3AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
If a beer is usually drunk with a slice of a citrus fruit in it, can it honestly be reviewed naked? Corona
is probably the most famous beer of this type, a Mexican lager always served in the bottle, never on tap, with a wedge of lime in the neck of the bottle. But then there’s Blue Moon, which is often served on tap with a wedge of orange in the glass. Drinking it at home, it’s not quite the same experience. Still, this is a tasty beer either way, even if it is made by a mass market brewer attempting to mimic a craft beer.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Blue Moon, or more specifically, Blue Moon Belgian White, is of the traditional Belgian wheat beer style very similar to a hefeweizen. It pours to a very hazy light orange color with a small layer of white head. There isn’t much carbonation action present, but it’s rare beers of this type are hosts to bubble dances.
The aroma is also typical of a Belgian style – most notably of orange and an overall citrusy scent with a bit of clove. Beers that smell more like juice are always a good thing in my book.
I mentioned the dilemma about drinking a beer with or without a piece of fruit in it. I’ve had Blue Moon Belgian White many times on tap with orange and it’s always been delicious. The only problem is the orange taste can be a little overwhelming and gives the beer a tart, gimmicky taste. The first time I ever had it, a friend told me I had to try “that orange-flavored beer.” Now I realize that’s not really the case, since it’s a Belgian White which traditionally have strong fruity flavors.
Straight out of the bottle Blue Moon tastes like a very sweet beer and makes for a great party alternative. However, I find drinking the beer out of a pint glass opens up the beer much more. You can’t appreciate the aroma in the bottle and the air helps expand the complex flavoring here, which is mostly orange peel and coriander with a hint of clove.
And it’s the taste that makes Blue Moon so good. Sans fruit it’s very tasty and is especially impressive considering it’s not only an American take on a wholly European style, but a mass-market brewery at that (yes, it’s made by Coors, technically speaking). With the addition of an orange slice, Blue Moon has an even sweeter taste, although it could be considered too gimmicky depending on the drinker as well as the quality of the orange.
I can’t think of a hefeweizen or any kind of Belgian White style of beer that was anything other than extremely smooth. My two favorites of the style – Saranac’s Belgian White and Magic Hat’s Circus Boy are so sweet and so smooth that they drink like juice. Blue Moon is equally smooth, so be sure to keep it out of the reach of children.
Wheat beers aren’t known for being light in body, nor are they overwhelming like stouts. Blue Moon’s body is dead-center on the weight scale. As it stands it’s not absolutely bursting with taste, but had it been any lighter it’s for sure it wouldn’t have been as full-flavored.
I’m sorry it took me this long to review Blue Moon since I’ve always thought of it as “that orange-flavored beer” for years. Now that I’m a bit more experienced I can say this is a commendable effort by a major American brewery to replicate a niche European style.
NOTE: Read and watch my 2014 re-review here: http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2014/02/blue-moon-belgian-white-2014-re-review.html