MillerCoors/Blue Moon Belgian White
5.4% ABV | 9 IBUs
Blue Moon Belgian White is the flagship beer of Blue Moon Brewing Co., an entity within the craft and import division of American behemoth MillerCoors. It is a domestic interpretation of a Belgian-style witbier and, thanks to MillerCoors' wide distribution throughout the U.S., a great place to start for those curious about craft beers.
Launched in 1995, Blue Moon was originally called "Bellyside Wit" because it was brewed at Coors Field's Sandlot Brewery, which was housed adjacent to a baseball stadium in downtown Denver. Creator and brewmaster Keith Villa created an accessible craft beer for fans at the ballgames, having been inspired by the white beers he studied while earning his doctorate's degree in brewing from the University of Brussels in Belgium. Described on the company's website as "inspired by Belgian styles, but with a twist," Villa's interpretation uses Valencia orange peel instead of the traditional tart Curaçao peel, for a subtle sweetness. Oats and wheat were also added to create a smooth, creamy finish. But the coup de grâce isn't even an element of the beer itself, but its strongly suggested garnish: an orange slice to complement the citrus aroma and taste.
In fact, Villa and his team would often drop off bags of oranges with each delivery when bar owners gave overwhelming feedback about how popular the pairing was with their customers. It was a key moment in the uncertain beginnings of any craft beer — especially since bartenders were initially pairing the brew with lemon wedges, which normally suit the tart flavor of traditional Belgian wits. Pour in Blue Moon's customized wide-mouthed glass to highlight its depth, and you have a beer with all the accoutrements of a fun, seasonal beverage.
Blue Moon Belgian White pours with medium head, mild carbonation, and a cloudy orange color due its unfiltered state. It is brewed with oats and spiced with coriander, and the nose will pick up both of these notes in addition to a candied orange aroma as well as an inviting creaminess. The flavor is crisp and tangy with a subtle sweetness from the citrus, and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel from the oats. It has won gold and silver awards at the World Beer Championship over the years and is refreshing and light enough to tempt even the most stubborn light American lager drinkers. Overall, an unintimidating introduction to craft-style wheat ales with a memorable citrus twist that will close out the rest of your summer pretty perfectly.