Moa – Totally not extinct, it is centre stage in Project Silver
Tuesday, 03 April 2018 11:40

I only follow cricket occasionally – but that occasion happens to be “pretty much whenever it is on.” Like millions around the globe I have been reading more and more details about “sandpaper-gate”, and the subsequent bans for two world-class cricketers, and Colin Bancroft.

Here is the whole story to date – Australian vice-captain David Warner decided they needed to scuff up the cricket ball to obtain the elusive reverse swing. Australian captain Steven Smith amazingly agreed. Australian rookie batsman Colin Bancroft was given the job of actually doing the dirty deed on the field with a piece of sandpaper.

Unsurprisingly, he was caught out by the approximately 28 televisions cameras around the ground. When confronted by the umpires who had viewed the big screen footage of him clearly rubbing the ball with a yellow foreign item (sandpaper) he did what any rational person would do – he stuffed the offending yellow item in his underpants (also on camera), then showed the umpires his black sunglasses case apparently thinking he would then escape scot free. [1]

The umpires were not fooled and neither were the rest of the cricketing world. However, the real irony is that the umpires decided not to change the ball or award bonus runs to England (the usual penalty for ball tampering) because the condition of the ball had not actually been changed.

Basically, the key lesson here is that the only thing worse than cheating in sport is cheating but not having any effect on the match. It has however had an effect on Australian cricket – Warner, Smith and Bancroft have been suspended from Australian cricket, and the India Premier League has banned Smith and Warner from their lucrative contracts captaining two of the top teams. [2]

Now, I know that Steven Smith is one of the best batsmen in history – which is amazing because he started as a leg-spinner who could bat a bit. Cameron Bancroft, until this incident, was most famous for claiming he had the “hardest head” in Western Australia. David Warner is... David Warner. I gained international press coverage for my beloved “David Warner Likes Nickelback” sign at the Westpac Stadium and subsequent Twitter mini feud with Mr Warner. Suffice to say I feel slightly vindicated today.

Also feeling vindicated is Colin the Handsome yet Softly Spoken Scottish Proprietor of Malthouse. Late in 2017, he came up with the preposterous idea of holding a beer launch and tap takeover from a different brewery every month in 2018 to celebrate 25 years of the Malty being in business. It was called “The Silver Project” as that precious metal is the traditional gift for 25 year anniversaries.

The Silver Project has been an outstanding success with launches from Liberty, Emerson’s and Tuatara so far. Next up to the crease is Moa Brewing Company. I first met Moa when it was just a fledgling – a small company making beers using crazy methods usually reserved for champagne. The bottles were even corked and the brews had a distinctive fizz and bite. I was smitten.

When I later visited the small Moa brewery I saw the bottling machine that was the key to this process. It looked like it was from Italy in the 1940s and had the unfortunate side effect of smashing an alarmingly high percentage of bottles. Moa went on to expand dramatically and the champagne style dropped away, but they did become one of the leaders in barrel aging.

The Project Silver – Operation Moa event will be held on 7 April 2018 at – surprise, surprise - Malthouse. Here is the line up:

Moa Kiwi Fruit Sour – This is a Malthouse exclusive beverage. Moa have long loved to play with the iconic Kiwi Fruit and now has it in a sour beer. I expect to see some very surprised faces on people trying this for the first time.

On the fruit theme there will also be Moa Apple Cider and Moa Rhubarb Cider (which also contains lots of apples as well).

Making a rare appearance on tap is the Moa Dry Hopped Pilsner which uses a blend of German (Mandarina) and Kiwi (Motueka) hops. There is only one keg of this fruity, quenching lager. For the record – it is a small keg.

Moa has dramatically and successfully extended their range of pale ales despite some industry pundits predicting (or perhaps wishing) for this styles demise. Moa Station IPA is a full bodied fruity pale ale. Moa Festive Pine IPA is a stronger American style ale. The list of hops is incredible and just made me drool on the keyboard. The brewers note it has “been hopped with Columbus, Simcoe, Citra, Amarillo and Sorachi Ace, hop-back jammed with Nelson Sauvin and dry hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Sorachi Ace.” It is fruity, spicy and beguiling.

I am intrigued by the Moa Denali Hop Swop IPA because it uses an experimental American hop variety. Expect pineapple, citrus and surprise with this one. Moa Greenback APA is also in the US style and actually made its debut at the 2014 Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge. [3] There are five types of hops balanced out by a firm malt base. It showcases distinct notes of pine and citrus.

Moa Southern Alps IPA takes its inspiration from a very different part of the world – Belgium. It is brewed with Belgian ale yeast and coriander which produces a hazy beer with notes of orange, spice and funk. Also inspired by those crazy Belgian brewers, Moa St Josephs Tripel is a strong (9.5%) Abbey style brew characterised as spicy, sweet and strong. Many tasters have reported notes of raisin and clove, and agree that the alcohol is very well hidden so be careful with this saint. In addition, there is only one keg of this heavenly libation.

Far less holy is the Moa Imperial Stout for this is the bad boy of the Moa range. It is 10.2% alcohol and not in the least bit sorry about that fact. It is a very strong stout aged in French Oak barrels which as a result unleashes notes of oak, chocolate, coffee and spice.

I left my favourite Moa beer until last - Moa Perris Sky Juice IPA. This won the Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge in 2016 and has been in production ever since. Rightly so in my opinion. I stand by my tasting notes from the judging:

“This beer is clear and frankly very pretty in the glass. The aroma is like getting smacked in the face with a sack of sweet Valencia oranges. It is juicy and full, with a late ambush of hop bitterness. Dear fellow judges – we chose wisely.”

Next time we drink to not having Easter opening hours.

[1] Also known as the “Carol Hirschfeld Defence”.

[2] When the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) thinks you have acted unethically then you are in real trouble. That is only two steps removed from FIFA calling you corrupt.

[3] A staggering number of Challenge beers have gone on to become commercially successful.


Neil Miller

Beer Writer

Cuisine Magazine

TheShout Magazine

DrinksBiz Magazine


Project Silver – Operation Moa -

Malthouse Facebook -

Malthouse Twitter –!/malthouse

Malthouse Taps on Twitter –!/MalthouseTaps

Neil Miller on Twitter –!/beerlytweeting