New Zealand craft brewer Moa has taken home the overall Champion Beer Award, the highest award for individual beer, with their Southern Alps White IPA at the NZ Beer Awards.

Officially entered as a Pale-American-Belgo-style ale, the beer is a perfect marriage between a Belgian Wit and an American Strong Pale Ale.

Moa’s Head Brewer David Nicholls first brewed the White IPA in 2013 as a one-off for Nelson-based MarchFest and because of its popularity, the beer quickly became a full-time member of the Moa Range.

“We are both humbled and excited to make what was judged the best beer at the awards. It’s in the exact same format and the same brew that consumers can buy off the shelf right now,” Nicholls said.

Brewed with Vienna and Pale Wheat malts and dry hopped with a blend of Nelson Sauvin, Citra, USA Comet and German Hallertau Blanc hops, the Southern Alps White IPA has a strong citrus and lemongrass aroma. Its depth of complex flavour comes from the use of Belgian ale yeast and coriander for spicing.

The White IPA also won a gold trophy in the US Ale category along the overall Champion award and Moa couldn’t be more thrilled.

Executive Chairman of Moa, Geoff Ross said, “winning an award like this is testament to our great team and expertise lead by David. It’s also a reflection of the momentum that Moa has in the market at the moment.”

Moa has shown leadership in craft brewing for 15 years and say the secret to success is being agile as consumer drinking habits change and evolve.

David Nicholls commented, “Currently, we are seeing a continued trend for Kiwis to drink less but better beer and move away from the idea that one beer will fit with all occasions.”

“As consumers are becoming more educated about the beer they drink they are looking for more variety and while the hop flavour is on trend right now, we predict that beers with traditionally low abv like Summer Ales, Milds and Berliner Weisse will become more popular.” USA Comet and German Hallertau Blanc

“The challenge is to expand on ranges of beer that are regularity consumed and educate consumers on what good fresh beer tastes like,” Nicholls said.

In addition to winning the overall award, Moa Brewing Company scooped the following awards:

Champion US Ale-Moa Southern Alps White IPA
European Ale-Silver Moa Sour Blanc
European Ale-Bronze Moa Cherry Sour
European Ale-Bronze Moa St Josephs Belgium Tripel
Pale Ale-Bronze Moa Station IPA
Flavoured-Bronze-Moa Milk Chocolate Stout
Flavoured-Bronze-Moa Espresso Milk Chocolate Stout
Cider and Perry-bronze-Moa Cider-Apple