With so many different beer brands, it can easily get a little overwhelming, and trying to find out a comprehensive overview of some of the lesser-known beers can become a bit of an ordeal, and quickly!
Every day there seems to be a new-fangled style of IPA, or a new brewer in the mix too! Well, thank goodness we’ve got the internet to show us the ropes.
Let’s get into one of the most loved and interesting beers that’s on the market currently!
Blue Moon is a brand of beers that is owned by the mother company MillerCoors and operates under the license of the Blue Moon Brewing Company.
Whilst there are a few iterations and different limited edition beers within the Blue Moon Brewing Company, their flagship beer is a timeless classic.
The Blue Moon Belgian White, also marketed to our Canadian friends as Belgian Moon.
As well as being a light and refreshing beer, it’s also won a number of awards for its unique flavor profile and distinctive taste.
In this article, we’re going to be getting into everything about the Blue Moon!
There’s so much to discover surrounding the brewing process, the history behind the brand itself, the different beers that have been released over the years, and much more to sink your teeth into!
Here at The Beer Chicks, we love an aromatic beer, and it’s been a joy finding out more about this classic yet unique Belgian-style beer.
So, What Exactly Is Blue Moon Beer?
Blue Moon is a brand of Belgian – style wheat-based beers that originate in Colorado and is owned by MillerCoors.
The Blue Moon Brewing Company has been operating since 1995 and creates a unique and interesting take on the classic Belgian Witbier that you’d typically find all over Europe.
You can find them on tap at many local bars, in cans, and sold in bottles, where it is imported throughout the world!
Along with the namesake beer- the Blue Moon Belgian White, there are two other mainstays within the Blue Moon rotation. These are Blue Moon Mango Wheat and Blue Moon Honey Wheat.
Whilst there are only three beers that have been steadily available in the Blue Moon wheelhouse, there have actually been a huge number of other beers that have been introduced to the line, in fact as many as 25 have come and gone since Blue Moon became a thing back in 1995.
Whilst there has been a great number of them, almost all have been limited edition, summer releases, or had a short life on the shelves of our stores.
History Of The Blue Moon Beer
This stunningly different and increasingly popular beer first came into being in the mid-nineties, brewed in Boulder, Colorado.
The Sandlot Brewery masterminded it for Molson Coors, the parent company of Blue Moon.
Interestingly, it was actually originally named Bellyside White rather than Blue Moon( hmm, I can’t imagine why they decided to go a different way with that marketing strategy…)
With the stylistic slice of orange for garnish and a light amber brew, it gained a lot of attention for its swish craft beer style designs and logo, and its unique flavor profile.
Created by Keith Villa at the Sandlot Brewery, the magical taste of the Blue Moon has won 6 awards from 1995 through 2008.
Villa is the founder and brewmaster extraordinaire that came up with Blue Moon’s beer.
Inspired by his university education spent down in Brussels, Belgium, Keith wanted to bring these light and refreshing versions of beer back to the United states, seeing the US as a perfect fit for our propensity for easy-to-drink lagers and ales.
And boy, was he right! Whilst there was much experimentation and trial and error, as there always is with product development, out of the many iterations came a true fan favorite.
Inspired by the baseball season that was in full swing, the beer was originally named ‘Bellyside White’.
However, later on, during a large tasting of the magnificent brew, a taster chimed in saying that a beer like this one only comes once in a blue moon.
A few tweaks on the branding and Blue Moon Belgian Style Wheat Ale was born!
The Blue Moon Brewing Company is a part of the imported and craft beer section of the MillerCoors corporation, and it is currently brewed in many places across the globe for freshness and zing, with the main brewery for the US still located in its home state of Colorado.
Across the world, Blue Moon’s eye-catching design and unique flavor profile are forever grabbing attention and delivering an unusual signature blend to the public.
However, even with such runaway success, Blue Moon Brewing has still had a fair few disagreements that it has had to overcome, encountering both lawsuits and dissatisfaction directed from customers and the brewers’ community at large.
So, nowadays the Blue Moon we all know and love goes by the term Belgian-Style White. However, this was not always the case.
When the Blue Moon’s flagship brew was first launched, it actually was called the Belgian White. And, as you can imagine, the Belgians were not exactly thrilled at this.
In fact, the CBB (Confédération des Brasseries de Belgique) actually sued Blue Moon over its misappropriation of the name.
They (we think rightfully) claimed that the wording on the label misled consumers into thinking that they were actually purchasing a Belgian beer that had been imported, rather than an American version that had been brewed in colorado.
After quite a lot of back and forth, eventually, the courts decided that calling it Belgian-style was the best solution, and would give consumers a clearer picture of what they were buying and drinking.
Again, Blue Moon came under fire, but this time from the Brewers Association. Blue Moon did not specifically state on any of its labels that it was owned by its parent company MillerCoors.
The main reason they were upset about this is that a consumer would assume that they were buying a local or craft beer made by an independent brewer- something that many people value very highly for keeping the art of brewing alive.
The consumer obviously wants to support these kinds of self-started companies, and the Brewers Association claimed that they were being misled by not stating specifically that they were owned by the MillerCoors group.
Not the same as any lawsuit action, but many folks disapproved (and some still do) at Blue Moon describing itself as a Belgian-style beer at all, and the fact that it uses orange as a garnish.
Even its creator Keith stated that the decorative slice of orange that is served with the beer on tap’s main purpose was actually just aesthetic rather than flavor-based so that it would easily be identified in a bar.
Personally, I like the addition, and I’m a sucker for any kind of fruity extra that I can chomp down on but many folks argue that the acids in fruits actually break down all of that gloriously tasty foam on your poured pint.
If you drink beers of any kind in America, you’re gonna know who MillerCoors are.
As one of the largest conglomerates of smaller companies and entities, MillerCoors owns and operates a huge chunk of the beer market not only in America but across the world.
It’s big corps like this that tend to have a stranglehold on the brewing industry, and yeah they make some damn good stuff, let’s not beat around the bush. Some of our favorite big brands are owned by MillerCoors.
However, as with any big company that has huge power in the market, little companies often suffer as they don’t have the advertising money and sway to keep afloat.
That’s why a lot of lovers of fine beers and craft ales prefer to buy from smaller companies and use their money to support local, or less commercialized brands to help them remain successful.
Herein lies why Blue Moon ended up getting sued by the Brewers Association, and why it’s such a hotly contested topic amongst enthusiasts.
If you don’t know MillerCoors, firstly where the heck have you been, secondly, they are the US business of the international operation Molson Coors (so if you hear these two names interchangeably, that’s why).
Originally a joint business venture of the two giants SABMiller and Molson Coors, MillerCoors was purchased by MoulsonCoors outright in 2016.
MillerCoors owns many brands including Peroni, Staurpraumen, Coors, Miller, Red Dog, Black Ice, and of course Blue Moon among many, many others.
Blue Moon Beer Facts
Want to know a few tantalizing tidbits about the Blue Moon beer and all that it stands for? Read on for a few interesting facts about this glorious beer and the brand behind it.
Fact Number 1: Blue Moon Goes By Another Name!
We’ve said it before, so if you were paying attention you’ll already know! Canada actually doesn’t know what the heck you’re talking about if you talk about the Blue Moon Belgian White!
Instead, it goes by the name Belgian Moon for our Canadian brothers, but the beer itself is the exact same.
Why you may ask? Well, there are a few conflicting opinions on this.
The main one is that there is already a very famous and well-regarded beer in Canada called the Labatt Blue, and the change in name was to avoid any cross-branding issues and to keep the Belgian-style beer as a separate product for the consumer.
Fact Number 2: Blue Moon Is Inspired By A Love Of Baseball
Not only was the founder of Blue Moon Brewery an absolute nut for baseball, but the Sandlot Brewery itself was also the first brewery that is actually located inside a baseball park!
So, it’s not that much of a leap to make that there are some serious inspirations drawn from the game.
The Sandlot Brewery still supplies every home game at the Denver Stadium, and makes over 1 and a half thousand barrels of the stuff every year!
Blue Moon was also made during the baseball season as a way to expand the American tastes and get a little bit of European flavor without being too bitter for the American palette.
Fact Number 3: What’s The Orange All About
As we’ve mentioned before, the orange slice is still a little controversial. But there is definitely some method to this madness!
As a huge fan of a little bite with my drink, I opt for the orange slice, but I do make sure I eat it real quick as you do notice almost immediately that your crisp foam head does dip drastically, and personally I’m not averse to a nice bit of foam.
Keith Villa, the founder of Blue Moon came to the idea of the orange slice after his time in Belgium where he completed his Ph.D.
Many European cafes and bars served their tart and bitter beers with a slice of cooling lemon or lime to reciprocate those flavor notes in the draught.
With the flavor profile of Blue Moon emulating the robust yet refreshing taste of the Belgian favorites but sweetened with orange peel rather than the tart bitterness of European tastes.
The orange slice was a nod to this European tradition whilst still sticking to the sweeter notes that are found in Blue Moon.
Many folks argue that any fruit or citrus doesn’t enhance the flavor of the beer and rather destroys it, but it’s a really nice addition visually if nothing else!
You can always opt-out of the fruity extras though if you’re not keen on this little garnish so don’t let it put you off if that’s not your thing.
Fact Number 4: Multi-Award Winners
It’s not just the flagship Blue Moon beer that has won awards. So too has the stunningly bright Blue Moon Honey (now known as the Summer Harvest)!
Both of these lovely brews have won gold medal places in the World Beer Championships and the World Beer Cup, proving that the team working on Blue moon seriously knows what they are talking about when it comes to making a quality pint that folks enjoy.
Fact Number 5: Sold Around The Globe
Did you know that Blue Moon is actually sold in 25 countries worldwide? Not only is it a popular choice in the US, being the number one brand of Craft-style ale in the States, but it’s also a hit internationally.
Whilst the flavor profile took a while to catch on, you can now find it almost everywhere and it’s often a showcase beer at many pubs and restaurants for those who want something a little different.
And, after over 20 years, they’ve still got it.
Fact Number 6: Blue Moon Has Had Many Homes
This lovely beer has actually been on a bit of a journey, starting in the Sandlot Brewery.
It has been brewed in a few other locations whilst it was looking for a permanent home, and the main brewery is now in a stunning location in the Denver RiNo art district in Colorado since 2016.
Though they do still have multiple brewing locations both locally and internationally.
Fact Number 7: RiNo Brewery Tour
We can’t possibly mention the absolutely beautiful RiNo brewery without talking about the insane free tour that they offer. Yep, you heard that right. Absolutely free.
We’ll actually go a little bit more in-depth on this one in a second, but for now, we’ll just say it’s a really cool opportunity to see how this ale is made, the kind of equipment used, and get a sneaky backstage look into the process whilst in a gorgeous setting.
Fact Number 8: The Most Popular Brew
You wouldn’t think so given the side-eyes people give to fruit in a beer, but Blue Moon’s flagship ale is actually the most popular beer in not just one, but two states! Both Maryland and Oregan absolutely love the stuff.
As the rise in craft beer explodes, it’s not that surprising that Blue Moon, one of the few craft-style beers to have the backing of a huge corp like MillerCoors is succeeding so well.
Blue Moon Flavor Profile
The classic Blue Moon beer is made with malted barley and white wheat. That gives it its lighter and less malty finish than some other ales and lagers.
What’s more, Blue Moon has a couple of additional ingredients that set it apart from the pack.
As the US market are more accustomed to slightly sweeter and less bitter tasting beers than a traditional European and Belgian wheat beer.
Blue Moon’s flavors switch it up a bit with the addition of zesty orange peel, milled oats, and even coriander (cilantro)that adds a really unique kick and brings it back to it’s slightly bitter yet rounded roots.
Paired with a dazzling slice of fresh orange, courtesy of creator Keith Villa’s brewmaster knowledge, the drink is both light and fruity, but with a depth of flavor that you can’t find in many other big-brand beers.
The orange peel added to the brewing process isn’t actually that out of this world. In fact, in Belgium, the traditional Belgian wits have Curaçao orange peel mixed with the hops during the fermentation process as well.
The Blue Moon Belgian-Style White can be found across the country, and the world in a few different formats.
Best from the tap, you can find it in 25 countries at selected bars and you can also find it predominantly in glass bottles and kegs.
Recently, Blue Moon has also started selling its beers in cans, making them super convenient to purchase.
The flagship beer has 5.4% alc volume which is pretty high compared to most brews, especially for one as popular as Blue Moon.
Though it is important to note that in both Minnesota and Utah the alcohol volume of Blue Moon that you can buy at convenience stores and the grocery is reduced to 4%.
The seasonal and limited-edition flavors are also 5.4%abv or thereabouts.
Blue Moon Belgian White Belgian-Style Wheat Ale – Our Review
Coming in at 5.4% abv, the Blue Moon Belgian White is surprisingly light in both flavor and texture.
It doesn’t have the same heaviness that you get with a lot of craft beers these days and doesn’t sit on your stomach quite the same way as many other high alcohol content beers can.
That’s the nature of witbiers that I’ve discovered anyway. Overall, I think the flavor profile is one that is pretty unique and though I am definitely a fan, I can also understand why some folks are not a fan of it.
The slight edge of coriander is definitely not for everyone, and if you are a big fan of a deep and rich malty beer, this might not be the one for you as the citrus elements and the oaty notes really cut through that richness.
Let’s break it down a little bit-
Flavor Profile: As we’ve said before, the flavor profile is really quite daring, and considering how popular the beer has become, they’re obviously onto a winner.
The wheat and oat in the base really add a thickness and creamy character to the beer that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a witbier, but as an American approximation.
It’s a really good choice as it balances out the other sharper flavors within the drink.
These citrusy orange notes offer some much-needed zing and the bitter peel is a welcome addition to the pepper hints that come in from the coriander undertones.
Texture: It’s a pretty weird combination of a thick beer that is still somehow both creamy and light. Like a Guinness but in a wheaty larger form.
With the zing of the flavor notes, the creaminess is very well balanced and is probably a good thing that you can’t sink these back as easily as something like a session beer as it’s pretty high on the alcohol content.
Aroma: The oaty note comes through nicely and carries the tartness of the citrus peel through well. You can note the scent of coriander as well as a little peppery finish that finishes off this multidimensional beer very nicely.
Overall, I think this is a wonderful ale that will take you by surprise. It’s worth trying it a few times to get used to it, and I don’t think this is a great one to sink back.
But rather to lounge around with on a hot summer’s day, snacking on your orange slice and relishing the unique flavors.
How Many Blue Moon Beers Are There?
If we’re looking at all of the different variations, limited editions, and seasonal specials within the brand, the short answer is a heck of a lot.
However, almost all of these additional beers are small runs, limited to certain countries of release, and generally aren’t here to stay.
As of right now, there are three beers within the Blue Moon umbrella that are currently available. They are:
- Blue Moon Belgian White
- Blue Moon Mango Wheat
- Blue Moon Summer Honey Wheat
There have been a few different iterations as well of these beers, with name changes, recipe tweaks, and different branding over the years that they’ve been in production.
Is Blue Moon a Girly Beer?
I mean, I hate this term, as if there’s something wrong with having any slightly effeminate leaning in your drink is an affront to the male population! Ha!
Maybe it’s the fact that it’s severed with a slice of orange that makes people think this? Well, whatever you think, if you’re talking in terms of flavor profile.
A Belgian white like this definitely has subtler, fruitier undertones that you wouldn’t find in a sharp, concentrated stout of a typical ‘manly’ beer (whatever that means).
Because the Blue Moon classic is brewed with wheat, oats, and orange peel and its unique brewing process, it has a zingy flavor that is refreshing to the palette that you wouldn’t find in something heavier.
So, yes, you could say that Blue Moon is a more ‘girly’ beer than some others, such as a John Smith or a Fosters, but bear in mind that this is all subjective and usually has a lot to do with marketing, more than taste profile or actual qualities of the beer!
Is Blue Moon A Lager Beer?
Blue Moon isn’t in fact larger, despite its light amber color and delicate fizz. It is something close, however! The Blue Moon Belgian White is actually an ale.
Now, whilst the larger and the ale are very close in terms of flavor profile, look, and mouthfeel, the main difference between the two is the kinds of yeast used during the brewing process of the drinks.
To get a little more technical about the whole thing, larger is created at much cooler temps, usually, between 40-50 degrees F, whereas an ale tends to be brewed with slightly warmer inclines of between 55 to 78 degrees.
The other difference is that larger use bottom-fermented yeast whereas ales use top-fermented yeast.
It’s subtle differences like this that set ale and larger apart from one another, making them more like cousins than brothers, whilst still having similar qualities on the whole.
That’s the really basic way of looking at things, and in reality, there are definitely more things at play than simply yeast and temperature.
Little things like storage, brewing time, brewing methods, and types of ingredients all play a part in the fermentation of your brew.
While there have been a fair few other beers within the line, the Belgian White is the stand-out, and for good reason.
Having grown in popularity to being probably the biggest craft-style beer in the US and even the most popular beer in two states, Blue Moon is a truly unique take on a Belgian classic that should certainly be tried a few times at least.
Whilst the interesting flavor may not be for everyone, it’s still a fascinating beer with a good depth of flavor and silky smooth texture.