New Zealand craft brewer Moa has scooped up the highest award at the NZ Beer Awards. The brands Southern Alps IPA took out the overall Champion Beer Award for its perfect marriage between a Belgian Wit and an American Strong Pale Ale.

The winning beer was only initially crafted as a one-off for Nelson-based festival MarchFest, but quickly became a permanent fixture due to the beers overwhelming popularity. “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,” said David Nicholls, Head Brewer at Moa.

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.

“Winning an award like this is a 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,” added Geoff Ross, executive chairman of Moa.

In addition to their recent win, Moa has also scooped awards across the globe with the brand winning a flurry of awards in the US and Europe.

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