Blue Moon (beer)

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Blue Moon
Blue Moon Beer.svg
Manufacturer Blue Moon Brewing Co. (MillerCoors)
Introduced 1995
Alcohol by volume 5.4%[1]
Style Witbier
Beer truck in Manhattan

Blue Moon Belgian White is a Belgian-style witbier brewed by Blue Moon Brewing Co. originally in Golden, Colorado, that was launched in 1995. Blue Moon Brewing Co. is a part of Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the craft and import division of Chicago-based MillerCoors. In Canada, Blue Moon Belgian White is marketed as the beer Rickard's White and is brewed in Montreal, Quebec.[2] Originally called Bellyslide Belgian White, it was created by Keith Villa, a brewer at Coors Field's Sandlot Brewery (the onsite brewery owned by the Molson Coors Brewing Company). Blue Moon from the Montreal site is also sold in the USA and exported to Europe.[3] The beer is orange-amber in color with a cloudy appearance because it is unfiltered. Blue Moon has a more pronounced orange flavor than many other beers of the style, and also has a slightly sweet flavor. The grain bill for Blue Moon includes malted barley, white wheat, and oats.

Blue Moon is sometimes served with a slice of orange, which its brewmasters claim accentuates the flavor of the brew.[4] Keith Villa admitted the orange slice garnish was mostly for attention-getting when Blue Moon is served in a bar.[5]

Blue Moon is available in cans, bottles and kegs, and has 5.4% alcohol by volume.[6] In Oklahoma, Minnesota, Colorado and Utah, the alcohol content of all Blue Moon beers bought in grocery or convenience stores is 3.2% alcohol by weight (approximately 4.0% alcohol by volume). Blue Moon Brews and Seasonal Brews sold in liquor stores are 5.4% by volume.

Awards[edit]

  • 1995 World Beer Championship gold medalist, White Beer category
  • 1996 World Beer Championship silver medalist, White Beer category
  • 1997 World Beer Championship silver medalist, White Beer category
  • 2008 World Beer Cup gold medalist, Specialty Honey Lager or Ale category for Blue Moon's Honey Moon
  • 2008 World Beer Cup silver medalist, Fruit and Vegetable Beer category for Chardonnay Blonde
  • 2008 World Beer Cup Champion Brewery - Large Brewing Company

Craft beer controversy[edit]

Blue Moon has come under fire from the Brewers Association for not stating on the bottle that the beer is made by MillerCoors. The Brewers Association says that this omission allows the Blue Moon Brewing Company to masquerade as an independent craft brewer.[7] Independent craft brewers, such as CEO Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co., agree that the multinational conglomerate brewers' use of bottle imagery similar to independent craft beers misleads consumers.[8]

Naming controversy[edit]

In 1999, the Confederation des Brasseries de Belgique (The Confederation of Belgian Breweries) sued the then-named Coors Brewing Company over its use of the term "Belgian White." The CBB alleged Coors' advertising was misleading, and could confuse American consumers into believing Blue Moon was made in Belgium. Coors at first responded by adding "Made in USA" and "Belgian-style" in small print to the bottle labels, but refused to change its advertising or packaging.[9]

Coors eventually settled out of court with the CBB, agreeing to change the labeling to "Belgian-style Wheat Ale." Additionally, the CBB distributes the beer to conglomerates in European countries.[10]

The New Belgium Brewery, which makes Fat Tire Amber Ale, also complied with the CBB's request for name changes.[11]

Variations of Blue Moon[edit]

In addition to their original Belgian White variety, Blue Moon Brewing Company offers Blue Moon Summer Ale, renamed Honey Moon in 2006. Honey Moon contains 5.2% alcohol by volume in a standard 12 fluid ounce bottle. The beer was renamed "Summer Honey Wheat" in 2011 and is still sold under that name.

During the autumn months, Blue Moon provides Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale, renamed Harvest Moon in 2007. This variety contains the flavors of pumpkins and other autumnal spices. Harvest Moon is typically available in bottles from mid-September through December. It contains 5.7% alcohol by volume in a standard 12 fluid ounce bottle. The beer was renamed "Harvest Pumpkin Ale" and is still marketed under that name.

Blue Moon offers Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale during the winter season. Its name was changed to Full Moon with the subtitle "Blue Moon Winter Ale" in 2007. It is brewed with natural flavor and a caramel color. Full Moon contains 5.6% alcohol in a standard 12 fluid ounce bottle. The name was changed to "Mountain Abbey Ale" in 2012.

In spring, Blue Moon provides Blue Moon Spring Blonde Ale, originally known as Rising Moon. In 2011 the recipe was changed removing the Kaffir lime leaves. The new recipe focuses more on orange and lemon peel to add the citrus flavors. In 2013 the beer was changed to "Valencia Grove Amber," an amber ale brewed with Valencia orange peel, roasted malts and a touch of wheat.

It addition to its seasonal brews, Blue Moon released a pale ale called Pale Moon in 2008, with filings commenced to create a Pale Moon Light. Pale Moon is now marketed as "Rounder."

Blue Moon released a revamped and renamed set of seasonal beers starting with the Winter Abbey Ale, in 2010.[12]

Blue Moon brews[edit]

  • Blue Moon (1995) (originally Bellyslide Belgian White)
  • Raspberry Cream Ale (1995) (Special release)
  • Blue Moon Pale Ale (2008) (originally Pale Moon)
  • Blue Moon Grand Cru (2010) Strong Belgian white ale, originally released to commemorate Blue Moon on New Year's Day 2010 - (Retired)
  • Mountain Abbey Ale (2010) (formerly Full Moon (2006) and Winter Abbey Ale (2012), originally Blue Moon Winter Ale)
  • Spring Blonde Wheat Ale (2011) (formerly Rising Moon (2007), originally Blue Moon Spring Ale) - Valencia Grove Amber (2013) is the current Spring Seasonal Collection
  • Summer Honey Wheat Ale (2011) (formerly Honey Moon (2006), originally Blue Moon Summer Ale)
  • Harvest Pumpkin Ale (2011) (formerly Harvest Moon (2006), originally Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale)
  • Spiced Amber Ale (2011) (Retired)
  • Farmhouse Red Ale (2012)
  • Valencia Amber Ale (2012) (included in the Spring 2012 Brewmaster's Sampler)
  • Agave Nectar Ale (2012) (included in the Summer 2012 Brewmaster's Sampler)
  • Caramel Apple Spiced Ale (2012) (included in the Fall 2012 Brewmaster's Sampler) - Commemorating Lunar Blue Moon August 31, 2012 & September 1, 2012
  • Sunshine Citrus Blonde (2013) (included in the Spring 2013 Brewmaster's Sampler)
  • Blackberry Tart Ale (2013)
  • Peanut Butter Ale (2013) (Special release)
  • Rounder Belgian-Style Pale (2013) (Part of the Expressionist Collection)
  • Gingerbread Spiced Ale (2013) (included in the Winter 2013 Brewmaster's Sampler)
  • Cinnamon Horchata Ale (2014)

In popular culture[edit]

Cambridge Police Sgt James Crowley drank Blue Moon with an orange slice at the "beer summit".[13] During a filmed interview with BBC Radio 1's Chris Stark, Mila Kunis said Blue Moon is her favorite beer.[14] In the film Friends with Benefits (A film that Kunis starred in.) the two main characters are shown drinking Blue Moon while watching television together.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]