 5 beers and they were all great. Or so I remember. The boy-MOA faction was mostly 20’s and were fully focused on childish verbal sparring on our way to being drunk, so recording details on the beers was secondary. I did have sense enough to check the website of our local Home Depot sized liquor store to make sure I could get MOA at home.

Confirmed, continue with verbal sparring focus.

Back at home I have two friends who I consider to be the beer experts; they brew their own and  its always exceptional. Both are MIT educated and I like that they can apply all that knowledge to something fun like beer. By taste they can tell you the ingredients, the brewing method and sometimes what the brew-masters might have done to make the beer taste better. And they even put it in simple terms for a beer neophyte like me!


I was curious what they would think of the MOA selection; they liked.

  • The Breakfast, however oddly named, is the lightest and most refreshing of the lot. It has almost a floral smell and a very fruit taste, I would say cherry. The MIT crew describe it as a lager. Yeah, what they said.
  • The St. Josephs is a little more dense but still light. It also had a vaguely floral smell and definite fruity quality but it also registered some spice; I was getting pumpkin pie spices. The MIT crew call this a Belgian Tripel. Yeah, what they said.
  • The sledgehammer to the palate is of course the Imperial Stout. Holy crap, I’ve had steak and kidney pies that were less filling. When I poured it out it was jet black and smelled like espresso and chocolate next to a campfire. The taste is about that too; heavy chocolate, dark coffee,  raisin, a tiny bit of astringency I taste in molasses and something that tastes woody.

For someone who isn’t a beer person, I’m really enjoying  MOA. They have other varieties but unfortunately these are the only ones sold in Houston. I see a MOA scouting trip to my standby shoppes when I’m back in NYC.

MOA |  Specs Downtown | $5-6

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