Blue moon you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard somebody whisper "Please adore me"
And when I looked, the moon had turned to gold!
-Rodgers and Hart
Blue Moon became the biggest selling non-lager beer in America in 2016, and it’s not hard to see why. An update of the classic Belgian Wit style, Blue Moon was created by Keith Villa, a brewer at Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field, Denver.
Blue Moon is brewed with Valencia orange peel and coriander, and commonly served with an orange slice.
The Belgian wit beer style was almost defunct when Pierre Celis revived it in his native Belgium in 1965 by rescuing the moribund Hoegaarden brewery. Celis’s brewery burned down in 1985, when it had a capacity of 300,000 barrels, and Celis moved later to Austin, Texas, where he started brewing Belgian beers under the Celis brand in 1992. His Celis White received a perfect four-star rating from the late Michael Jackson in his Pocket Beer Guide, and proved the viability of this classic beer style.
Blue Moon’s success has spawned many imitators, and it has a bunch of variants, most of which frankly don’t hold a candle to the original. This is a style where less is more. Blue Moon is unfiltered and uses oats in its recipe to provide a creamier mouthfeel. Smooth, unctuous, and light, it’s clear where the inspiration for today’s smooth, sweet, and creamy IPAs came from.
There’s no beer in food, but there’s food in beer, as Jim Koch says. In this case, Blue Moon pairs great with lighter proteins like fish and chicken, or even with a nice charcuterie plate. Do not, under any circumstances, pair this with a steak. You’ll ruin your beer and your dinner. Avoid cream sauces, ranch dressing, or sour cream based dips; there’s enough acidity in this beer, particularly when served with the customary orange slice, to curdle them on your palate.
Blue Moon is good for any time of year as it combines the classic citrus flavors we associate with Christmas treats with the wheaty, bready flavors of the harvest. It’s a great introduction to a classic European beer style, and a fun gateway into craft beer. But for heaven’s sake, skip the orange slice.
Alex Ignatiev is the proprietor of Hub City Beers and Fine Cigars in Hattiesburg. Promotional consideration for Signature Sips is provided by Stokes Distributing, which is the exclusive distributor of Blue Moon.