Blue moon and shock top are amazing Belgian Witbier with different target audiences. These zesty beers are currently one of the most talked-about alcoholic beverages due to their tang and spicy feel on the tongue. They have been adopted by many beer lovers as a summertime choice. But which is better between the two? Here’s a short answer to that question:
While Blue moon and Shock top are both Belgian Witbiers brewed with citrus, Blue moon has decent acidic carbonation, whereas Shock top has low carbonation. Although they both taste tangy, Blue moon has a crispy aftertaste, whereas Shock top has a sour aftertaste.
The rest of this article will help to explain the differences between these two in great detail, highlighting factors like mouthfeel, flavor, alcohol content, and even brand image.
When trying to figure out which beer is better, flavor is one of the first things to consider. Blue moon and Shock top are both Belgian Witbiers, which tells you they have similar brewing processes.
Consequently, this means that their flavors are slightly similar. However, their tastes differ due to the ingredients used to make these prestigious beers. Witbiers often have a tart taste with a refreshing finish.
That said, Blue moon’s ingredients include pure water, malted barley, corn syrup, hops, and yeast. Corn syrup being the main ingredient used in the production of Blue moon. As you may expect, this gives the blue moon a strong, corn-like flavor that leaves you feeling refreshed every time you drink.
On the other hand, Shock Top includes two-row barley and imported Hallertau hops mixed with cascade and Willamette hops. Interestingly, the combination of these ingredients gives it a citrus-like flavor. Upon drinking this beer, you can taste the presence of orange, lemon, and lime peels.
According to the standard Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines, the IBU range for a Belgian Witbier is between 8 and 20
IBU is an abbreviation for International Bitterness Units. It is a metric used to measure how bitter a particular beer is.
Blue moon has an IBU level between 9 – 12. So, the Blue moon company’s flagship beer is said to have a moderate bitterness level, which significantly contributes to its zesty feel.
On the other hand, Shock top has a bitterness level of 10, which makes its bitterness average among commercial beers. People who love citrus-tasting beers tend to go for Shock top, while others who prefer beers that taste like corn go for Blue moon.
Although they’re both zesty beers, they have totally different mouthfeels. Shock top has low carbonation. Coupled with its bitterness level, each can of this beer has a lot of character.
Character in this context means how memorable the taste is and how many bubbles and fizz it produces in your mouth when you drink. On the other hand, Blue moon has acidic carbonation and a moderate IBU level. These combine to give Blue moon a similar amount of character and a bit of sourness. Also, it has a slight hint of malt and cream.
So, if you want something that tastes slightly sour and gives a mildly sour aftertaste, it’s best you go for Blue moon. On the flip side, go for Shock top if you want a beer with a less noticeable aftertaste.
Smell isn’t the first thing to consider when trying to compare beers. However, smell is quite essential when gauging long-term tolerance for any beer. Because of the amount of citrus added to make Shock top, the beer smells very “orangey.” As you may expect, this smell makes it very popular among many fruit-loving people.
Contrastingly, Blue moon has an artificial smell. It also has quite a stale smell that becomes very present when you put it to your lips. So, when it comes to smell, more people seem to prefer Shock top to Blue moon.
Brewing Process & Ingredients
The brewing processes of shock top and blue moon are quite similar because these beers are Belgian witbiers. In a beer industry that largely got taken over by lagers, it has stood the test of time, thanks to Pierre Celis.
The Witbier is made by mixing two significant ingredients; barley malt and unmalted wheat. Malted wheat can also be used, but you may end up with beer similar to American wheat. You can optionally add oats into the mix to enhance the body and smooth mouthfeel of the beer.
Add some hops and spices, and boil the final mixture for about 90 minutes to ensure the best quality. Like lagers, the fermentation process is done at high temperatures, ranging from 62-65°F. Typically, this fermentation process lasts between 2-3 days. But while Blue moon includes corn syrup in its brewing process, Shock top does not.
In any fermentation process, barley malt is essential. It helps to improve and hasten the fermentation process. Also, it reduces the amount of cholesterol in beer and reduces your chance of developing cardiovascular diseases.
ABV volume is an essential criterion to consider when trying to determine which beer is better. ABV, short for alcohol by volume, is the amount of alcohol you can find in a particular amount of beer. Most beers have ABV volumes that range between 3-10%.
Shock top has an ABV volume of 5.2%, which is considered relatively high when you compare this figure to many other commercial beers. Blue moon has an even higher ABV volume, coming in at 5.4%.
Perhaps, this ABV volume is attributed to their alcohol type and the brewing process involved. This ABV volume variance between these beers means you will get drunk slightly faster when drinking Blue moon.
So, if you want to get drunk faster while drinking fewer cans/bottles of beer, I suggest you go for Blue moon. On the other hand, if you want to drink more beer before getting drunk, choose the Shock top.
What Do Other People Think About Both Beers?
Shock top and Blue moon have lots of similarities, and thus, choosing between these two can be challenging. Dozens of beer review sites compare these two and judge the quality of each. However, many of these comments aren’t vetted for quality; they’re primarily reviews from inexperienced beer critics and drinkers.
Luckily, a few beer review sites carefully scrutinize every review entry before posting it on their website. These review sites include Drizly, Ratebeer, and the most popular, Beer Advocate. We’ve compiled the average scores for these beers from these certified beer review sites.
|Platform||Blue Moon||Shock Top|
From these scores, you can see that people slightly prefer Blue moon to Shock top. After compiling the average scores from these sites and averaging again, we got a 7.1 score for Blue moon and 7.0 for Shock top.
However, before making any hasty decisions because of these numbers, try as much as possible to try both beers for yourself. Only then can you determine which is subjectively better for you.
MillerCoors created Blue moon Belgian white in 1995, and it’s been a hit since then. Now, it’s the #1 craft beer in the US. Also, it’s loved by millions of people across 25+ countries. You might have been seeing different labels of blue moon and wondering if it tastes different. The different label is as a result of the different locations where blue moon is brewed.
Oregon and Maryland record the highest sales of this beer in the US. Every serving of Blue moon is served with a slice of orange. According to the manufacturers, this slice helps to bring out Blue moon’s flavor further.
Not surprisingly, this beer has won multiple awards, such as the 2012 World Beer Cup silver medalist – Blue Moon Vintage Blonde Ale, Fruit Wheat Beer Category, the 2008 World Beer Cup gold medalist,-Specialty Honey Lager or Ale category for Blue Moon’s Honey Moon,
and the 2016 World Beer Cup silver medalist – First Peach Ale, Fruit Wheat Beer Category.
In addition to the original Blue moon, MillerCoors has created several other variants of this beer. Some of these include Blue moon pumpkin ale, Blue moon winter abbey ale, and Blue moon spring blond ale. Interestingly, these beers are all made available at different times of the year.
Shock top was originally called Spring Heat Spiced Wheat and was created in 2006. It recorded almost instant success, as many people loved this beer. Similar to Blue Moon, this beer has won multiple awards.
Some of these awards include the gold and bronze medals in the Belgian witbier category during the 2006 and 2007 North American Beer awards. These medals have made it become one of America’s most sought-after beers.
Blue moon and Shock top have always been known to be direct competitors to each other. They split the zesty beer target audience quite fairly. Although they’re both Witbiers, they possess many qualities that make them unique in their own right.
Ultimately, the choice of which is better comes down to a subjective view. Some people prefer the sour mouthfeel and prominent character. If that’s the case for you, go for Blue moon. On the other hand, if you don’t mind a bitter taste and a citrus flavor, Shock top is the better option.