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Beer #22 – January 22, 2010: Blue Moon

January 22, 2010

Beer: Blue Moon

Brewery: Blue Moon Brewing Company (Molson Coors Brewing Company), Golden, Colorado

Style: Witbier

Serving Type: Bottle

Price: $6.99 / six-pack

Availability: Year-round

Glassware: Pilsner glass

Strength: 5.4% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: Light and refreshing

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours a hazy deep golden hue with a full and foamy white head

Aroma: Mild aroma, notes of clove, citrus, sweetness

Mouthfeel: Light and thin, but good carbonation provides some body

Taste: Initial wheaty sweetness, followed by citrus flavors (orange and lemon), notes of clove and corriander.  Slight earthy flavors from the yeast and a hint of peppercorn.  Finishes relatively sweet, with a bit of orange rind.

Pairing: Nothing like a Belgian-style dish to go with a Belgian-style ale.  Today we’re cooking with beer: Blue Moon Mussels!

Blue Moon Mussels

3 strips of thick-cut bacon, chopped
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 leek, thinly sliced (green & white parts)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups of Blue Moon or other Witbier
2 lbs mussels, scrubbed with beards removed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons sour cream

Cook bacon in heavy pot over medium-high heat until browned, then add butter. Heat the butter until foam subsides. Then add leeks, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the pot, stirring occasionally until vegetables get soft, about 5 minutes.

Add beer and bring to a gentle boil. Add mussels to the pot, and cover, stirring occasionally. Once mussels open wide, in about 5 minutes, remove open mussels from pot and transfer to a bowl. Discard any unopened mussels. Remove pot of remaining broth from heat, and add mustard and sour cream, whisking until combined. Divide mussels between 2-4 bowls, and then pour the broth over the top.  Serve with a slices of crusty bread to sop up the broth!

Perfect with a glass of Blue Moon, or whatever Belgian-style beer you used for the broth. This makes a hearty, warming, but not too heavy meal on a cold winter’s day, but is equally enjoyable any time of year.

Trivia: While intentionally not publicized, Blue Moon is produced by the giant Molson Coors Brewing Company.  The beer now known as Blue Moon was originally created by a brewer at the Sandlot Brewery, a brewpub owned by Coors inside Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies) in Denver.  Whether you consider it creative marketing or deception in advertising, Blue Moon is Coors attempt to cash in on the only currently growing segment of the beer market, microbrews.  While Blue Moon certainly is not a microbrewery, the name, style and taste of this beer is certainly intentionally much different than the mass-produced lagers associated with Coors.

A lot of “beer snobs” might automatically dismiss a beer brewed by such a giant.  However, I think Blue Moon serves as a great “gateway” beer, introducing beer drinkers who might not be so adventurous to a completely different style and flavor than the common American macro-lager.  It may not be as flavorful, complex or interesting as an authentic Belgian Witbier, but its a great start.  You can find Blue Moon nearly everywhere, providing a welcome alternative to the ubiquitous and barely distinguishable tap selections of Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light.  And maybe, just maybe, it will open the minds, eyes and palates of macro-beer drinkers to trying something different once in a while… next time, maybe an actual locally brewed microbrew.

If you like Blue Moon, you might also want to try… St. Bernadus Wit, Allagash White, Wittekerke, or Victory Whirlwind, all great examples of Belgian or American Belgian-Style Witbiers.

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