To be clear, I don’t usually drink beer first thing in the morning. My before-noon beverages tend toward the caffeinated variety, with perhaps a mimosa on Sunday. But beer? With breakfast?
At least, that’s what I thought before last weekend’s Downtown Brew Festival. The Motley Brews-produced bash featured more than 40 breweries serving over 150 lagers, stouts and IPAs to a crowd of locals at the Clark County Amphitheater. And while late October would seem the perfect time to roll out some heavier pours, an unseasonably warm day had me gravitating toward lighter brews. My favorite of the bunch: Moa’s Breakfast Beer.
You could be forgiven if you’ve never heard of Moa. Unlike most of the local and regional breweries that set up shop at the Downtown fest, Moa hails from far, far away in Marlborough, New Zealand. Established in 2003 by Kiwi brewer Josh Scott, Moa says, on its website, that it makes beer the old-fashioned way, with fresh, local ingredients; the same water used to make all that yummy Marlborough wine (“and put out house fires”); and winemaking techniques like barrel aging and bottle fermentation and conditioning. As the site’s “process” section notes: “There’s a big difference between brewing and manufacturing, which is something most breweries have forgotten. Because they’re dicks.”
Beyond creating clever web pages, Moa makes some damn tasty beer. The company produces 10 brews—ranging from the Noir dark lager to the Five Hop Winter Ale—and two ciders. And yes, it makes Breakfast Beer. Still wondering what the hell that means? Okay fine, I’ll tell you. Moa Breakfast is a wheat-based lager that’s crisp and epically drinkable. It’s brightly carbonated with a light hint of fruit—cherries, they say—and it’s nothing like the cloyingly sweet fruit beers that I’ve taken to avoiding. The brewery suggests pairing it with croissants and berries and serving it at 4 degrees Celsius (in Fahrenheit, that means cold). And while the beer is called Breakfast and could certainly finds its way next to my morning paper, it would also make a perfect drink to cut through the heat of a summer afternoon in Las Vegas. Still I think the original name fits it best. Afternoon Beer just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Moa Breakfast is available at Whole Foods, $21.99 for a pack of four 375 ml bottles.