Blue Moon will be releasing its first-ever white IPA in April, but you can try it earlier at secret tastings in major cities
Come to the dark side, Blue Moon… we have hops.
Blue Moon, like so many of its big beer competitors, has caught on that these days, people simply seem to prefer craft beer over big-brand domestics. Just look at the numbers, which show that craft beer is outselling Budweiser. Blue Moon has accepted that big brands must “join or die,” and will be releasing its first-ever white IPA as part of its twentieth anniversary celebrations.
The beer will officially hit stores on April 1 (hopefully it’s not a joke!), but you can hop in on the action earlier with Blue Moon’s secret tasting parties being held in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, and Nashville. Blue Moon will release the GPS coordinates on social media, and once you get there, you’ll be one of the first to try Blue Moon’s first bottled foray into the craft scene. Don’t take your time getting there, either, because the first 20 fans to arrive at the undisclosed locations will receive a map to an intimate future beer dinner with one of Blue Moon's brewmasters.
“When we decided to brew an IPA, we wanted to do something different," said Keith Villa, founder and head brewmaster of Blue Moon Brewing Company. "We ultimately wanted to brew a beer that captures the best of both styles: part American IPA and part Belgian-Style White. And since we had so much fun finding ingredients, we thought it would be fun to get our fans in on the search as well."
Here’s the taste profile breakdown: the beer is “medium-bodied” with “hop citrus and orange peel citrus complementing the wheat and malts for a uniquely balanced IPA bitterness,” and the finish is “crisp and surprisingly balanced.”
Blue Moon First Peach Ale Coors Brewing Company (Molson-Coors)
Protips: Explain why you're giving this rating. Your review must discuss the beer's attributes (look, smell, taste, feel) and your overall impression in order to indicate that you have legitimately tried the beer. Nonconstructive reviews may be removed without notice and action may be taken on your account.
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2.3 /5 rDev -32.4%
look: 1.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75
Don't get that quality in the taste. Mostly some alka-seltzer-like flavor.
Almost OK, very one dimensional.
3.04 /5 rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25
Its a very sweet beer that would be good if it wasn't so overcompensating with sugar. I still enjoyed it, but more than 1 and i feel bloated with sugar.
5 /5 rDev +47.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
I have sampled many of the Blue Moon seasonal and specialty varieties, hoping to find one that would appeal to customers who prefer the basic Belgian White, which has to be considered a phenomenal success in look, smell, taste, and feel. The only one that succeeds is the First Peach Ale that I found in Alaska in June. The darker look and the smell, which ups the fruit component, which are not as important, are fine. The taste and feel are compatible with the original orange-tinged formulation, and that makes it the only winner as a supplement for those who appreciate Belgian White.
4.13 /5 rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
My wife brings home different and sometimes intriguing beers when she goe shopping. She doesn't drink but knows my tastes. This was from one of those trips. I like a beer with steak and this was no exception. I was expecting flavor like some of the citrus beers-hoppy and lighter. I was surprised to see this pour darker. Not a lot of head in the Tulip glass but reasonable. Flavor was a surprise. IT was heavy on the peach which for the moment I was in was really good. Surprisingly good with a New York Strip but the real treat came later. I had some left and drank it with dessert. Raspberry ice cream. That "pairing" was sheer heaven. If nothing else, this is a great dessert beer.
3.29 /5 rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25
Color, a reddish bronze. Moderate carbonation, fairly thin off white head. Nose: prominent sweet peach overwhelms everything else maybe also some honey notes. How sweet will this be?
Fortunately, it's not too sweet. In fact it's tangy rather than sweet. A bit thin overall, with the peach not nearly as prominent in the taste as in the nose. Malts are a bit flat, hops are mild, and end of the flavor is somewhat watery. Mouthfeel: some initial tingles, then a thin sudsy aspect. Drinkable but not as rich as I'd hoped, and I think I'd tire of it fairly quickly.
Brown bottle, poured into glass, dated "MAY1616."
hman43 from North Carolina
3.01 /5 rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75
Look: It pours amber with a large off white head.
Smell: The aroma is dominated by peach. There is a slight bit of floral hop and a bit of toast.
Taste: The peach is the first thing that comes in the taste. There are other flavors such as floral and a slight toast. The peach taste is not the taste that comes from fruity esters, but instead those from peach juice.
Feel: It has a light feel towards medium with a moderately bitter twang on the palate.
Overall: It is a fruity beer, but the fruit flavors are more from juice than from fruity esters. It is a light, refreshing session ale.
3.06 /5 rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3
12oz bottle. Poured out a murky brown color with a small, thin head of foam. It smelled of light peach notes, caramel and floral notes. Sweet caramel and peach. Not much else.
3.12 /5 rDev -8.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
Pours a lot darker than I expected (also didn't necessarily expect to see this classified as a brown ale, so my day is full of surprises as you can tell), and smell is much fainter than one would suggest, but pleasantly mild, appropriate and loyal to the scent of peaches. Taste is also relatively mild, not very tart at all, but with enough of a pronounced fruitiness and lingering, caramel malt taste that gives it a decadent balance. The feel for this is just right, given the kind of perplexing combination of caramel and peach.
I really like the route Miller is going with Blue Moon and AB is going with Shock Top, especially with their two seasonal offerings, with Shock Top Summer Grapefruit being the specific point of reference for the competitive brand. Both take fairly common additions in beer and, rather than giving them a horribly bitter or bland consistency, simply use other qualities and characteristics of the beer, such as the malt and the wheat to make the flavors almost milky and appealing. Some may think both beers lack character I think they cater more towards a beer drinker who isn't looking for his palette annihilated nor annoyingly disturbed.
A fundamentally interesting beer on several levels.
3.23 /5 rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
I bought a 6-pack of 12oz bottles of Blue Moon First Peach at my local liquor store tonight (Sun Mar 20, 2016) on a whim, for $10.03 incl tax. It's supposedly flavored with peaches and coriander, which seemed an intriguingly bizarre combo.
On pouring into a clear glass, displays a nice deep orange-red color like a setting sun. Medium-thick coarse-bubbled light-tan head. The nose in the glass gives naught but the smell of raw elemental iron (like a fresh scrubbed cast iron skillet). Taking a swig yields light hop flavor, light malt flavor, noticeable peach flavor, light-moderate acidity, and more elemental iron flavor, with a mild but somewhat-annoying blue-cheese smell on exhaling through nose.
Not a great ale, but not bad. Ok for guzzling cold from the fridge on a warm autumn or spring night, with some pretzels. I'll give it 3.5 stars out of 5.
3.58 /5 rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 6/13/2016. Pours crystal clear deep ruby red/light brown color with a 2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of juicy peach, apricot, pear, orange citrus, coriander, light clove, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of peach fruit, spice, dark/bready malt, and light yeast notes with solid strength. Taste of juicy peach, apricot, pear, orange citrus, coriander, light clove, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/spice bitterness on the finish with lingering notes of peach, apricot, pear, orange citrus, coriander, light clove, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice complexity, robustness, and balance of peach fruit, spice, dark/bready malt, and light yeast flavors with a good malt/bitter/spiciness balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and body with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a good fruit/spiced brown ale style. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of peach fruit, spice, dark/bready malt, and light yeast flavors and very smooth and easy to drink. It is labeled as a Belgian brown, but tastes like regular brown ale hints of yeast character are in the background. A nicely enjoyable offering.
3.65 /5 rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
I tried this from the bottle poured chilled in a stange.
The color is medium ruddy amber which borders on bronze with light khaki head with good clarity. The smell has a peachy fruit and light floral aroma with light malt odor with toastiness in the smell. The feel is mildly sweet up front with medium high carbonation and light malt toastiness with light tart element and mild dry finish with low alcohol.
The taste is good with mild peach flesh taste with slight sweet entry and light malt with toast and slight caramel accent with dry finish and mild fruit tanginess in the taste. This is decent fruit-wise as it warms the flavor improves with a mix of peach and malt but it does seem almost chalky dry. I would say this is better than average considering it mentions Belgian style but is listed as American brown here
2.87 /5 rDev -15.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75
Overly sweetened after the peach flavor, as though they added peach to the boil, then extra sugar "just in case." Like other Blue Moon fruit seasonals, it leaves an permiating saccharine residue that makes you feel like you're drinking badly hopped soda. Hardly any of the back wheat flavor that Blue Moon Belgian White grew famous for. Might be good for someone who doesn't like beer.
2.17 /5 rDev -36.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.25
I recently picked this up at The Friendly Greek Bottle Shop here in Lancaster, PA out of a sense of curiosity & since I am drinking a 750-ml bottle of Rogue Double Chocolate Stout, once I finish the review, I am going to see how well (if at all) the two blend together.
From the bottle: "For this year's Early-Season Release, our brewmaster crafted this slightly tart ale with notes of peach and coriander." "Seasonal Collection" "With one foot in winter and the other in spring, we crafted this Belgian-inspired Brown Ale with flavors of peach and coriander to complement both. It has a tart taste balanced by caramel malts for the cooler days and peach notes for the warmer ones."
Once again, this is one of those screw-top bottles, so no Pop! I gave it a good pour to briefly raise two fingers of foamy, light-tan head with low retention. Color was Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a light peach sweetness, but it seemed kind of light since it got top billing. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium, a little watery in the mouth. The taste was odd, with the peach evident, but not really assertive, coupled with an unexpected sourness. It was not tart, it was sour. Finish had a harsh aftertaste that was vaguely of peach, but more of something else. I do not know if it was the addition of the coriander or if something else was causing these flavors, but it was just not to my liking. I NEVER do drain pours, but this one had me at least looking in the direction of the sink. Blah!
3.59 /5 rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
Pours a hazy copper with a foamy tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. A foamy lattice of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of peach, peach juice, and slight spice aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly burnt toast, peach, peach juice, and earth flavors on the finish. There is a very mild amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a flavor that is sort of like burnt toast with peach jelly.
3.25 /5 rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25
Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours red orange with a small white head. Smells of canned peach and slight grain. Tastes of a nice malty beer with some peach notes, however, the peach seems artificial, and slightly like canned peach. Beer is light bodied, nicely carbonation, easy drinking. Overall an average beer.
Immortale25 from North Carolina
3.52 /5 rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
Poured into a Dogfish traditional oversized snifter. Bottleneck says AUG0315.
A- Pours a light brown color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that doesn't retain long before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and some sparse wispy surface foam. Not-so-resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.
S- If they made sweet peach tea licorice, this is what it would smell like. Enough said.
T- Flavor is more malt-forward with the peach providing a sweetness to complement. The peach is, admittedly, artificial tasting but it works decently within the flavor construct.
M- Somewhat syrupy with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.
O- Though it is very one-dimensional, it's within the realm of drinkability for me as it's not cloyingly sweet and the malt character makes me feel like I'm still drinking beer and not a peach shandy. Either way, there are better beers out there that utilize this particular fruit.
3.16 /5 rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25
12 oz bottle pours a clear amber color with an ample head of tan head. Retention is ok and lacing nonexistent.
Nose is toasted malt and those sugar-covered peach gummy candy - heavy on the candy aspect.
Taste bumps up the toasted, near burnt maltiness to offset the sweet peach flavor enough to finish short of cloying. Its not as bad as many of the BM offerings, but there is still a little something offputting about it that would prevent me from ever buying a sixer for myself.
3.53 /5 rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
Looks great, smells peachy, but honestly doesn’t taste as advertised. I’m trying to taste peach. If it’s peach flavored, it’s faint. The purists will scoff at fruit flavored beer and that’s fine, let ‘em abstain. But if I’m drinking a fruit flavored ale I want/expect it to taste like that fruit. That said, I like the way this ale tastes peach flavored or not (and for me, it’s not).
3.91 /5 rDev +15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle from a friend at work whose tastes are sllloooowwlllyy
coming around to something other than "golden delicious---aka Bud"
This brew pours a very nice reddish amber with a decent white head of foam that dissipates to a thick layer and ring with solid lacing. Nose of a fresh picked basket of peaches, subtle sweet wheat, and a hint of lemon zest. Flavors follow the nose with moderate peach notes on all sides, light compared to the nose, sweet wheat flavors on the sides and back, a touch of spice, and a light lemon zest note on the rear. Moderate carbonation with a light mouth feel from the wheat and a light tart finish. Unique. For what this is, it is a decent brew/
4 /5 rDev +17.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
Very good offering from Blue Moon - I was expecting the normally sweet, syrupy beer for the fruity persuasion, but was surprised with a nice mix between the ale and peach. At first, when you think about it, you wonder if this could even work - but somehow - it does.
I truly like the dark amber color of brew, with the tan head (with some decent staying power.) You can certainly smell and taste the peaches, and not sweet, but definitely there. Overall, a really good beer to have with friends - especially if you are trying to introduce them to the love of beer.
3.38 /5 rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25
A: Dark, reddish, 1 inch off white head, decent lacing
S: Peach, wheat malts, slight hop
T: Pretty decent, I get the characteristic blue moon wheat taste, with some peach, sweetness, slight hop bitterness at the end to balance
M: Light to medium, good carbonation
O: A decent beer. Once again, this blue moon is like all others, pretty much the same beer but a slight difference so they can call it something else. The original Belgian white is still the best theyve got.
2.83 /5 rDev -16.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75
Appearance: Amber, almost dark caramel in color. Pours with a two finger head but quickly disappears. Little to no lacing.
Smell: Very easy to detect the peach notes, with an additional citrus smell.Overall smells very nice, almost like peaches that have been sitting in a can rather than a freshly cut peach.
Taste: Malty, very noticeable peach flavor which was to be expected. After letting it warm on the palate, a slight lemon and additional citrus with some spice comes out. Overall light and refreshing taste, not overwhelming in the peach flavor, but nothing that stands out about this beer.
Mouthfeel: Light feel. A slightly heavier body would have gone nicely with such a noticeable peach and citrus flavor. However, such a light body does make it nice for a refreshing beer on a warm day. Easy to drink.
Overall: Decent beer overall, definitely worth a try. However, nothing to drive a distance to try and get a hold of. I picture this as a beer to have after mowing the lawn or finishing up some work outside on a warm day. I would not want to drink this with dinner or a beer I'd really look forward to drinking when I get home.
3.47 /5 rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours with an off-white head that is two fingers width in height that quickly settles to one finger width. Has a clean amber color. Has aromas of peach, wheat, and a slightly bitter smell that I can't wuite determine. Initial taste is of peaches and a hint of coriander. Blan wheat flavors soon follow with small hints of hops, too, as coriander flavors grow stronger and peach flavors fade. Final taste has a waterdowned component. Definitely a drinkable beer. Wouldn't mind buying a six pack during the season that it comes out.
2.71 /5 rDev -20.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75
Good at first. I like the peach. But was honestly a drain pour. Syrupy, slick. Very sweet molasses sugar. Left a filmy layer the brown ale base was too sweet here.
3.48 /5 rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
Clear orange-golden color with a quickly receding head. Strong candied peach smell. It had a fairly clean peach taste that wasn't overwhelming and stopped short of being syrupy or sugary while bing balanced out by citrus at the tip of the tongue. Light body with moderate carbonation.
Coors made an effort to infuse peach into it's Blue Moon and it worked. It could've worked better, but this wasn't a failure. The peach is there and the beer essence is still there even if the candied smell and light body are off.
12 Things You Should Know Before Drinking A Blue Moon
Even people who aren't beer drinkers can get on board with Blue Moon &mdash who can say no to an effervescent, Belgian-style brew, served with a juicy orange slice? But that's not to say that the beer can't stand up to other big names in the business. The brand has opened some way-cool breweries and tasting rooms, made a name for itself around the world, and consistently experiments with new flavors and ingredients. Here are 12 fun facts to know about the beloved Belgian White.
Over 20 years ago, one creative brewer named Keith Villa started churning out beers at the 2,700-square-foot SandLot Brewery in Denver, CO. Villa would later become known as the brand's founder and head brewmaster.
The SandLot Brewery was the first-ever brewery housed inside a major league ballpark, so it makes sense that the beers on tap were named after the game played there. Slugger Stout and Rightfield Red went over well, but Bellyslide Wit was the hit that changed everything. The SandLot still makes 1,500 barrels of beer per year to serve during Colorado Rockies home games.
You've likely sipped on a Bellyside Wit and not even realized it &mdash now, the brand's flagship beer is known as Blue Moon Belgian White, a name that came to be when someone said, "a beer this good only comes around once in a blue moon." It's stuck ever since, and today, you can find it all over the world.
Blue Moon's co-founder, Keith Villa, knew what he was doing when he started whipping up creative beers at The SandLot. In fact, he got his PhD in brewing in Belgium, where foreign combinations of ingredients inspired his recipe, consisting of malted barley, white wheat, Valencia orange peel, coriander and oats. When he saw European bartenders serving beer with lemon wedges, it struck him that fresh orange slices would complement his Belgian-style wit perfectly.
Bet you didn't know that Blue Moon is constantly creating new varieties of beer! The offerings go way beyond the Belgian White that we know and love &mdash thanks to a pilot brewing system, customers have their pick of more than 20 rotating taps year-round, including kicked-up creations like Iced Coffee Blonde and Chile Golden Ale.
In addition to Belgian White, faithful Blue Moon fans can also find Mango Wheat and Summer Honey Wheat (a current seasonal) on shelves &mdash but what if your long-lost favorite went out of rotation years ago? Lucky for you, the brand occasionally does limited releases, bringing nostalgic picks like Raspberry Cream Ale back for a short period.
Blue Moon Belgian White and Honey Moon have both claimed gold medals in the World Beer Championship and World Beer Cup, respectively, and the brand has experts on staff who know what it takes to make really good, quality beer. Manager of Beer Education at MillerCoors, Daniel Imdieke, is also a certified Master Cicerone &mdash the equivalent of a sommelier in the beer world &mdash of which there are only 16 in the world.
Nine million barrels of beer come out of the massive MillerCoors brewery site in Golden, CO every year, but Blue Moon has a dedicated location in the RiNo District of Denver. The tasting room there serves pours of an ever-changing variety of beers, all while tracking sales to test them for success. There's also a Blue Moon TapHouse located in Norfolk, VA.
Thanks to the RiNo brewery's walk-through tour, visitors can peek behind the scenes and check out the equipment that Head Brewmaster John Legnard and other brewery staff use to churn out around one new beer each week.
The RiNo brewery has a full-service restaurant with menu items meant to be eaten with Blue Moon beers &mdash sometimes the beer itself even makes it into the recipes. According to Daniel Imdieke, the goal of a beer pairing is to select a brew that will complement the food, provide contrast to the flavor profile and cleanse the palate.
The brand was the only beer sponsor at this year's FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, where pints were poured alongside dishes from the country's best chefs and culinary experts.
If you're heading to the Strip in Las Vegas, you won't have to look far for a bar with Blue Moon on tap &mdash Planet Hollywood Resort will be home to Blue Moon Bar, where Belgian White will never be in short supply. Customers will also get a chance to sip seasonal, beer-based cocktails at the dedicated watering hole.
List of Beer Brands Sold at Costco
1. Kirkland Pale Ale (APA)
We’ll start with one of their signature drinks. Kirkland Pale Ale has an alcohol percentage of 5.4%. It’s a seasonal beer so you have to time it right. But since Costco is open all year round (and they brew this beer themselves), they can easily give a calendar. So you’ll always know when it’s available. It’s an American-style pale ale so it’s slightly sweet and heavy on foam.
2. Bud Light
In some states, you don’t need a membership card to buy beer at Costco. So if you’d like a quick lager and are uneasy with Kirkland, you could go for a Bud Light. Bud has a stronger aroma than Kirkland light, which could be good or bad, depending on your preference. It also has a more distinct aftertaste. Bud lights have an ABV of 5% though it’s been accused of sinking even lower.
3. Kirkland India Pale Ale (IPA)
We’re going to list a lot of Kirkland Signature Craft Brews here. Partly because that’s the store’s in-house brand. And partly because you can find Kirkland Beer at all Costco outlets while other beers might be regional. Kirkland IPA has an ABV of 6.9% and an IBU of 77. Kirkland isn’t known for its aromas, but this hoppy IPA has floral and citrus elements, mostly grapefruit.
4. Coors Light
Light beer is allegedly low in calories, making it healthier and less likely to give you a beer gut. But it does help to have a clever ad campaign to go with your beverage. So even if you don’t want to build a Beerman, you could still enjoy this 4.2% drink, which some would barely call beer – not at that ABV. It’s hyper chill – both in attitude and temperature. And yes, it has corn syrup.
5. Kirkland Double Bock
We admit to being impressed by the Kirkland vs Bud Light taste test we watched earlier, but how does their Double Bock hold up? This signature craft brew has an ABV of 7.5% and an IBU of 26. It’s a nutty beer with malty caramel that your tongue may misidentify as ‘peanut-like’. The drink is creamy but not especially lacy. If you like your beers heavy and sweet, you’ll enjoy this.
6. Blue Moon Beer
No craft beer supplier is complete without Blue Moon. But because many of their drinks are seasonal, you’re most likely to find their Belgian White at any outlet. It’s Belgian-styled, as the name states. Brewed with wheat, orange peels, and coriander. The beer has an ABV of 5.4% and an IBU of 9. Being an all-year-round brew, it’s one of the most common beers sold at Costco.
7. Kirkland Session IPA
We’ve already reviewed Kirkland’s IPA, but their Session IPA is has a higher alcohol percentage and a lowered ‘hoppiness’ in its flavor. That’s the feature that distinguishes session IPAs from their regular cousins. The Kirkland version has an ABV of 4.9% and an IBU of 41. Its citrusy scent and palate come from dry hopping with bright Lemon Drop, Citra, and Cascade hops.
8. Sierra Nevada
Craft beers – even big brands – are artisanal in nature. They brew small regional batches and probably don’t distribute nationwide. So look for a year-round Sierra Nevada brew – they have tons of variety. You could try their Hazy Little Thing if you prefer beer on the grassy side (if your local Costco is 420-friendly). Its ABV 6.7% is and it’s a rich cloudy beer. Or try their IPA 4 Days mix pack.
9. Kirkland Brown Ale
If you’re a regular at Costco, it helps to develop a taste for their in-house. Of all the beers sold at Costco, Kirklands cans and bottles are the least likely to sell out because their outlets are consistently replenished. Their signature craft-brewed brown ale has an ABV of 5% and an IBU of 23. It’s a nutty ale with eight different accents that include almond, molasses, and walnut.
10. Sam Adams Beer
This Boston beer has a strong name and a folksy feel, so you’ll find it sold in a lot of Costcos. But it’s also a specialty beer so you may not find the exact style you want. You’re sure to find an original though, with its 5% ABV and its distinct brown bottle. Sam Adams Original Lager goes with – in their own words – everything from cupcakes to burgers. And you can buy it anywhere.
11. Kirkland Kolsch German Ale
With over 500 Costcos in the US, it’s easy to think of it as ‘our store’ even though it’s a global brand. Things get equally tricky during discussions about ‘American coffee’ or ‘American beer’. But in this case, Kirkland makes a convincing Kolsch. Its ABU is 4.8% and its IBU is 25. Plus, our favorite beer wholesaler has successfully captured the fruity hints of hops from Tettnang.
12. Corona Imported Beer
For those with a particular type of humor (and politics), Corona is the perfect beer for these times. Think about it – it’s Mexican booze that’s named like Covid. It’s brewed in Mexico but owned by Belgians. Despite (or because of) its tequila serving style, Corona is among the most popular beers sold at Costco – and around the world as well. The ABV of this pale lager is 4.6%.
13. Kirkland Variety Pack
Probably the best beers sold at Costco – especially if you’re the experimental type – is their trusty 24-pack. It carries two-dozen bottles of their best craft beers at a ridiculous price so it’s a good way to find out what you like. And because Costco does wholesale, once you pick your signature brand – pun intended – you’ll order your APA, IPA, brown ale, or stout by the carton!
14. Kirkland Blonde Beer
Kirkland stopped making their infamous light beer despite its cult following. You can still et their blonde beer though, with its IBU of 20 and its ABV of 4.3%. It has the subtle Kirkland scent of citrus from Citra and Cascade hops. The straw-colored ale has a dash of wheat and is slightly cloudy. Texturally, it’s smooth, creamy, and a little lacy with fruity flavors and herbal aromas.
15. Pacifico Beer
You’re not guaranteed to find it up north, but this imported Mexican drink is one of the most popular beers sold at Costco. It’s a spicy pilsner-styled beer first brewed by German guests. So it makes sense that’s it’s a Mexican drink. Pacifico has an ABV of 4.5% and prides itself on being imported by surfers. Pacifico comes in clara (clear yellow) as opposed to oscura (dark) variants.
16. Pizza Port
You probably won’t find this beer at all Costcos, since Pizza Port only has five locations and they’re all in California. Still, if you’re close enough for shipping, this quirky Californian drink will excite your eyes, tease your tongue, and soothe your spirit. Some of their core beers have a whopping 11% ABV. Others have punny names like SIPA, DIPA, Shark Bite, and Bacon & Eggs.
17. Alpine Beer
You might have a hankering for something Canadian, aye? Try Moosehead Breweries’ Alpine Lager, available at a Costco near you. Its ABV is 5%, its IBU is 12, and its color is 3.3. The beer is brewed using hops from Nugget and Styrian Golding Slovenia hops. This beer pairs well with steak and potatoes so it’s quite the American beer even though it’s brewed across the border.
18. Belching Beaver Beer
It’s easy to spot a craft beer by its name. If it promises Dam Good Times, Me So Honey (5.5%), or Viva la Beaver (7.5%), it’s probably artisanal. Even the brand’s Peanut Butter Milk Nitro Stout is a tattle-tale. But the Belching Beaver is a regional brewer, so if your Costco is further from the beach, you’ll have more luck finding their core beers than their limited releases or sour batches.
19. Stella Artois
There are certain words you can’t pronounce (correctly) without sounding uppity. This is one of those words. But despite being tricky on your tongue, it settled nicely in your gut, pun intended. Stella is a Belgian lager with 5% ABV and roughly 140 calories per bottle (just under 12 ounces). 10g of that is carbs and the beer claims to have 0% sugar. You might find a 7oz Baby Stella too.
What’s the best beer you’ve bought at Costco or other stores? Tell us about it in the comments!
10 Wheat Beers You Should Try After Blue Moon
PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- The average U.S. beer drinker doesn&apost know what a witbier is. Ask them what a wheat beer is, however, and there&aposs a good chance the answer will be Blue Moon.
The hazy, cloudy, coriander-and-citrus concoction that&aposs become a summer favorite here in the U.S. and has worked its way into the catalog of brewers including Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) - Get Report , Boston Beer&aposs (SAM) - Get Report Samuel Adams and the Craft Brew Alliance&aposs (BREW) - Get Report Redhook existed long before Blue Moon came to be, but owes that brand a great deal of gratitude --ਊs do many small brewers and members of the craft beer community for whom Blue Moon served as a gateway between light lager drinkers and more complex beer styles.
It wasn&apost until Pierre Celis single-handedly revived the witbier after centuries of dormancy in 1965, when he began brewing it in his barn in the Belgian town of Hoegaarden, that witbier came out of a more than 400-year slumber. The yeast in witbier that&aposs allowed to float around and give it a hazy color disgusted brewers adhering to the Reinheitsgebot, the German brewing purity law enacted in the early 1500s that limited beer ingredients to water, barley hops and, begrudgingly, yeast after some prompting by Louis Pasteur. Under that provision, witbier&aposs standard combination of wheat, bitter Curacao orange peel, coriander, sweet orange peel and only a slight touch of hops is a no-no.
Celis&apos recipe turned into Hoegaarden White Ale and sold more than 300,000 barrels at its peak in 1985, when a fire engulfed its brewery and forced a cash-strapped Celis to sell to giant Belgian company Interbrew. That company is now known as Anheuser-Busch InBev and is the reason jelly-glass tumblers of Hoegaarden can be found in outdoor restaurant spaces and beer gardens across America. Undaunted, Celis moved to Texas and opened his own craft brewery just outside Austin in 1992. His Celis White was good enough to get Celis a buyout from Miller and introduce witbier to a generation of craft brewers.
Three years after Celis debuted his white, however, Coors (TAP) - Get Report brewer Keith Villa formulated Blue Moon while working at the company&aposs on-site brewery at the Denver home of Major League Baseball&aposs Colorado Rockies in Coors Field. Not only was it well-received during the initial craft beer boom in the early &apos90s, but it&aposs still growing in popularity today. Amid a recession that sent light lager sales plummeting, Blue Moon sales rose 26% in 2010 and anther 19% a year later, according to Beer Marketer&aposs Insights. Of the 20 beer brands that make up 72% of all beer sold in the U.S., Blue Moon is the only one that&aposs not a light lager.
Though slurred as "crafty" by the Brewers Association craft beer industry group and often ridiculed by craft brewers themselves, Blue Moon is often beer drinkers&apos all-important first leap from the comfort of their favorite mass-produced can into the broader beer spectrum. If you&aposve drunk witbier, you can handle a hefeweizen. If you can hack that, you might try a Berliner Weisse and some raspberry or woodruff syrup. If you&aposre comfortable with that in your beer, you could be persuaded into a tart lambic. From there, you could kick it up to a stronger tripel or abbey beer. From there, you&aposll be ready to drink a Trappist brew such as Rochefort or the evasive Westvleteren 12.
If you take that path, congratulations! You just went from Blue Moon to some of the best beers in the world in five steps and it wasn&apost a very difficult trip. It&aposs the wonder of an expanded palate and, depending on what a drinker enjoys most about Blue Moon or other witbier, it can go off in several directions. Like the citrus flavor? That&aposs the first step on the pale ale trail to an Imperial IPA. Like the cloudiness and spice? Welcome to wheat doppelbocks such as Germany&aposs banana-flavored Aventinus. Like the refreshing mix of all of the above? Step into a saison and see if that suits you.
The only problem presented by a Blue Moon is where to go next. Craft beers and imports have been the answer more often than not, but the mean, mocking cool kids from both of those ends of the beer aisle should be a bit friendlier if they want to keep reaping Blue Moon&aposs benefits. MolsonCoors has grown wise to Blue Moon&aposs effect on business and has built an entire "craft" division -- Tenth and Blake --ਊround it. After all, why let beer snobs who hate you cull your customers when you can redirect them to a Leinenkugel&aposs Honey Weiss or Summer Shandy or a Third Shift amber?
Until Tenth and Blake broadens its offerings a bit, there&aposs still a window of opportunity for smaller brewers to woo beer lovers who are just getting into wheat beers. The following are 10 examples of wheat beers well-suited to folks testing the boundaries of their beer tastes and looking to take the next baby step beyond Blue Moon:
Alcohol by volume: 5%
A year before Blue Moon made its debut, Allagash founder Rob Tod set up shop in Portland, Maine, and began making one of the first American takes on this Belgian import. His witbier and its long, slender glasses that are now ubiquitous in his core New England market all draw a direct lineage to Celis and his White.
"The first one I ever tried was the Celis White, when Pierre Celis was still brewing it in Texas," Allagash&aposs Tod told us two years ago. "That&aposs what turned me on to the style. And though our white is different than that white, I love that white and remember exactly how it tasted and the mouth feel."
Nearly two decades later, Tod is still brewing his flagship witbier with the same basic formula. His mix of a whole lot of wheat spiced with coriander and Curacao orange peel remains just as refreshing as it was when he began, but even Tod admits that simple recipe is deceptively difficult to brew consistently. That cloudiness hides a lot of complexity.
"Can you just bang a witbier out? Yeah," Tod says. "But to make it consistent and have that delicate balance between the spices and the character of the wheat, to make it cloudy and get that texture and look, it&aposs a tough beer to make."
St. Bernardus Wit
Alcohol by volume: 5.5%
If you&aposre going to start experimenting with Belgian styles, it helps to try one from Belgium every now and again.
In the case of St. Bernardus, a Blue Moon fan will get a bit of everything they love about that beer multiplied by about 20. It&aposs carbonated with a bit more pressure than mass-market witbier, which makes it crisp and surprisingly smooth without being overwhelming or gassy.
The mix of coriander and anise hits right away with a flavor like clove and a scent almost like citrusy pine -- no, oranges and lemons don&apost grow on pine trees, but trust us, it makes sense. The flavor, meanwhile, is incredibly tart but smooth. The folks at BeerAdvocate liken it to lemon meringue, but key lime pie or the lemon custard filling from a doughnut would fit as well.
The stumbling point of this beer is that, unlike Blue Moon or some of the other brews listed here, it&aposs likely not going to be available in the beer aisle or at the average packaged-goods store. It&aposs going to require a trip to a beer-specific vendor or bottle shop and a bit of bravery on the part of the drinker. Don&apost fret, the shops&apos staff typically have far less bite than the clientele and are there to help out. They won&apost be able to knock down the price -- which could result in sticker shock for those unfamiliar with Belgian imports that aren&apost Stella Artois --ut they might let you just buy a sample bottle and recommend something similar if it proves cost-prohibitive.
Alcohol by volume: 5%
Considered a must-have witbier in American craft beer circles, this behemoth from Japan&aposs Kiuchi Brewery enhances the original Belgian recipe in all the best ways possible.
The coriander gets a little added spice from a hint of nutmeg. The sweet orange peel is supplemented by orange juice. The result is a a witbier a bit more intense than the average and far more flavorful than training-wheels beers such as Blue Moon and Shock Top.
Kiuchi&aposs been cranking this out since 1996, and the consistent quality of the White Ale keeps its U.S. adherents coming back every summer.
Brooklyn Brewery Blanche De Brooklyn
Alcohol by volume: 4.5%
While not an impossible find -- it was kicking around as recently as last summer -- the Blanche De Brooklyn from brewmaster Garrett Oliver&aposs Brewmaster Reserve series is an intentionally rare breed.
What&aposs special about it? Other than the fact it has all that coriander-and-orange witbier goodness? Well, Oliver&aposs just slightly good at his job and managed to get his witbier down to a manageable 4.5% alcohol by volume. To the craft beer kids, that&aposs flat-out "sessionable," which means you can drink more than one without getting out of hand in a hurry.
When you&aposre trying to enjoy a refreshing beer in 90-degree heat, sessionability&aposs not such a bad quality to strive for. If it appears again -- which isn&apost completely out of the question, but a tough proposition for what&aposs supposed to be a one-off beer series -- maybe Oliver will be kind enough to can some of it.
Alcohol by volume: 5%
Namaste comes to drinkers in capped wine bottles and tastes just a touch grassier than some of its coriander-and-orange cohorts, but little that founder Sam Calagione does adheres to script. Namaste was born at the Calagione family dinner table, when Sam asked his wife and kids what kind of beer they&aposd like to make and what it would be called.
"My kids were 7 and 9 at the time and I forget their goofy answers, but my wife had just done yoga that morning and she loves wheat beers," he says. "She said &aposI&aposd love a Belgian white style made with lemongrass that I&aposd like to be called Namaste,&apos which at the end of yoga practice means &aposthe spirit in me recognizes the spirit in you.&apos"
Inspired by a friend at 3 Fonteinen brewery, which lost one-third of its total production to a power outage the day after his wife&aposs suggestion, and with the help of a brewer from the Birra de Borgo brewery in Italy, Calagione went about making "a very off-centered white beer." Instead of sticking to the standard Curacao orange peel-and-coriander formula, however, Calagione found an organic petrified orange in his travels and threw the dried peel&aposs flesh into the mix to produce more sugars without losing the orange aroma.
Though production of Namaste increased somewhat last year, it&aposs still available in limited supply and can be a tough find in certain corners of the country. That said, its mild alcohol content and dense flavor make it worth tracking down.
Alcohol by volume: 5.2%
Up in Astoria, Ore., summer is a rare commodity. When the sun does shine and the tourists drop by to see the house from The Goonies, the sea lions on the dock and the train that runs along the wharf by the old canneries, that&aposs when Fort George&aposs Quick Wit works its magic.
One of the few witbiers served in 16-ounce tallboy cans, Quick Wit is otherwise tough to distinguish from other wits. It&aposs pale, cloudy, unfiltered and packed with wheat. Generally nothing out of the ordinary.
It&aposs the ingredients list that separates it from the pack. A combination of organic pale and wheat malts, ground coriander, organic lemongrass in place of orange and wild-crafted elderflower wipes all the bitterness right out of this wit. Meanwhile, there&aposs just enough spice to let the palate wander a bit as drinkers consider another can before losing the sunlight.
Alcohol by volume: 5.2%
It may be from the same town that&aposs considered the birthplace of America&aposs national pastime, but Ommegang and its Witte are as Belgian as it gets in this country.
No, seriously. Back in 2003, Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat bought Cooperstown, N.Y.-based Brewery Ommegang and its Witte witbier less than a decade after Ommegang opened in 1997. To this day, it&aposs the one brewery in America that can rightfully claim Belgian lineage.
With that comes incredible pressure and responsibility, but Ommegang has proven itself up to task. It sticks to the straightforward wheat/coriander/sweet orange formula and goes so far as to serve it in a Hoegaarden-style jelly glass when visitors make their way up to Cooperstown. From a brewery that&aposs modeled itself after a Belgian farmstead and ages some of its brews in barrels at nearby tourist spot Howe Caverns, that&aposs about the most you can ask.
Lagunitas Brewing Company A Little Sumpin&apos Sumpin&apos Ale
Alcohol by volume: 7.5%
Like your witbier but really want to see what&aposs up with those hops all the craft kids are raving about?
Well that&aposs firmly in Lagunitas&apos wheelhouse, and the Petaluma, Calif.-based brewer is up to the challenge. While more an American wheat beer than a true wit, Little Sumpin&apos Sumpin&apos has that pale wheat appearance but is loaded down with hops that give it a citrusy bite more akin to an IPA.
Let the pinup on the label serve as a warning: This isn&apost just some ballpark Blue Moon. This is one aggressive wheat beer that can be really fun and bitter if you come to love hops, but comes with a high price at 7.5% ABV if you&aposre not used to a brew that potent. Approach with caution.
Alcohol by volume: 5.6%
American wheat beer admittedly doesn&apost have a great reputation. At times, it undercuts its original Belgian or German recipe and becomes a, no pun intended, pale version of a better beer.
Three Floyds brewers seem incredibly self-conscious about that fact and loaded its Gumballhead with Amarillo Hops and a generous portion of American red wheat. Those hops hit a drinker right in the nose, as do traces of grapefruit, lemon zest, marmalade and peach. That&aposs somewhat fruity, but it also cuts into the hop bitterness that&aposs ill suited to what&aposs supposed to be a more citrusy beer. That combination took this brew out of Three Floyds&apos seasonal pile and made it a year-round offering.
As for the name, Gumballhead isn&apost nearly as sweet as that would suggest. It&aposs named in honor of the underground comic book cat created by Rob Syers. Consider that your summer reading.
Bell&aposs Oberon Ale
Alcohol by volume: 5.8%
Even a fairly mild Blue Moon can be a bit of a turnoff to someone used to their daily lager.
Where a witbier is somewhat lacking in subtlety, Bell&aposs Oberon wheat ale is a bit milder and a nice middle ground for folks having trouble making the adjustment. Spicy hop character and mildly fruity aromas combine with malt to make a smooth, easy-sipping summer brew that&aposs just wheaty enough to hang with witbiers, but benign enough to ease the transition from yellow fizz.
Pleasantly balanced - the malt has some caramel sweetness up front, but still finishes relatively dry and crisp. Classic American hop character though, but there's a grassy dry hop character that comes across a bit astringent on the finish. Pleasant lingering spiciness on the swallow.
A tame, safe, and straightforward take on American IPA with a dialed-down bitterness and dialed-up fruity hops character. The nose is a touch musty, but the flavor steps up the fruit intensity.
How Blue Moon made ‘craft beer’ meaningless
Blue Moon Brewing Co. founder Keith Villa: “You ask yourself, at the end of the day, ‘If that definition of craft is used, does it guarantee the quality of the beer?’ No it doesn’t. Our connection with Coors guarantees quality of the highest standards in the industry.”
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When we spoke with Blue Moon Brewing Co. founder Keith Villa two weeks ago, we had no idea Blue Moon and parent company MillerCoors were about to be sued for false advertising.
The plaintiff claims Blue Moon isn’t “craft” — despite drinking a whole lot of it before reaching that conclusion — but Villa’s been fighting that assertion for nearly 20 years. To Villa, Blue Moon is not only craft, but its support from Coors and, as of 2007, MillerCoors wasn’t always a given. It certainly wasn’t when he started brewing the Bellyslide Wit that became Blue Moon Belgian White at a small brewery called the SandLot, which remains at Denver’s Coors Field to this day.
“It was Sept. 14, 1995, and it was a Thursday afternoon,” Villa says. “I remember it like it was yesterday.”
A whole lot has transpired between yesterday and today. In its earliest days, Blue Moon was treated like a burden by Coors and shoved off to the far-flung contract breweries in Memphis, Cincinnati and Utica, N.Y., that also brewed for Brooklyn Brewery, Pete’s Brewing, Shipyard, Shmaltz and 21st Amendment. It was so insignificant that it was kicked out of Cincinnati in 1997 by Boston Beer Co. SAM, +2.69% , which bought the Hudepohl-Schoenling brewery for its Samuel Adams brand. Yet Blue Moon had arrived on the scene when there were only 858 breweries in the U.S. and was just five years away from the bursting of the original microbrew bubble and the quick death of more than 100 breweries.
Today, the Brewers Association says there are more than 3,400 breweries, with 2,000 more in the planning stages. Blue Moon has not only survived, but thrived during the latest craft beer boom. In 2013, all brands of Blue Moon accounted for more than 2 million barrels of production. That was less than Boston Beer (2.87 million barrels) and Yuengling (2.7 million) produced, but more than double the output of craft beer’s No. 3 brewer, Sierra Nevada. Last year, Blue Moon was awarded a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival for its Honey Grand Cru, while the SandLot also took bronze for its Move Back Dortmunder.
Earlier this month, Molson Coors announced plans to build a Blue Moon-specific brewing facility in Denver’s RiNo arts district capable of producing 10,000 barrels a year. For Villa, it’s evidence of just how much Blue Moon has proven itself to its parent company over the past two decades and how far craft beer has come overall.
“We’ve got the full backing of the company now, which is just an awesome thing,” Villa says. “When we launched the company in 1995, quite honestly, we didn’t have the complete backing of everybody because it was a new brand and a new thing. Craft beer wasn’t what it is today.”
At MillerCoors, the feeling is mutual. When news of the lawsuit came down, the company not only backed Blue Moon in its statement, but Villa specifically:
“MillerCoors is tremendously proud of Blue Moon and has always embraced our ownership and support of this wonderful brand. The class action filed against MillerCoors in California is without merit and contradicted by Blue Moon Brewing Co.’s 20-year history of brewing creative beers of the highest quality. There are countless definitions of ‘craft,’ none of which are legal definitions. We choose to judge beer by the quality, skill and passion that goes into brewing it. Back in 1995, Keith Villa, Blue Moon’s founder and head brewmaster, had to work extremely hard to convince people to try his cloudy, Belgian-style beer. Today, MillerCoors is proud that Blue Moon has invited millions of drinkers to try something new, while helping pave the way for the current explosion of creativity in the brewing community.”
The Brewers Association doesn’t consider Blue Moon “craft” because of MillerCoors’ ownership, but within the past five years has altered its definition of a craft brewer to accommodate Boston Beer’s growth and the traditional light lagers of Yuengling, Straub, August Schell and others. Drinkers don’t collectively consider Blue Moon craft either, but many current craft beer drinkers were introduced to other styles by using Blue Moon as their gateway beer. As for Villa, he’s unwavering in his belief that the brand he created is craft beer. With a doctorate in brewing from the University of Brussels, a 20-year history in the industry and a rapidly growing brand under his belt, Villa still isn’t done making his strongest arguments, as we discovered in our lengthy conversation:
Where does this new brewery fit in among the SandLot and MillerCoors facilities and what will it enable Blue Moon to do?
Villa: This is a huge help. I’ve been using SandLot as my pilot brewery and testing grounds for new beers and new recipe development for Blue Moon and it’s worked fine, although there are times when we’ve stumbled into each other. This brewery has come at the perfect time because it gives us a place to do our new product development and recipe development and, at the same time, it frees up the SandLot guys to do a lot of great work on the SandLot lagers and ales that they’re known for.
We’ll have a two-barrel pilot system, where we’ll do a lot of playing around with, and then we’ll have a 25- to 30-barrel production brewery down there.
It looks like your capacity for this brewery will be about 10,000 barrels a year. Is that still fairly small by MillerCoors standards?
Villa: I’ve always considered us a craft brewery from the day I started Blue Moon to even now and in the future. We are very small and, when we find a recipe that really connects with our fans, we use the MillerCoors network of breweries to scale up our brews. This brewery in the RiNo District of Denver will not be a big production brewery. We have plenty of outstanding capacity at the MillerCoors facilities because they have the highest-quality standards and very capable people. When we scale up a recipe, I know it’s going to be done perfectly.
At this new brewery, though, the only product I can see us brewing on a regular basis is Blue Moon Belgian White, but it will be small batches and only for the local market. We don’t have plans yet — this is just me speaking off the top of my head — but we’ll still be using the MillerCoors network to scale up our brewing and do quality checks.
Does this sever the tie between SandLot and Blue Moon?
Villa: Not at all. In fact, we will continue everything we’ve done up to now. It’ll be a separate facility a little over a mile away, but it’s still kind of down the street and we’re going to maintain close ties.
When I develop recipes, I always ask them for feedback on those recipes and we make tweaks together. They’ve been both SandLot and Blue Moon brewers, and we’ll continue that.
Is there still room for SandLot beers to make their way into the Blue Moon lineup? It seems that having a several-thousand-person focus group at Coors Field has only helped Blue Moon so far.
Villa: That’s been one big reason we’ve done so much development work for Blue Moon at the SandLot because of all of those thirsty baseball fans. It’s a great place to test beers. Ever since the first beer we tested, Blue Moon Belgian White, that’s where we get a lot of our feedback. In the meantime, the RiNo district will soon be home to about 10 breweries, so it’ll be an attraction in itself to fans going to try new beers not just from us, but for other breweries in the arts district.
You’ve continued to expand Blue Moon’s portfolio while keeping Belgian White at the center. At this point, how much of overall Blue Moon production comprises other offerings?
Villa: A lot of people don’t realize all the things that Blue Moon offers. Since Day 1, we’ve offered a lot of other beers besides Blue Moon Belgian White. This will give us the opportunity to showcase a lot of those other beers. The Cinnamon Horchata ale is one of them, the White IPA is another, the First Peach we released this year . along with a lot of other beers we’re working on.
It will help people see the true history of Blue Moon. We were the first brewery to offer a nationally available pumpkin beer back in 1995 when they were unheard of. Nobody wanted a pumpkin beer. They wanted an Oktoberfest, but I insisted that we would launch a pumpkin beer, and we’ve been making it ever since. We were doing extreme beers in the ’90s when there wasn’t a name for them. We were the first to do a wine/beer hybrid. We’ve always been cutting edge, to the point that Beverage World magazine, in January, put us in with their 50 biggest disruptors.
Prior to Blue Moon, there were craft beers, yes, but after Blue Moon was when people’s minds were opened and they really started exploring with craft beers and trying new things — trying Belgian beers and other different varieties.
When Blue Moon first started, it was basically you, Hoegaarden and Celis creator Pierre Celis and Allagash Brewing’s Rob Tod making witbier. As you’ve mentioned, it’s been a gateway beer for other craft styles, but it’s also led to a whole lot more witbier out there as well. How do you maintain interest over that stretch and keep sales of Belgian White going once the novelty has worn off?
Villa: Blue Moon Belgian White put us on the map. I knew Pierre Celis personally and his daughter Christine and Allagash was there in ’95 when we launched, but they were making traditional Belgian wits. My philosophy for Blue Moon, from the start, was to take a classic style and put an inviting twist on it.
Our Belgian White isn’t a traditional wit. There are three key differences. When I see in the press that Blue Moon is a copy of Belgian wit, it’s frustrating because it was inspired by the Belgian whites I fell in love with while I was living in Belgium getting my Ph.D in brewing. When I formulated Blue Moon Belgian White, it used Valencia orange peel and not Curacao orange peel [as traditional wit does], which doesn’t have a bright orange aroma, but a citrusy, bitter taste. The next big difference is that we use steel-cut oats in our beer that give a nice, nutty flavor to the beer and a chewy, creaminess to the body. A lot of craft brewers inspired by Blue Moon who now make Belgian whites use pre-gelatinized oat flakes, which gives it a completely different taste.
The third difference is that traditional Belgian wits will have about 4% to 4.2% alcohol by volume. When I formulated Blue Moon, I wanted it to have 5.4% to give it more flavor and to round out its flavor into a nice balance on the palate.
But why make that twist? With the resources Blue Moon has access to and the support it receives through MillerCoors, couldn’t it find the same success going by the letter?
Villa: Back in 1995 when I launched, Blue Moon didn’t become a huge, successful company overnight. We were just like other craft brews. We had our trials and tribulations.
I was not allowed to brew Blue Moon beers in Golden. We did get funding from Coors, but I had to find a contract brewer in F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, N.Y. That’s where we brewed our beers from 1995-97. Then we outgrew them and I moved our beers to Cincinnati [Hudepohl Brewing] from ’97 through ’99. They got bought by Sam Adams, so I moved it over to a Memphis brewery [City Brewing] from 1999 to 2005. By 2005, the people in Golden did some tests to see if it could be brewed there.
In 2005, 10 years after I launched, that was the first time I was allowed to brew Blue Moon beer in Golden. About every six months to a year after I launched, I didn’t think the company would last. There were a lot of internal forces that were against Blue Moon. Just like if a craft brewer gets a loan from his bank or family and doesn’t pay it back, the lights might go off and utilities might go off and they might shut down. There were times in the ’90s when I thought Blue Moon might be shut down. Every time a trial came up, I tried to come up with a way to fight it off and keep Blue Moon alive.
You’ve made clear that you consider Blue Moon a craft brewery and, after MolsonCoors and SABMiller formed MillerCoors in North America in 2007, your parent company seems to think so as well. How do you reconcile what went on in those early years with the support Blue Moon receives from multinational partners and MillerCoors’ Tenth & Blake craft division now?
Villa: I’ve always considered us craft and the definition keeps changing, which I consider frustrating, but we’ll let our beers speak for themselves. Our medals, our beers . our fans think we’re craft, and that’s great.
You ask yourself, at the end of the day, “If that definition of ‘craft’ is used, does it guarantee the quality of the beer?” No it doesn’t. Our connection with Coors guarantees quality of the highest standards in the industry. Does it guarantee that the beer will be available when the fans want it if you call it craft? No guarantee there, but we have the luxury of being associated with the MillerCoors network and we can guarantee that if our fans want our beers, they can have as much of it as they want at the highest quality they want. Does craft guarantee the highest quality ingredients in the industry. Not at all, where our association with MillerCoors guarantees the highest-quality ingredients in the industry. We work with growers, we have specifications for all our ingredients. The vast majority of craft brewers can’t guarantee that just by calling themselves “craft.”
When you come up with labels like that, it’s frustrating because it does do a disservice to some, but we let our beers speak for themselves. I hope someday that the word “craft” will come to mean a guarantee of quality and a guarantee of the highest-quality ingredients and a guarantee that your favorite IPA will be available without any interruptions. Some day that will be true and all craft beers will be like that, but right now I don’t care about those kinds of definitions.
This seasonal lager uses real Louisiana strawberry juice added after filtration, which gives it its wonderful sweet strawberry flavor and smell. The perfect beer for those who hate the taste, you might just start pairing this Abita brew with your summer strawberry shortcake.
Considered the "champagne of beers," Miller High Life has been a favorite for over 113 years. Brewed with the yeast Miller's founder brought over from Germany, this highly carbonated, consistently crisp and smooth take will encourage all drinkers to "take back the high life."
5. Screwdriver Cubes
How can you go wrong with orange juice and Blue Moon? I’ll tell you how. Too much vodka. Yeah, we experimented with this one first and didn’t quite have the ratio down. Again, do not go beyond the 1:4 ratio alcohol to mixer.
To make these, mix 1/4 cup vodka (or less) with 1 3/4 cups orange juice, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze for at least 6 hours. (P.S. We recommend only 1 cube per beer on this one. The orange juice is much more overwhelming than the other cubes for some reason). Experiment and have fun!
These orange cubes are best served with any Belgian style wheat beer such as Blue Moon or Shock Top.
Blue Moon Pizza in Fort Myers
The Meateor pizza from Blue Moon Pizza in Fort Myers (Photo: Anne Reed/The News-Press) Buy Photo
- Blue Moon Pizza in Fort Myers celebrates 1 year anniversary
- Menu additions for Burger 21, Yabba Island Grill, and Pazzo! Cucina Italiana
- Watermelon Festival is this weekend at Fleamasters Fleamarket
Some things are just worth celebrating. And if you can do it with pizza, even better.
Blue Moon Pizza just passed its one year anniversary. Originally started in 2003 in Marietta, Ga., by the Floridian husband and wife team of Kelvin and Mandy Slater, the first Florida location (7381 College Parkway #120, Fort Myers) opened in 2014, the first location outside of the Peach State.
The menu includes appetizers, salads, calzones, strombolis, flatwiches, and pizzas. Grandma's Pizza is a menu standout and one of the most popular items.
"It's different compared to our traditional style because, instead of a thin and crispy crust, it's a deep dish pizza that is fried within the extra virgin olive oil that we season it with," explained Adrian Mitchom II, operating partner. "The thing that makes that pizza stand out is the Grandma's sauce."
Grandma's sauce is a homemade with crushed tomatoes, thinly sliced garlic, rough cut basil, kosher salt, coarse black pepper, and a garlic-infused olive oil.
Another popular item is a portabella mushroom cap appetizer with Grandma's sauce, goat cheese, and a basil chiffonade.
Blue Moon also has an emphasis on gluten-free offerings, thanks to a longtime customer who loved their pizza, but knew eating the gluten would make her ill. With each menu comes a gluten-free menu which not only lists which items are gluten-free (and that they have gluten-free dough and even dairy-free cheese that can be used in their pizzas), but five different ways that they avoid gluten cross contact.
Blue Moon Pizza in Fort Myers is celebrating its one year anniversary. (Photo: Anne Reed/The News-Press)
"Not too many restaurants can give you the variety like we do when it comes to gluten-free options," said Mitchom. "Our staff is trained about the importance of gluten-free and how to service a gluten-intolerant guest. Our staff is pretty-well versed in it and understands the importance of it."
The gluten-free menu options have been very popular in the first year for the Fort Myers location, something that was noted by Mitchom. Other first year notes?
"Happy hour is really big here," said Mitchom, and there was an adjustment period as Blue Moon learned about the Fort Myers market, relying on staff input and guest input to make changes.
Blue Moon has also worked to establish relationships within the community. They have volunteered with the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club of Lee County.
"We want to build on that and help out the schools in the area," said Mitchom. "We have a lot of room to grow and want to have a true impact on the community. We don't want to just be a restaurant, we want to be a pillar of the community. We have a great staff and we want to help out the Fort Myers area."
And Mitchom's favorite menu item?
"The Greek salad. I like to keep it simple. Fresh ingredients, and the Greek dressing is delicious."
He also likes the portabella mushroom caps, and out of the pizzas, likes the Santa Fe.
"It's an outside-the-box idea, where instead of red sauce we use a black bean spread," said Mitchom. "Then grilled chicken, jalapenos, and we garnish it with fresh cut avocado and cilantro."
That is also a staff favorite.
Coming up on June 2, Blue Moon Pizza will celebrate Full Moon Day from 6-8 p.m. They are partnering with Blue Moon beer and will hand out Blue Moon glasses that guests can decorate and serving a special Blue Moon beer, White IPA. For more information, visit bluemoonpizza.com or call their Fort Myers location at 936.2583.
Portabella mushroom caps at Blue Moon Pizza in Fort Myers (Photo: Anne Reed/The News-Press)
Reuben's Smokehouse (11506 S. Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers) was ranked fourth in a recent list of the top 10 places for BBQ in America, according to TripAdvisor, which analyzed ratings from barbecue spots across the U.S. Reuben's opened in Dec. 2013 and is owned by mother/son duo Arvey Krise and Reuben Sliva. Check out reubenssmokehouse.com for menu options and information.
A new addition to the menu at Burger 21 in Gulf Coast Town Center is the Monterey Chicken Burger. (Photo: special to News-Press)
Burger 21, located in Gulf Coast Town Center, has announced menu changes, which include a 1 /3 pound burger size (smaller than its original burger options) and a small 12 ounce milkshake to go with their original 16 ounce onee. They have also added a Monterey chicken burger (grilled chicken burger topped with lettuce, tomato, Monterey Jack cheese, salsa, avocado, applewood-smoked bacon, jalapenos, and sun-dried tomato aioli) and a skinny turkey burger (grilled turkey burger with lettuce, tomato, sun-dried tomato pesto served on either a whole wheat bun or crisp lettuce). Grilled chicken tenders have been added to the children's menu, and for dessert, the "your cookie sundae" where guests choose a freshly baked cookie, which is then topped with vanilla ice cream, Ghirardelli chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and chocolate chips.
New sushi options join the menu at Yabba Island Grill (711 Fifth Avenue South, Naples). The Daddy Warbucks (smoked salmon, truffle oil, cream cheese rolled with avocado, cucumber, and black caviar), butterfly roll (fried shrimp with a mango-blackberry chow chow, avocado and cream cheese with a touch of sriracha mayo), and tuna tataki (jalapeno infused pineapple, cucumber sunomono, and passion fruit soy) all join the sushi and sashimi menu. Call 262-5787 for more details or visit gr8food.net.
Leading up to its 20 th anniversary in November, Pazzo! Cucina Italiana (853 Fifth Avenue South, Naples) is unveiling new menu items each week. The specials are only available that week for diners to sample, and are released via their Facebook page. The new courses reflect the restaurant's commitment to serving authentic Italian cuisine with a focus on farm fresh ingredients. This week's specials are burrata (pickled nectarines, dandelion greens, arugula and clementine with Limoncello dressing), roasted whole branzino (roasted crab, fennel and argula salad, al torchio, sambuca almond brown butter sauce), la coda (yellow tail snapper, wild oregano-tomato shrimp scampi, toasted farro, caponata, carmelized lemon), homemade fresh ricotta (served warm) and pescatore of black bass, fava bean, kale, and roasted red bell pepper. Call 434-8494 for reservations or visit gr8food.net for more information.
Fleamasters Fleamarket will host its annual Watermelon Festival May 29-31. Activities include speed eating and seed spitting competitions, games and kids crafts, performances including the Calendar Girls Dance Team, face painting, balloon animals, and live music. Entry fees for competitions are $1 for three seeds in the Seed Spitting Competition, and $10 to participate in either of the speed eating competitions. For more information, and a timeline of events, visit fleamall.com.
Foodie Find of the Week
Foodie Find of the Week is Biscotti from DeRomo’s in the Promenade, Bonita Springs. (Photo: Anne Reed/News-Press)
What: Cappuccino biscotti
Where: DeRomo's, 26811 S Bay Drive, Bonita Springs
Cost: $9.99 per pound, or in this case, about a dollar per biscotti
Why: The case of biscotti at DeRomo's Gourmet Market in the Promenade in Bonita Springs is a thing of beauty. I stopped, stared, drooled, then sampled a sliver of the cappuccino biscotti and immediately requested two. My intentions were to share with my co-worker the next day. Instead, I ate one for dessert that evening, then in the morning with my cup of coffee, I dunked the other one and am unsure which way the biscotti were best.
Clearly Canadian is back!
Fans of the 90s listen up — your favorite fruit flavored soda is back. After a successful crowd-funding campaign, the people — just under 12,000— have spoken (with their wallets and pre-orders) and production has begun once again on Clearly Canadian. Four flavors will be produced: Mountain blackberry, country raspberry, orchard peach and wild cherry, with four-packs of the bottles expected to hit shelves in August.
May is Florida Beef Month, and the Florida Beef Council would like everyone to celebrate! They have tips on everything from how to choose a great cut of meat for grilling, to recipes, including one for this grilled salsa steak appetizers. Visit floridabeef.org for recipes and information.
Grilled Salsa Steak Appetizer from the Florida Beef Council (Photo: special to News-Press)