Craft beers have become one of the trendiest drinks on the planet in recent years. It seems as though there is something new and exciting to sample coming out almost every day, and there are even whole bars that are dedicated solely to craft beers and lagers.
But, these fashions come and go, and to really make it in the world of beer you’ve got to create something really special. Do this, and you’ll have a beer that sticks around for generations.
This is very much the case for Blue Moon Beer. First launched in 1995, it’s been a favorite for beer-lovers all over the world. But what exactly is a blue moon beer? What does it taste like? And are there any variations of it?
If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, you’ve come to the right place! Below, we’ll take an in-depth look at everything there is to know about Blue Moon.
Here, you’ll explore its origins, its flavor profile, and discover some interesting facts about this much-loved beer. You’ll even find out why it’s served with a slice of orange – something that has boggled the minds of beer lovers for decades!
What Is Blue Moon Beer?
First things first – let’s look at what a Blue Moon beer is. Blue Moon is actually a brand that was created by MillerCoors. But, although it was created by MillerCoors, it’s produced under the name “Blue Moon Brewing Company”.
Blue Moon Brewing Company’s most famous beer is called “Blue Moon Belgian White” or “Belgian Moon” in Canada. However, over time it’s come to be known simply as “Blue Moon”.
This can make things a little confusing, however, as the name “Blue Moon” actually precedes many other bears created by the Blue Moon Brewing Company. These include “Blue Moon Mango Wheat”, and “Blue Moon Honey Wheat”.
In fact, since the brand was first launched in 1995, Blue Moon has gone on to create more than 25 different beers, all of which bear the “Blue Moon” name.
With this in mind, it’s pretty easy to see how things can become confusing when talking simply about Blue Moon Beer. But, in general, if you ask for a Blue Moon in a bar, you’re most likely going to be served the original Blue Moon Belgian White.
The History Of Blue Moon
The classic Blue Moon Belgian White was launched in 1995 and it was originally brewed in Golden, Colorado. Something else you may not know is that it was also originally named “Bellyslide Belgian White”.
It was created by Keith Villa, a master brewer at the Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field, Denver, Colorado. Sandlot Brewery is owned by MolsonCoors and, while it was created here, Blue Moon is now brewed at the Molson Brewery in Montreal, Canada. From here it’s exported to the United States and Europe.
So far, it sounds like Blue Moon has a pretty simple history, right? Well, as with most products, there were a couple of controversial moments that we need to discuss.
The first of these came in 1999, four years after Blue Moon was launched. At this time, MolsonCoors was simply named “Coors Brewing Company”, and it found itself being sued by Confédération des Brasseries de Belgique.
But what was the reason for this legal action? It’s all to do with the term “Belgian White”. Confédération des Brasseries de Belgique (CBB) claimed that the advertising was false, unclear and that it was designed to fool American consumers into thinking that the beer was made in Belgium.
A compromise was reached between the two parties and, after a few failed attempts, Coors agreed to change the name of their new beer to “Belgian-Style Wheat Ale”.
A few years later in 2012, Blue Moon found itself at the center of more controversy. This time, the Brewers Association pointed out that there was certain information missing from the label, namely the fact that it didn’t state that Blue Moon was made by MillerCoors.
This may not seem like too much of an issue to most people, the issue the Brewers Association had with this omission was that it made Blue Moon look like an independent craft beer. And, to be fair, this really wasn’t the case.
Eventually, the issue was rectified and all bottles now clearly state that Blue Moon is created by MillerCoors.
A Quick Note About MillerCoors
We’ve mentioned MillerCoors a few times now, so this is a good opportunity to talk about who they are exactly. We won’t spend too much time on this, as you’re probably eager to learn more about Blue Moon.
So, here are the basics. MillerCoors is the US business of Molson Coors. They brew, market, and wholesale the MillerCoors portfolio of brands in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Blue Moon Beer Facts
Even if you’re the biggest Blue Moon fan out there, there may be some things that you didn’t know about this delicious beer. Below, we’ll take a look at some facts about Blue Moon. Who knows – these might even help you in your next pub quiz!
1. Blue Moon Has A Different Name In Canada
We’ve mentioned this briefly above, but Blue Moon Belgian White has a completely different name in Canada. Instead, it goes by “Belgian Moon”. The reason for this is shrouded in mystery, but there are a few theories.
Some people believe that it was due to a series of issues that complicated the launch of the beer in Canada. Others believe that the name simply sounds more appealing to a Canadian audience.
However, when MillerCoors were asked, the reason they gave was that it helped to differentiate their beer from Labatt Blue Beer.
2. Blue Moon Is Served With An Orange Garnish
When you order a Blue Moon Beer at a bar, you may be surprised to find that it’s served with a slice of orange. This may seem like a strange practice, but there is a reason behind it.
Keith Villa, creator, and co-founder of Blue Moon found that some European bartenders served a wedge of lemon in beer. Since the whole idea of Blue Moon was to make it seem European, and one of Blue Moon’s flavor notes is Valencia Orange Peel, it only made sense to serve a slice of orange alongside.
3. Blue Moon Is An Award-Winning Beer
World Beer Championship gold medals have been awarded to both Blue Moon Belgian White and Blue Moon Honey. Each beer has also won gold medals in the World Beer Cup.
4. Blue Moon Is Sold In 25 Countries
If you needed any more proof of how popular Blue Moon Beer is, the fact that it’s sold in 25 different countries should be a pretty clear indication.
5. It Took A While For Blue Moon To Find A Home
Blue Moon Beer was produced by Blue Moon Brewing company for a very long time and, even though it was mostly brewed in its original home of Sandlot Brewery (which later became Blue Moon Brewery at Sandlot), the beer was brewed in multiple locations throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
In 2008, it seemed as though Blue Moon had finally found a permanent home in Golden and Eden, N.C. However, its production was later moved to a MillerCoors Blue Moon brewpub in 2016. This is located in Denver’s RiNo art district.
6. Blue Moon Offer A Free Tour
If you’re a big fan of Blue Moon, you might be interested to learn that you can take a tour of the RiNo brewery where it’s produced. Even better, this tour is totally free of charge and you get to see how it’s all done.
7. Blue Moon Is The Most Popular Beer In Two States
If you visit either Oregon or Maryland, you’ll find Blue Moon available in almost every bar and restaurant. This is because it’s the most popular beer in these two states.
What Does Blue Moon Taste Like?
If you’ve never tried a Blue Moon Beer before and you’d like to know what it tastes like, the first thing to note is that you’re in for a real treat. This beer is really unique and, as you can probably guess by the fact it’s served with a slice of orange, it has some fruity, fresh accents.
Blue Moon is brewed with malted barley, white wheat, Valencia orange peel, cilantro, and oats. Each of these ingredients carries through to the flavor and creates this truly remarkable (and delicious) beer.
You can find Blue Moon in cans, bottles, and kegs. It also has an alcohol volume of 5.4% but, in Minnesota and Utah, the alcohol content of Blue Moon sold in grocery stores is 4.0%. All of Blue Moon’s seasonal beers have a 5.4% alcohol volume.
Blue Moon Belgian White: Review
If you’re still not sure that Blue Moon Belgian White is the right choice of beer for you, take a look at the review below. Here you’ll find aroma and flavor notes, along with our overall judgment.
The most notable aroma notes in Blue Moon Belgian White are spicy pepper and cilantro. You’ll also notice some malt sweetness and hints of lemon, but it’s the pepper and cilantro that really sing out above the rest. If we were to simplify Blue Moon Belgian White’s aroma profile, we’d describe it as floral and slightly spicy.
As we described earlier, Blue Moon Belgian White carries the taste of malted barley, white wheat, Valencia orange peel, cilantro, and oats. This gives it a good balance of acidity and the orange also brings a subtle sweetness. As far as texture is concerned, Blue Moon Belgian White has a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.
It’s easy to believe that Blue Moon Belgian White is a sweet, heavy beer looking at its appearance.
But this isn’t true at all. Sure, there are sweet notes, but it also has an acidity and spiciness to it, which makes it an excellent example of classic Belgian beer. If you’re looking for something truly unique, we’d highly recommend ordering a Blue Moon Belgian Whtie.
Why Is Blue Moon Served With An Orange?
This is something that has confused beer-lovers for some time and, even though we’ve covered this briefly above, we thought it might be a good idea to give you a more detailed explanation. So, just why is Blue Moon served with a slice of orange?
One of the key flavor notes of Blue Moon Belgian White is orange, which comes from the Valencia orange peel it’s brewed with. Serving a slice of orange alongside it helps to enhance the flavor even further, and it was first suggested by Keith Villa, the creator of the beer.
Now, back in the mid-to-late 90s, oranges weren’t a garnish that many bars had. Slices of lemon and lime could be found in abundance, but oranges were almost always missing from the garnish tray.
As such, Blue Moon Belgian White was, at first, always served with a slice of lemon. This was a big problem for Keith as the lemons being used simply didn’t enhance either the flavor or the aroma of the beer.
So, he took matters into his own hands! Keith Villa visited every bar serving Blue Moon Belgian White and, if they didn’t have any oranges, he’d bring his own with him. He even brought along a cutting board and a knife.
This may seem like a pretty drastic measure, but the reason Keith did this was to show his appreciation for the bars selling his beer. He simply wanted it to be served correctly and was willing to educate the bars on how to do it.
After a six year struggle, Blue Moon’s orange peel garnish started to happen on a global level and, nowadays, it’s incredibly rare to be served a Blue Moon Belgian White without a slice of orange.
There is a huge temptation to remove the orange from the glass. But, we implore you to leave it in! You’ll notice that you’re able to taste and smell the citrus notes of your Blue Moon Belgian White so much better if you do.
Are Belgian Moon & Blue Moon The Same Beer?
This really depends on what country you are in. If you ask a bartender for a Blue Moon Beer in Canada, there’s a good chance that they’ll have no idea what you’re talking about. This is because, in Canada, Blue Moon Belgian White is called Belgian Moon.
Put simply, while they are the same exact beer, they have different names in different locations. But why is this? Well, it all comes down to Blue Moon’s complicated history.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, since Blue Moon was launched in 1995, it’s had a couple of controversial moments. The most recent of these was in 2012 when the Brewers Association accused Blue Moon of tricking its customers into thinking it was created by a small, independent brewery.
When Blue Moon launched in Canada, there was a beer already on the market called “Labatt Blue”. This is pretty well-known throughout the country and, as you can imagine, the name Blue Moon could very easily be mistaken for Labatt Blue.
However, while their names were similar, their styles were completely different. So, Blue Moon was renamed Belgian Moon to make it clear that it was a Belgian White style beer. It also prevented the brand from getting into any misunderstandings over labeling again.
This is the explanation given by MillerCoors. But, if you dive a little deeper, there is some belief that this isn’t 100% true.
One Canadian beer writer, beer judge, and Cicerone claims that the name change stems from the fact that Coors was negligent when it came to registering the Blue Moon trademark.
Do a little more research and you’ll find that Blue Moon was created and launched in 1995, however, the brand wasn’t trademarked until as late as 2006! Furthermore, it wasn’t trademarked by Molson Coors.
So, while Molson and Coors entered a partnership in 2005, they didn’t get the Blue Moon trademarked registered in their respective countries at the same time. In the meantime, another company, The Amsterdam Brewing Company, registered the Blue Moon trademark in Canada.
It wasn’t until 2011 that MillerCoors was able to register the Blue Moon trademark in Canada and, in 2013, they managed to secure the registration of the trademark from The Amsterdam Brewing Company.
With this in mind, you might think that, finally, Blue Moon was allowed to be called Blue Moon in Canada, However, things weren’t quite that simple.
Before MillerCoors had the opportunity to register the trademark, Miller sued Molson in a bid to distribute its own brands within Canada. As such, Miller now owns a part of the Blue Moon trademark in Canada and, due to the first, the beer continues to bear the name “Belgian Moon”.
Confusing, isn’t it? Let’s simplify it even further. Essentially, Blue Moon is called Belgian Moon in Canada because a Canadian company registered the Blue Moon trademark before Coors did.
And, even though MillerCoors gained ownership of the trademark in 2013, the conflict between Miller and Molson resulted in it keeping its name of “Belgian Moon”.
So, there you have it. Belgian Moon and Blue Moon Belgian White are the exact same beer. They just have a different name, and will likely continue to do so forevermore.
How Many Types Of Blue Moon Beers Are There?
Blue Moon has created many different beers since the brand was launched in 1995. These include Blue Moon Belgian White. Blue Moon Mango Wheat, and Blue Moon Honey Wheat. This is just the tip of the Blue Moon iceberg though and, throughout the years, there have been 26 Blue Moon beers.
Here’s a full list of them:
|Blue Moon||1995||Originally named “Bellyslide Belgian White”|
|Raspberry Cream Ale||1995||Special release|
|Nut Brown Ale||1995||Released alongside Raspberry Cream Ale|
|Blue Moon Pale Ale||2008||Originally named “Pale Moon”|
|Blue Moon Grand Cru||2010||Strong Belgian white ale|
|Mountain Abbey Ale||2010||Originally named “Blue Moon Winter Ale”|
|Spring Blonde Wheat Ale||2011||Originally named “Blue Moon Spring Ale”|
|Summer Honey Wheat Ale||2011||Originally named “Blue Moon Summer Ale”|
|Harvest Pumpkin Ale||2011||Originally named “Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale”|
|Spiced Amber Ale||2011||No longer available|
|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|
Most of these beers are still available to try today, although you may have to visit some specialist beer shops to find them. However, you may have to put a little extra effort in if you want to try them all, as several have undergone several name changes since they were first released.
The first of these is Honey Moon. Originally named Blue Moon Summer Ale, this beer was renamed in 2006. Then, in 2011, it was renamed again and given its final title of “Summer Honey Wheat Ale”.
Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale is another example of Blue Moon’s tendency to rename its products. Its original name of Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale was changed to Harvest Pumpkin Ale in 2011.
Their seasonal beers also undergo name changes every now and then. For instance, Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale was renamed Blue Moon Winter Ale in 2007. It didn’t stop there though, and in 2012 it was renamed again as Mountain Abbey Ale.
Occasionally, Blue Moon doesn’t only change the name of their beers – they’ll adapt the recipes too. This is what happened with their seasonal beer called Blue Moon Spring Blonde, which was originally named Rising Moon.
In 2011, the recipe was changed by removing the Kaffir lime leaves. This allowed the notes of orange and lemon peel to shine brighter, adding more of a citrus flavor to the beer.
Then, in 2013, both the recipe and the name changed. It was now brewed with Valencia orange peel, roasted malts, and wheat, and was given the name “Valencia Grove Amber”.
It might seem as though this constant renaming of beers and changing of recipes is unnecessary. After all, if something isn’t broken, why would you try to fix it?! But, what this does is create unique, specialist beers that people from all over the scramble to get their hands on.
Is Blue Moon A “Girly” Beer?
First of all, beer doesn’t have a gender, so it can’t really be referred to as “girly”. However, if we’re talking about delicate flavors and citrus notes which are usually associated with a more feminine flavor profile, then Blue Moon would fall into this category.
The combination of orange, cilantro, and oats gives it a delicate flavor that some people may find more palatable. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be female to enjoy it! In fact, many men from all over the world love the taste of Blue Moon.
The texture of Blue Moon Belgian White is another reason why some people label it as “girly”. Again, this is understandable as it’s smooth and creamy, making it much more palatable. But, this also isn’t something that you shouldn’t miss out on in fear of drinking a “girly” drink.
Put simply, if you want to drink Blue Moon, don’t let the idea of it having a “girly” reputation put you off. Not only is it a pretty ridiculous notion, but you’ll simply be missing out on a fantastic, delicious beer. Furthermore, there’s nothing “manly” about chugging down a drink that you find disgusting all in aid of trying to appear more masculine!
Is Blue Moon Lager?
Because of its light color and smooth texture, many people believe that Blue Moon is a lager. But, in fact, it’s actually an ale. Lagers and ales are pretty close in a lot of ways, but there is one big difference – they are made using different strains of yeast.
Lagers are created by using bottom-fermenting strains of yeast, which are held at colder temperatures of around 40-52ºF (4-11ºC). Ales, on the other hand, are brewed using top-fermenting yeasts and held at a warmer temperature, usually around 55-77ºF (12-25ºC).
Of course, there is a lot more biochemistry than this involved in the brewing process. But, the simplest way of determining the difference between lager and ale is just to look at the yeast and the temperature.
There you have it – everything you need to know about Blue Moon including its origin, flavor profile, and all of the variations that have been produced throughout the years. You now even know why it’s served with a slice of orange and, most importantly, you know you should leave it in the glass!
If you’ve never tried Blue Moon before, we’d definitely recommend giving it a go. It’s a delicate beer with hints of citrus and a smooth texture. And, who knows, after just one sip you might have discovered your new favorite drink!