Blue Moon is a very popular Canadian-made beer based on the old, proud tradition of Belgian Whites. It has a very light, crisp, citrus-heavy flavor. Although it’s made by MillerCoors, it caters heavily to the discerning craft beer market and offers a more robust drinking experience than MillerCoors’ other flagship beers.
Blue Moon is a Belgian White style beer brewed in Canada. It has a bright, citrus-forward flavor with notes of delicate malt and herbs. Its texture, overall, is very drinkable. Blue Moon Belgian White is a great beer for a warm summer afternoon if you feel like something more refreshing and flavorful than a typical mass-produced American beer.
Of course, that’s far from the whole story. In this article, we’ll walk you through the flavor profile of Blue Moon Belgian White as well as the brewing process, smell, mouthfeel, and what makes Belgian White such a popular beer.
The first sip of Blue Moon offers a crisp, delicate flavor. It has plenty of citrus notes beneath the immediate malt sweetness, with orange at the forefront of the palate. MillerCoors includes orange peel and coriander in their brewing process for Blue Moon, so this makes sense. The inclusion of these fruity ingredients is what gives Blue Moon its distinctive flavor profile and is a big part of why this beer tastes the way it does.
It definitely packs more punch in the flavor department than, for example, the flagship beers from like Miller High Life or Coors Light. Perhaps MillerCoors is attempting to cater to a beer-drinking market that demands more from their beer than simple refreshment.
Although coriander is an ingredient in Blue Moon, it does not have much by way of grassy herbiness. It has more of the bright citric flavor of coriander as used in Asian cuisine, a welcome addition to this beer that neatly prevents the malt notes from becoming overpowering. Although this beer can be a touch bready on the palate, its citric sweetness and acidity really help balance that out.
Blue Moon isn’t very bitter at all. Any lingering bitterness on the palate probably tastes more of the bitterness in the orange peel than the classic hoppy bitterness on the finish. There’s minimal aftertaste, although the aftertaste that it does present is a touch sweeter than the forward palate.
Overall, Blue Moon has a very crisp, clean flavor, nicely accentuated by notes of malt and citrus. A very easy beer to drink in warm weather. One imagines that a Blue Moon would go down particularly well on a camping trip.
MillerCoors recommends enjoying your Blue Moon with a slice or a wedge of orange. This really accentuates the citrus notes in the beer’s palate, although it’s considerably easier to add orange to a glass of beer than to the bottle. We recommend trying your Blue Moon with a slice of orange as it definitely brings out more character from the beer.
Blue Moon has a pleasantly medium amount of body. It’s actually a little creamier on the tongue than many other wheat beers, although it isn’t exactly thick and soupy. The beer has more body than the typical watery MillerCoors offerings, and it’s easy to reach for another beer after finishing your first.
You can easily drink Blue Moon in bulk, and its medium body and a pleasant amount of fizz complements the beer’s flavor.
Blue Moon has a nice spicy, citrusy aroma. Raising the glass to your nose offers immediate citrus notes, dominated by orange peel and coriander. There’s also a touch of pepper in the aroma, reminiscent of nasturtium flowers rather than freshly cracked black pepper. There’s a little grainy sweetness, too. Overall this is quite a strong smell for an American beer, but par for the course when considering Belgian-style beers.
Blue Moon is a Belgian-style witbier. What sets these beers apart is their distinctively cloudy appearance, which gives them their name of “Belgian white”.
This hazy appearance actually comes from the suspended yeast and wheat proteins throughout the beer. These make the beer turn opaque and hazy when chilled. Typically, Belgian witbiers are served cold and look absolutely beautiful in a beer glass. Their cloudy white appearance really stands out when served on tap or poured into a glass.
Blue Moon, in keeping with Belgian tradition, includes oats, which help add to the beer’s cloudiness.
Blue Moon pours minimal head, in keeping with the style. The little head there is, is a snowy white that quickly dissipates.
Blue Moon’s packaging is really distinctive, too. Its pale blue label pictures a large, blue full moon casting its light on a silent winter forest. It definitely looks like a beer for enjoying in the great outdoors, perhaps a nod on MillerCoors’ part to their long-standing imagery surrounding the American outdoors.
Blue Moon Calories and Alcohol Content
Blue Moon Belgian White has a relatively strong 5.4% ABV, which is significantly more than most of MillerCoors’ other offerings.
Each 12oz bottle of Blue Moon contains 168 calories and 14.1g of carbohydrates.
All in all, this is definitely not a light beer, even though the drinking experience can be light and refreshing.
Why Does Blue Moon Taste Like This?
Blue Moon owes its distinctive citrusy flavor to the inclusion of orange peel, coriander, and oats in the brewing process.
Blue Moon is brewed using white wheat, malted barley, and the aforementioned orange peel, coriander, and oats.
Blue Moon, as an ale, is brewed using top-fermenting yeast at warm temperatures (60˚–70˚F). It has a distinctive flavor and texture in keeping with the Belgian-style wheat beer. This brewing process is why it tastes so different from a typical American-style light lager, even the ones produced in the same MillerCoors-owned breweries.
Blue Moon Brewing History
Once upon a time, Blue Moon was called Bellyslide Belgian White. It became popular relatively quickly following its introduction in 1995, the name changed to Blue Moon (or Belgian Moon in Canada), and the beer now enjoys international distribution.
In 1999, the Confederation of Belgian Breweries sued Blue Moon’s parent company, the Coors Brewing Company (as it was then named), over their use of the term “Belgian White”. They argued that doing so was misleading to American consumers who would mistake the beer for the real thing, brewed in Belgium. Accordingly, Blue Moon labels now read “Belgian-style Wheat Ale”, although the branding of “Belgian White” remains.
Later, Blue Moon endured criticism from the Brewers Association in 2012 for masquerading as a craft beer despite being made by macro brewer MillerCoors.
Despite these controversies, Blue Moon remains a popular beer to this day.
What Do Other People Think?
It’s always worth looking at how others view a brew. Blue Moon is very popular, so we checked out a few reviews from across the Internet.
Blue Moon enjoys positive reviews across the board, with Drizly drinkers rating it most highly at 9.6 and RateBeer giving it a more moderate score of 5.94. Most drinkers appreciated Blue Moon’s representation of the Belgian White style, appreciating its flavor and appearance in particular.
One Beeradvocate reviewer had this to say about their Blue Moon drinking experience:
“Overall this is an enjoyable beer. It’s no wonder Blue Moon is so popular. To me this is one of the better beers for enjoying outdoors. Very refreshing, but has more to it than other macrobrews. I’ve somehow avoided this one for years, but I think this will be added to my summer and camping beer rotation.”Source
Is All Blue Moon Belgian White?
Blue Moon has several offerings currently available under the Blue Moon banner. This includes several seasonal brews, such as Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale, also known as Full Moon, and a spring ale called Rising Moon. Currently, Blue Moon has citrus wheat, mango wheat, and a “hazy, juicy pale ale” on offer. Their beers generally adhere to the Belgian wheat beer style, with clear additions (like mango) to differentiate them from the flagship Blue Moon beer.
Because Blue Moon is not produced in Belgium, it is not, strictly speaking, a Belgian white beer. However, the use of orange peel, wheat, and oats in its brewing process definitely makes it a Belgian white-style beer, even if it’s brewed in the US or Canada. The inclusion of distinctively non-Belgian ingredients like mango in their other brews would probably further exclude Blue Moon from strict consideration in the Belgian White category, but overall this beer is best described as emblematic of the Belgian White style.
Blue Moon is a clear attempt on MillerCoors’ part to court a more discerning beer-drinking demographic than they typically catered to. In particular, younger beer drinkers in the past decade have leaned toward craft beers and beers with more adventurous, flavorful drinking experiences. Blue Moon was one of the earliest Belgian White-style beers available in the US and set a clear trend that was later followed by Anheuser-Busch’s Shock Top.