Being based near London means that I can often find unusual beers for The Brew Club that wouldn’t normally be found by drinkers in the US. Occasionally I will stumble across an American Beer that piques my curiosity – such as Blue Moon Wheat Beer.
Blue Moon is an American ‘craft’ wheat beer lovingly brewed by artisan brewers at the ‘Blue Moon Brewing Company’. Indeed the brew was indeed created by the brewmaster – Keith Villa – at the Blue Moon microbrewery at ‘The Sandlot’ stadium in Denver, Colorado. However the success of the brew means that it is now mass produced by the microbrewery’s parent company – Molson Coors.
The beer was first known as ‘Bellyslide Belgian White’ when it was first brewed in 1995, but legal action by the Confederation des Brasseries de Belgique (The Confederation of Belgian Breweries) meant that the beer had to be renamed for fear of misleading consumers that it was a product from Belgium.
The recipe includes ‘White Wheat, Oats, Coriander and Orange Peel’ and while many wheat beers are sometimes served with a slice of lemon, Blue Moon encourages the addition of a slice of orange to further enhance the orange flavour. No thanks.
So, a healthy pour, a good, if cloudy head and a heavy nose of orange peel and coriander. The beer comes in 330ml bottles rather than 500ml bottles as is traditional for wheat beers in Europe, so unless Blue Moon make a smaller size wheat beer glass the brew would be somewhat lost in a traditional wheat beer glass.
The orange peel flavour comes through in the taste as well, the underlying flavour is sharp, if not tart, but refreshing for all that. The beer is unfiltered, which adds additional cloudiness and leaves a considerable sediment in the bottom of the glass.
This is a good wheat beer, almost a great wheat beer. In the same way that some craft brewers overdo the hoppiness of an ale, this is a little too ‘in your face’. I wouldn’t refuse it, particularly on a hot summer’s day, but if I was thinking about a wheat beer, I think I would go for Grolsch Premium Weizen or Kronenbourg Blanc.
Indeed Coors success with Blue Moon directly inspired SAB Miller to create Leinenkugels Sunset Wheat, which The Brew Club gave a healthy four star rating back in August 2008. More recently, Blue Moon beer has been in the spotlight as the beer that Officer Crowley will be enjoying at the “Obama Beer Summit”.
You can also checkout Blue Moon’s Harvest Moon, their Autumn Pumpkin Ale!