Every once in a blue moon, a beer is brewed that takes the world by storm.
This is the story of a beer called Blue Moon, which has had just such an effect.
Since its inception, Blue Moon has been an inspiration and lightning rod in the beer industry, but despite its romanticization, Blue Moon and Keith Villa, its creator, have earned an indelible place in beer.
What Type of Beer is Blue Moon
The Blue Moon recipe is based on a Belgian White, or wit in Flemish, and was created by Keith Villa. Upon earning his Ph.D. in brewing at the University of Brussels in Belgium, Villa returned to the United States inspired by European beers, particularly Belgian wheat beers.
A Belgian wit is a classic wheat beer brewed with white wheat malt and Belgian yeast. Belgian yeast provides a unique spicy pepper character and a sparkling citrus flavor.
Traditionally, these beers were pale in color, and were described as white compared to other beers available, hence the name Belgian wit or white. In addition to flavor, these ales could be considered heavy beer compared to lagers.
They have a creamy mouthfeel from the use of oats and white wheat.
Wits don’t use a ton of hops but may have added spices like coriander or dried citrus peel.
In Blue Moon’s case, they promote the use of Valencia Orange peel which offers the beer subtle sweetness compared to the more commonly used bitter Curacao peel and coriander for spice. Belgian White Ales are traditionally unfiltered, giving them a hazy appearance, something the normal American beer drinker was unfamiliar with when Blue Moon hit the beer scene.
The orange garnish is not common with traditional Belgian white. Villa got the idea to garnish his Belgian Style wheat ale with an orange peel from the practice of garnishing German hefeweizen with a lemon wedge. Using the orange slice helped make Blue Moon a commercial success and added a subtle sweetness and a hint of citrus aroma to the beer.
Blue Moon Tasting Notes
Blue Moon is an American version of the classic Belgian style wheat beer. It uses white wheat, which accents the orange character. Blue moon tastes heavier than a light beer with a noticeable citrus character and just a hint of spice for the use of coriander in the brewing process.
Blue Moon will have a slightly creamy texture, but is definitely restrained to appeal to light beer drinkers.
Orange citrus to go with the slightly fruity flavor characteristics, the low spice from the coriander and yeast.
Blue Moon has a slight haze in line with the style. It is challenging to keep yeast in suspension, especially when the beer is pasteurized, so the haze may be artificially added or mainly seen as a slight sludge at the bottom of a bottle.
Blue Moon Calories and Nutritional info
Blue Moon Alcohol (ABV)
History: When Was Blue Moon Released?
Blue Moon was first released in 1995 and was brewed at the Sand Lot Brewery inside Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The site was the place for many experimental beers brewed by Coors, including a peanut butter ale that required jars of Jiff Peanut Butter.
What Do Other People Think of Blue Moon?
The beer ratings site, Beer Advocate, rates Blue Moon with a 78 out of a possible 100 score, good enough to be called “Okay.” It should be noted that despite the Beer Advocate score, sales-wise, Blue Moon is an incredibly successful and popular beer, and the Blue Moon Brewing Company website states that you can find Blue Moon beers in over 25 countries worldwide.
Is All Blue Moon Belgian White?
When Keith Villa created Blue Moon, he was inspired by his time in Belgium and sought to create a beer like the Belgian witbiers he enjoyed during his time there. Blue Moon is marketed as a Belgian White but is similar to traditional Belgian witbiers.
Despite Blue Moon not being a true Belgian White, it has garnered international awards for its flagship beer. Namely, it won silver and gold medals at the World Beer Championship as recently as 2017, and its Honey Moon ale, brewers with American yeast earned a gold medal at the World Beer Cup in 2008.
The Best Way To Drink Blue Moon
Traditionally speaking, beers do not need garnishes and the use of garnishes has its roots more in marketing than proper drinking. European bartenders popularized the slice of lemon for hefeweizens, Corona isn’t Corona without a lime wedge, ever the savvy marketer, Villa saw an opportunity to turn Blue Moon from a regionally popular beer to an international sensation with an orange slice.
Do you need to garnish a good beer? No, but for many beer drinkers, a Blue Moon isn’t a Blue Moon without it.
38 Degrees Fahrenheit
Draft, Bottle, Or Can?
The absolute best way to enjoy a Blue Moon Belgian White served with an orange is at the Sandlot Brewery during a Colorado Rockies game on a hot summer’s day. If you read anything to the contrary, Run!
Since Blue Moon was a division of Coors Brewing Company, the brand has changed hands over the years and is now under the control of Molson Coors Brewing Co. after the merger of the two North American companies, along with Miller. The quality of packaged Blue Moon has suffered with these changes, and the use of harsher pasteurization has dulled the citrus flavors and malt sweetness of Blue Moon. If you want to taste Blue Moon in all of its glory, go to the ballpark. Sand Lot Brewery still operates somewhat as black sheep to the rest of the multinational company. There the brewers can brew what they want – which is actually German lagers but still makes time to brew the best, unadulterated Blue Moon beer. The fact that the Rockies will probably lose won’t even affect the pure enjoyment of how this blue moon tastes on draft.
Blue Moon also built a brewery and restaurant not far from the ballpark that brews all types of beer you wouldn’t normally associate with the Blue Moon brand. I have not gone, but I hear they have a mack daddy tap system and serve tons of draft beer. It still isn’t as cool as savoring the delicate flavor and creamy body of a blue moon served at Coors Field with an orange slice garnish on a hot day.
Types Of Food To Pair With A Blue Moon
The complexity of Blue Moon, even as an Americanized version of an authentic Belgian Wit, has proven to be a dynamic and flexible companion to various foods. Miller Coors has worked hard to showcase the beer as a great food pairing. The slightly sweeter flavor characteristics, citrus notes, and cloudy appearance make Blue Moon an ideal beer for spicy food and Asian dishes.
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