What Is A Blue Moon Beer? » All Blue Moon Beer In One Guide!
Knowing about different beer brands, and knowing the difference between them can be pretty comprehensive. And then there is knowing about the different beer styles of every beer brand. Thank God for the internet.
What is a Blue Moon beer? Blue Moon is a beer brand brewed by MillerCoors under the name Blue Moon Brewing Company.
The most well-known beer from Blue Moon Brewing Co. is the award-winning Blue Moon Belgian White, which is a Belgian-style witbier. In Canada, this beer is branded as ‘’Belgian Moon’’.
There is a lot more to know about the Blue Moon beers, the history behind, the different beer types from Blue Moon Brewing Co. and much more. Keep reading this post as I will go into depth about this special beer brand.
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What Exactly Is Blue Moon Beer?
The Blue Moon beer is a beer brand where the beers are brewed by MillerCoors under the name Blue Moon Brewing Company. Blue Moons’ most well-known beer is called Blue Moon Belgian White (branded as Belgian Moon in Canada).
Despite the Blue Moon Belgian White, Blue Moons other beers available are Blue Moon Mango Wheat and Blue Moon Honey Wheat. But, these are not the only beers Blue Moon has created since the company's start in 1995.
Since 1995, Blue Moon has introduced the market to more than 25 different beers.
The Blue Moon Beer History
The Blue Moon Belgian White was launched in 1995 and was originally brewed in Golden, Colorado. Also, it was originally called Bellyslide Belgian White.
And now for the technical part of Blue Moon Belgian White. This beer was created by a brewer called Keith Villa at the Sandlot Brewery at Coors Fields in Denver, Colorado. This brewery is owned by the Molson Coors Brewing Company.
The Blue Moon Brewing Company is an entity of Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the craft and import division of MillerCoors.
Blue Moon beer brewed at the Molson Brewery in Montreal, Canada, is sold in the US and is exported to Europe as well.
But, with such a company follows controversies. Both in 1999 and again in 2012, the company encountered headwind.
Back in 1999, the then-named Coors Brewing Company was sued by Conféderation des Brasseries de Belgique over their use of the term ’’Belgian White’’. CBB claimed the advertising was misleading and unclear.
They claimed that this advertising could make American consumers believe, that this beer was made in Belgium. After a few attempts of making it right, Coors agreed with CBB to change the labeling to ‘’Belgian-style Wheat Ale’’.
Then again in 2012 Blue Moon became unpopular to Brewers Association over missing information on their labels. Blue Moon had not written that the beer was made by MillerCoors on the label.
The Brewer Association claimed, that this omission could make it possible for Blue Moon Brewing co. to look like an independent craft beer.
Now, I have mentioned MillerCoors a couple of times, but what is MillerCoors? MillerCoors is the US business of Molson Coors. The U.S. company brews, markets and wholesaler sales the MillerCoors portfolio of brands in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Are you a home brewer? you should definitely read this post: Best Beer Recipe Kits
Facts About Blue Moon Beer
Here are a few facts about Blue Moon you’ll have to know. You might know some of them already, and some of them might come as a surprise for you.
#1 Blue Moon is not Blue Moon in Canada
If you have read all of this article so far you know what I’m talking about. If you haven't, I can tell you, that Blue Moon Belgian White has another identity in Canada. In Canada, this exquisite beer is called Belgian Moon.
There are divided opinions about why this is so. Some say it’s because of a series of issues that complicate the beer’s Canadian release. However, MillerCoors reportedly says it’s because of differentiating themselves from Labatt Blue beer.
#2 Inspired by baseball
The Sandlot Brewery was the first brewery ever to house inside a league ballpark. Not so weird the beer on tap is named after the game played there. SandLot still makes 1,500 barrels of beer a year. And they are all served during the Colorado Rockies home games.
#3 The meaning of the orange
I put a question mark at this orange thing myself. I mean, why associate orange with a beer? But, there is a method to this madness.
The co-founder of Blue Moon, Keith Villa, got this crazy, but not a too bad idea. Foreigners’ combinations of ingredients gave him the inspiration to this recipe of malted barley, white wheat, Valencia orange peel, coriander, and oats.
Then he found out that some European bartenders used lemon wedges in their serving, and thereby he god the brilliant idea to serve the Blue Moon beer with orange slices.
#4 Blue Moon, the award-winning beer
Both the Blue Moon Belgian White and Blue Moon Honey have claimed gold medals in the World Beer Championship and World Beer Cup. So, the brand has experts on their team who knows how to make quality beer.
#5 Blue Moon beer is sold in 25 countries
This is a pretty good indication to show how good this beer actually is. Maybe it’s also because this is a trustworthy beer that almost everybody can drink.
#6 The long-drawn search for a home
Blue Moon was claimed to be produced by Blue Moon Brewing Company for a long time. Although the Sandlot Brewery later became Blue Moon Brewery at the Sandlot, Blue Moon was brewed in other locations throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
Since 2008 Blue Moon has been produced in Golden and Eden, N.C. Then, in 2016, a MillerCoors Blue Moon brewpub opened in Denver’s RiNo art district. This leads us to the next fact.
#7 Free tour
Now we’re already talking about the RiNo brewery it’s obvious to mention their free walk-through tour, where you can go behind the scenes to see how it’s all done.
#8 Blue Moon - The most popular beer in two states
Believe it or not, the Blue Moon beer is actually the most popular beer in two states, Oregon and Maryland.
What Does Blue Moon Beer Taste Like?
The Blue Moon beer is brewed with malted barley, white wheat, orange peel, coriander, and oats. It is usually served with a slice of orange, which its brewmasters, Keith Villa say accentuates the flavor of the brew.
The Valencia orange peel in the Blue Moon Belgian White is Keith’s twist on the Belgian wits, which traditionally was brewed with Curaçao orange peel.
This Blue Moon beer is available in both cans, bottles, and kegs. Also, Blue Moon has 5.4% alcohol by volume. In Minnesota and Utah, the alcohol content of all Blue Moon beers bought in grocery or convenience stores is 4.0% alcohol by volume.
Blue Moon Brews and seasonal brews sold in liquor stores are 5.4% by volume.
Blue Moon Belgian White Review
This beer is a great witbier if you ask me. It comes normally with an ABV of 5.4.
Aroma: Orange notes come through with spicy pepper and coriander aromas. Also, it has some malt sweetness in the back. Slight grain sweetness with hints of lemon zest. Coriander aroma is slightly appearing. Floral and a little spicy aroma.
Flavor: The beer has a balance of acidity and malt background with a nice, creamy mouthfeel. Again, coriander and some spicy pepper notes. Good balance of orange sweetness with a peppery and spicy flavor.
Overall: This beer is a good example of this beer style. Some might say it is too heavy or too sweet, not me. It has this refreshing, complex take on a wit. Spices and sweetness carry through. Good balance of citrus and spice.
Also read: What Is A Lagunitas IPA?
Why Is Blue Moon Served With an Orange?
Back in the mid-late 90s, bars didn’t have any oranges. Maybe they would have lemon or lime, but no orange. This was a bit of a problem for Blue Moons Belgian White and Keith Villa, the brewmaster at Blue Moon Brewing Company.
Blue Moon Belgian White is brewed with Valencian orange peel, and this doesn’t work with either lemon or lime, it’s the orange garnish that brings out the flavor of the Valencian orange peel.
The Valencia orange peel in the Blue Moon Belgian White is Keith’s twist on the Belgian wits, which traditionally was brewed with Curaçao orange peel. The Curaçao orange peel doesn’t smell like oranges, but Keith wanted the orange smell.
So, when the bars serving his beer didn’t have any oranges, Keith started to bring his own oranges to the bars.
Many of the bars who sold his beer used lemon instead of oranges. The bars said they used lemon because they didn’t have any oranges. So, Keith took it in his own hands.
He showed up at bars in Blue Moon’s hometown of Denver and gave every bar he visited who sold his beer, a bag of oranges, a knife, and a cutting board.
The reason why he did that was to show his thankfulness to them for selling his beer, and asked them if they would have an interest in trying a new way to garnish it. Which they, of course, were, because customers loved the unusual beer.
Though, this has not been a quick upheaval for Keith. It took him and his team about six years to make the orange garnish happen nationwide. But, it was worth the struggle. Today it’s rare to have a Blue Moon served without the orange wheel on the rim.
Is Belgian Moon and Blue Moon the Same?
The Belgian-style wheat ale, Blue Moon, brewed by MillerCoors. Market research shows that this should be the most successful craft beer in the country. As you might know, this beer is served in a tall glass that bows at the top, and with a slice of orange.
This particular way of serving makes it a visually interesting beer for the customers. I mean, not all beers are served with an orange slice. But, there is a method to this madness. The beer is brewed with orange peel and coriander, thereby it’s served with an orange slice.
But, this doesn’t answer the question about Belgian Moon and Blue Moon being the same beer.
If you ask for a Blue Moon beer in Canada, I bet they will funnily look at you, which there is actually no reason for. Blue Moon and Belgian Moon is exactly the same beer, it just has a different name in Canada. Blue Moon is called ‘’Belgian Moon’’ in Canada.
The reason why is complicated, but I will try my best to explain it comprehensively. The reason why will also require some understanding of Blue Moon’s similarly complicated history.
Throughout time, more accurate since Blue Moons start in 1995, the company had trouble with some headwind about their labels. The majority meant, that the company branded their beer as a Belgian beer, which it’s not.
Blue Moon is a Belgian-style beer, but it’s still an American beer. Also, the company ran into trouble for positioning itself as a small or independent brewing company.
It is, and always has been, brewed by Coors, now MillerCoors, now a division of the multinational Molson Coors.
When launching in Canada, the origin stories on both websites are the same, the taste is the same, the serving with an orange slice is the same. It is the exact same beer, just with different names.
But why? Why doesn’t this beer have the same name in Canada as in the U.S? Well, there are divided statements about this.
A spokesperson for MillerCoors has said that Blue Moon Belgian White is called Belgian Moon in Canada to differentiate the brand from Labatt Blue beer, a lager-style brew that is well-known in the region.
They wanted to make sure, that drinkers were aware that Belgian Moon (Blue Moon) is a crafted Belgian White-style beer. But, this is where the doubt rises.
A Canadian beer judge, beer writer, and Cicerone says it all stemmed from negligence on Coor’s part to register the Blue Moon trademark. The Blue Moon beer was created in 1995, but the brand wasn’t trademarked until 2006, and it wasn’t trademarked by Molson Coors.
Molson and Coors entered partnerships in 2005, but apparently getting their trademark registered in both countries didn’t occur to them at the time, for some reason.
So, while they weren’t devoting the registration one thought, of course, someone else did. A company known as Amsterdam Brewing Company registered the Blue Moon trademark.
But then, finally in 2011, MillerCoors got registered the Blue Moon trademark in Canada, and in 2013 they managed to secure the registration of the trademark from Amsterdam Brewing Co.
So, now you might think that they should be able to call the beer Blue Moon in Canada by 2015 when Blue Moon’s trademark was secured by MillerCoors in Canada in 2013, but no.
Before MillerCoors had registered the Blue Moon trademark, Miller had sued Molson in a fight to distribute its own brands in Canada.
So, Miller owns a part of the Blue Moon trademark in Canada, and due to their fight with Molson, the beer is now called Belgian Moon.
Long story short, Blue Moon is Belgian Moon in Canada because a Canadian company trademarked Blue Moon before Coors did.
Even though MillerCoors had gained ownership of the Blue Moon trademark in the U.S. and Canada by 2013, because of internal conflict between Miller and Molson, Blue Moon was released as ‘’Belgian Moon’’. And this has been its name ever since and will remain like this.
How Many Blue Moon Beers Are There?
A lot. But most beer have been seasonal beers. At the moment, Blue Moon has the following three beers available:
- Blue Moon Belgian White
- Blue Moon Mange Wheat
- Blue Moon Honey Wheat
Through time there have been many different Blue Moon brews.
All Blue Moon Brews Through Time
Blue Moon has had a mass of different variants of beer since its formation in 1995.
In addition to their original, well-known Blue Moon Belgian White, they offer Honey Moon. Honey Moon started under the name Blue Moon Summer Ale but was renamed in 2006.
Again in 2011 Honey Moon was renamed. This time it’s new name became ‘’Summer Honey Wheat’’. This name has held firm ever since and is still going strong.
Then there is Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale, which was renamed to Harvest Pumpkin Wheat in 2007. As the original name indicates, this beer contains flavors of pumpkin, also of other seasonal spices, but mostly pumpkin.
Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale is a seasonal beer that was available through the wintertime. Also, this beer was renamed. In 2007 Blue Moon Abbey Ale became ‘’Blue Moon Winter Ale’’, and in 2012 Blue Moon Winter Ale became ‘’Mountain Abbey Ale’’.
This beer is brewed with some natural flavors and has a beautiful caramel color.
Of course, Blue Moon also has a spring beer. This beer is called Blue Moon Spring Blonde Ale, originally known as Rising Moon. This beer has been through some changes, so hold on tight.
First up, the recipe was changed in 2011, removing the Kaffir lime leaves. The new recipe focused more on orange and lemon peel which would add citrus flavor to the beer.
Then, in 2013 the beer changed name to ‘’Valencia Grove Amber’’. This was an amber ale brewed with Valencia orange peel, roasted malts and a hint of wheat.
In 2008 Blue Moon released a pale ale called Pale Moon. With filings, Pale Moon commenced creating a Pale Moon Light, which was on the marketed as "Rounder".
Blue Moon has released revamped and renamed sets of seasonal beers starting with the Blue Moon Winter Ale, in 2010.
Here is the list of all Blue Moons brew through time.
|Blue Moon||1995||originally Bellyslide Belgian White|
|Raspberry Cream Ale||1995||Special release|
|Nut Brown Ale||1995||Released with Raspberry Cream Ale|
|Blue Moon Pale Ale||2008||originally Pale Moon|
|Blue Moon Grand Cru||2010||Strong Belgian white ale|
|Mountain Abbey Ale||2010||originally Blue Moon Winter Ale|
|Spring Blonde Wheat Ale||2011||originally Blue Moon Spring Ale|
|Summer Honey Wheat Ale||2011||originally Blue Moon Summer Ale|
|Harvest Pumpkin Ale||2011||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|
|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|
|Chai Spiced Ale||2015||Included in the Fall 2015 Brewmaster's Sampler|
|Cappuccino Oatmeal Stout||2015||Included in the Winter 2015 Brewmaster's Sampler|
|Belgian Table Pils||2016|
|Cocoa Brown Ale||2016||Included in the Winter 2016 Brewmaster's Sampler|
Is Blue Moon a Girly Beer?
Well, many people do consider Blue Moon as a girly beer. And actually, I can see why.
This Blue Moon Belgian White beer is brewed with white wheat, oats, coriander, and orange peel to give it a citrusy edge. It’s generally served with an orange slice to help bring out the orange citrus flavor.
In addition to more beer-like beers, this beer is a little more reliable than others. The orange is giving the beer a freshness and a less sharp beer taste than many other beers.
To conclude, this beer is definitely more a girly beer than a sharp-tasting, concentrated beer.
Is Blue Moon a Lager Beer?
No, but it’s very close to being a lager. But, Blue Moon Belgian White is an Ale. Lagers and Ales are very close to each other. There is only one little difference; ales and lagers are each made using different strains of yeast.
Lagers are brewed using bottom-fermenting strains of yeast held at colder temperatures around 40-52°F (4-11°C), while ales are brewed with a top-fermenting yeast that operates at warmer temperatures usually around 55-77°F (12-25°C)
To be honest, there is a little more to it than just the yeast and the temperature. Lager is a noun which translates from German as “storage”, but it’s also a verb that refers to the cold storage of beer while it ferments.
There’s a ton of biochemistry involved in fully understanding it, but one thing I have to mention is that lager yeast traditionally requires a little more time to brew than ales.
To learn even more about lager beer, read this post: What Is The Difference Between Pilsner And Lager?