Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blue Moon Vintage Blonde Ale (2012 vintage)

We all know the major macro breweries have been producing faux/"crafty" beers for a while now, but few have actually attempting anything resembling something "top shelf." Though Coors has with their Blue Moon line and has released several high alcohol brews in 750ml bottles. They’re even using the buzzword "vintage" now, like their Vintage Blonde Ale (with a 2012 date on it in case you want to cellar it). While not a horrible beer by any means, it’s simply lame, and I guess that’s the best we could hope for.

2.9
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (792) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 16, 2013
I received a 750ml bottle from a friend for Christmas (thanks, Ben!). I poured it into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Bright gold hue, crystal clear, plenty of visible carbonation. Forms a large, bright white, fizzy head that literally sizzles and fades away as quickly and completely as that of a macro adjunct lager (... the hell?) and leaves no lacing at all.

Smell: Surprisingly reminiscent of an adjunct lager with slight corn/cheap grain scent. Upon closer inspection I do detect some white grape aroma, but mostly it’s an unremarkable nose.

Taste: I would not assume Blue Moon Vintage Blonde Ale is intended for connoisseurs, but you definitely have to have a refined palate and a lot of patience to pick up the actual flavors present in this beer (allegedly). I let this beer warm up for a while and even at the cool (not cold) temperature, I was struggling to find any genuine taste here. My first impression of the taste was the same as my first impression of the nose - it’s surprisingly akin to an adjunct lager. They wouldn’t seriously be using corn or rice in a "Belgian Strong Pale Ale" would they?

By the way, what makes this beer "Belgian" in any way, shape or form? There is absolutely NO mention of Belgian yeast or other characteristics on the bottle or on the brewer’s website.

Anyway, the actual palate is rather bland and uneventful. The first few swigs are eerily similar to that of a clean pale lager. Once I get used to it, I start to notice that subtle chardonnay grape juice flavor a little more, though the wheat character is nowhere to be found. There is essentially no hop presence as all, but that shouldn’t be surprising considering it’s a whopping 2 IBUs according to Blue Moon’s website. There’s a bit of a metallic tang on the finish, but at least there’s no aftertaste. To the brewer’s credit they managed to mask the alcohol at least, so that’s a positive. Otherwise, there’s just nothing to appreciate about this beer other than its price tag (only $12 a CASE!). It would make an ideal transition beer for the hardcore BMC swiller, but otherwise it’s mostly inoffensive but certainly forgettable.

Drinkability: The only saving grace to Blue Moon Vintage Blonde Ale is that it’s highly drinkable. I don’t trust macro breweries with high ABV beers, but the 8.5% alcohol was invisible here in the nose, taste, and weight. The flat, thin mouthfeel makes it chuggable and smooth.
 Grade: 4/10