Blue Moon Belgian White or “Blue Moon” is one of the most popular beers in America, but have you tasted it? It’s found on taps and in liquor stores around the US and is unique in that it is a Belgian-style Wheat Ale.
Blue Moon’s taste is very wheat-forward, with a subtle sweetness and sparkling citrus flavor. There is just a hint of spiciness on the finish from the coriander that is used in brewing. It boasts a creamy body from the oats used in brewing, but make no mistake, Blue Moon is not a heavy beer.
Read on to learn more about Blue Moon’s legendary story, as well as all the details on its ingredients and tasting notes – plus why you should drink it with an orange slice! You may even pick up a few recipe tips.
Topics We Cover
Tasting notes and flavors for Blue Moon Belgian White Wheat
Brewmaster Keith Villa created Blue Moon to be the ideal beer to drink while taking in a baseball game on a hot summer’s day.
He designed it to be slightly sweeter and more approachable than traditional Belgian Witbiers to appeal to an American palate.
The beer was an immediate hit. It’s said that an early taster remarked, “A beer this good only comes around once in a blue moon.” And so, Blue Moon was born.
Blue Moon is a classic wheat beer, with a flavor characteristic of the style.
The wheatiness is balanced by a refreshing juiciness and just a hint of spice on the finish. It is mildly sweet in a natural sort of way, not cloying like other “juicy” beers of its kind.
The significant amount of oats in its recipe serve as a creamy anchor to the wheat and citrus. This also adds a bit of sweetness and body.
Taste of Blue Moon with an orange
If you’ve ever ordered Blue Moon at a restaurant or bar, you likely found it garnished with an orange. A fresh slice or wedge of orange almost always accompanies Blue Moon on the rim of the glass.
Garnishing Blue Moon with orange enhances its fruity qualities. On its own, you’ll pick up just a hint of citrus. With a twist of fresh-squeezed orange juice, those flavors shine even more.
If you’re hesitant to add even a twist of juice to your beer, fear not. Adding lemon or orange to beer is a tradition for many European beers, including Belgian Witbiers like Blue Moon.
The citrus aroma in Blue Moon is undeniable, but it’s balanced with substantial wheatiness and the slightest whiff of coriander.
When garnished with fresh-sliced orange, the fruit serves as an additional aromatic.
Blue Moon’s appearance is very distinct among other popular American beers, though its cloudiness is common for beers of its ilk. The slight orange tinge is a result of the orange peel in the recipe.
- Color – Bright and golden, with a hint of orange
- Opacity – Hazy and naturally unfiltered
- Head – Medium-thick, with significant creaminess. Disappears fast.
- Lacing – Little to no lacing due to poor head retention
Though not a light beer, Blue Moon has a light mouthfeel, with a pleasant bit of creaminess that is customary of Belgian wheat beers.
Its smooth effervescence means it feels full without being a heavy beer that will weigh you down. This makes it an ideal drink for a hot summer day.
Blue Moon recipe and ingredients
Blue Moon is brewed by Miller Coors, and the full recipe is a trade secret.
However, Blue Moon is defined by a few key ingredients:
- Valencia orange peel
Homebrewers have long been trying to clone this iconic beer. Most recipes are somewhat simple, with substantial amounts of wheat and oats, along with the trademark orange peel and coriander.
Both all-grain and extract recipes are available. The following recipe is for the all-grain version.
- 5.5 lb. Two-Row Brewers Malt
- 4.5 lb. White Wheat Malt
- 1 lb. Flaked Oats
- 0.6 oz. Hallertau hops
- 3 oz. Valencia (sweet) orange peel
- 1.5 tsp. fresh ground coriander
- Wyeast 1056: American Ale Yeast
- 5 oz. corn sugar for priming
- Prepare a 2L yeast starter.
- Single infusion mash at 154°F, using 1.5 qts water per pound of grain.
- Sparge to collect 7.5 gallons of wort.
- Add hops at beginning of 60-minute boil.
- Add orange peel and coriander in last 10 minutes of boil.
- Chill wort, pitch yeast starter, and ferment at 65°F for one week, then transfer to secondary for two weeks.
- Bottle with priming sugar and condition for two weeks.
Blue Moon Style
Keith Villa, the co-founder of Blue Moon, was inspired by his time getting a Ph.D. in brewing in Belgium. Bartenders in Belgium commonly garnish wheat beers with a twist of lemon.
Blue Moon is a Belgian-Style Wheat Beer, sometimes called a Belgian Witbier. Villa accented his signature brew with a variation on the twist of lemon by adding the now-iconic orange.
Blue Moon is also slightly sweeter than the beers he found in Belgium as Americans are more averse to tart or sour notes.
By the way, I have another article with a list of the best beers to try if you like Blue Moon that you should check out!
Blue Moon ABV
Blue Moon has an ABV of 5.4%, making it very sippable over the course of a Sunday afternoon or long dinner.
It has only 9 IBUs so it contains minimal bitterness and very little hoppiness.
Blue Moon calories and nutritional information
A 12oz can or bottle of Blue Moon contains 170 calories and 14 grams of carbohydrates.
Blue Moon is not a light beer, so its nutritional values are in line with most beers of its type.
How to drink Blue Moon for the best flavor
Blue Moon is pretty tasty anytime, anywhere, but for the best flavor experience, consider garnish, temperature, source, and type of glass, just like any other beer.
The first time you order Blue Moon at a bar, you may be surprised to find it garnished with a healthy wedge of citrus. Why is Blue Moon served with an orange?
A twist of fresh-squeezed orange juice accentuates the flavors of the orange peel already present in Blue Moon. This boost of citrus is especially refreshing on a hot day, or when paired with a salty meal.
Blue Moon can absolutely be served without orange, but the orange garnish is a simple way to enhance your drinking experience. You can also experiment with other citrus fruit like lemon or lime, but orange is most traditional.
Blue Moon is best served cold, at a temperature between 40 and 45°F.
The flavors will open up as the beer warms, but starting with a nice cold temperature is best.
Bottle, can, or draft?
It’s long been debated whether bottles, cans, or draft beers are the so-called “best” way to enjoy beer. Even within beer communities, people have strong opinions.
Blue Moon on draft is exceptionally delicious, but good news for folks wanting to enjoy a Blue Moon on the couch, both cans and bottles are available. Both are tasty alternatives to going out for a Blue Moon on tap.
Generally, draft beer is fresher and exposed to less light and oxidation than canned or bottled beers. The quality of a draft beer is dependent on the establishment’s proper care and cleaning of its tap system.
Type of glass
Blue Moon is best served in a pilsner glass.
This tall, narrow glass gets slightly wider at the top, allowing for Blue Moon’s trademark aromas, as well as the aroma of any orange garnish, to open up.
Like many beers, pouring Blue Moon into a glass enhances the drinking experience by allowing its flavors and aromas to breathe. This also allows a bit of head to develop, though it will dissipate rather quickly.
What kind of foods pair best with Blue Moon
Blue Moon is a great beer to pair with many different types of dishes.
Because of its delicate flavor, Blue Moon is not likely to overpower the food and can be a good compliment to lots of different types of cuisines, including:
- Seafood – The light spiciness of Blue Moon compliments seafood very well. Dishes like grilled shrimp or even cold shrimp cocktail are appetizers that go well with a frosty glass of Blue Moon. For an extra special main course, try Orecchiette Pasta With Clams and Chorizo, which involves steaming the clams in a cup of Blue Moon.
- Spicy Asian Dishes – Blue Moon can be especially refreshing when paired with spicy food. Asian dishes like a classic Pad Thai go great with Blue Moon, as the heat of red chiles is a great contrast to a cold, citrusy beer. Even a dish as simple as Sesame Peanut Noodles works well: the nuttiness, paired with Blue Moon’s fruit flavors, go together like peanut butter and jelly.
- Vegetarian Food – Fruit and vegetable forward dishes pair especially well with Blue Moon’s orangey flavors. Blue Moon can be incorporated in small amounts in tofu and tempeh marinades. Stone Fruit Panzanella is a hearty salad that can easily be made vegan by omitting the feta.
Is Blue Moon a good beer to drink?
Any beer you like is a good beer to drink.
You’ll enjoy Blue Moon if you’re a fan of light, spicy flavors with a bit of sweetness.
Though craft beer aficionados may balk at this mass-produced beer, its complex flavors make it a nice step up from the equally widely available light pilsners and lagers.
Is Blue Moon a girly beer?
There is no such thing as a girly beer. End of story.
For the web story version of this article click here!