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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Once in a Blue Moon

There is a saying often used around these parts... "Don't knock it till you've tried it", as a response to anybody who is negative, especially with weird or off the wall subjects.

Of course one of my favourite sports that gets me out of bed these days is to rib Hooky and Bowie about the girlie nature of American Beer...and then sit back and listen to their cages rattle, as they drool and strain at their leather fetters...desperate to get their gums round the rims of a few pints of Heavy, and put an end to this barguement.

The fact that being Americans, and coming from a gene pool of people who were hardy and curious enough to leap onto boats at the mere thought of a Promised Land, makes them a proud and feisty breed, who don't take kindly to having their nationhood poked with a stick from across the water. They forgot tho, in their hurry, to take irony over with them as well as the Beer recipes.

Recently they have been fighting back in a new "If you can't beat them join them " kind of way. For the passed twenty years the US answer was to flood out the UK market with cheap bottles of Bud and numerous other dreadful corn beers, usually with an "exotic" Americana TV ad... but with the dumbing down of the Union, by the Bush Dynasty ( ironically from possibly the most macho of the US states ) the pendulum of Beer taste is swinging the other way, British and European Ales are on the up... Flavor is back, and i am increasingly getting reports from the La -Z- Boy's of Indiana, of mysterious Craft beers and Macro beers. ( you can't beat the simple description of a beers' flavor to get the juices of a beer drinker going )

So my own curiosity was itself aroused when I saw on the top shelf of the beer aisle in my hypermart, a small blue labelled bottle, marked North American Craft beer.

I decided not to read the label... but instead just to buy it and try it as a "blind" taste session.

Well I am pleased to report that it was very tasty. A Belgian-style witbier , made with pale malted barley, wheat and oats, and mildly spicy American Hallertau hops, spiced with a bit of orange peel and coriander. Cloudy, and unfiltered, and looking like rusty tap water, it is from the same family of beers as the Hoegaarden White Beer I am fond of guzzling here on hot summer nights.

Naturally I decide to check out this and was initially amused to see the whole site had been set up to look like someone had thought all this idea up using Moleskine Books, as every thing was drawn up and made to look oaksy and folksy and as you would imagine a craft beer to be ....made by some ornery old hop smelling genius in a sawdust strewn loft in the backwoods of the Midwest.
Sadly, with a bit of probing I find this particular beer wasn't made in a tiny brewpub somewhere, but brewed by Molson Coors, the nation's third-largest brewery (after Anheuser-Bush and SABMiller). And sales of Blue Moon White Ale last year approached 800,000 barrels, more than 2.6 million, 12-ounce bottles.

But on the other hand, this is excellent beer: Dry, mildly spicy nose, hint of orange and summer fruit and a crisp taste of clean malt with a tart finish and a gentle rush of drying coriander.

Certainly Blue Moon shows mainstream Americans are picking up on the idea that beer can have flavor, and it is a step in the right direction... and like Ol' MLK, I too "have a dream": That the day will come when those tasteless lagers we like to rag on from the shires of England, will be America's ancient history, replaced by foaming tankards of Brown Ale and Mild. and stouts and Porters, and glorious Scottish Heavys..

Sir Dayvd ( you gotta have a dream..if you don't have a ya gonna...etc etc ) of Oxfordshire


  1. Good to know that we Americans can do something right once in a blue moon.
    I'll let Lady Suzanne comment on the coincidental (if that's a word) nature of your blog.

    All I'll say is that great minds think alike.

    Sir Bowie of Greenbriar

  2. let's see what's been happening, coincidental in many ways:

    Sir Bowie is receiving Twelve Days of Christmas from me this year
    (a poem, and a bag or box until Epiphany)

    (actually a month of Christmas since he's had his banjodulcimer for a while now)

    We went to Owensboro on the 26th (St. Stephens)
    with a box of clothes for my sister-in-law as we've both lost weight this past year and I have many to share with her that no longer fit me : )

    and we made a quick trip to Wal-Mart there - we drove the getaway car for my brother -

    then a trip to Bachauus for BLUE MOON for Sir Lance and me,
    the others ventured into other drinks - Sir Bowie tried a Monty Python beer that he only took a swallow of - so you know it was horrible!

    Lady Suzanne of Greenbriar, who's starting to make the 2009 goals list
    top of it "IF NOT NOW. WHEN?"

  3. LOL SPOOOOKY!!!!!!

    UnSeen Forces are at work here,

    Sir Dayvd ( who is in Paris, France right this minute, so if i walk out this door and bump into you two on the boulivard de Montparnasse, then I will freak out...) of Oxfordshire...

  4. we'll the goofy looking Americans

    watch for a circus-like sweater ; )

  5. Now I'm laughing my arse off! Blue Moon has become as common a beer ordered in the watered down watering holes of America as Bud Light.

    I will take your review; however, as serious. It actually confirms that this is indeed a great brew. Coors/Molson has done a very good job with this brand. We're still waiting for the Belgium owned AB to belly up to the bar set by Blue Moon. Their first attempt, simply called American Ale is weak at best, of course I wouldn't turn it down if that's all the choice I had.

    Blue Moon actually does several seasonals like Sam Adams. Most are very good. I especially like their Winter White Ale and their Halloween Pumpkin Ale, but their original Belgium Wheat still remains my favorite.

    Speaking of Blue Moons...they happen about once every two and half years. A Blue Moon is an extra full moon in a quarter. The next one is New Year's Eve in 2009...Lady Allwinky's Birthday.

    Sounds like plans for a great KMSA Feast with Blue Moon on tap!

    Sir Hook Who Rather Celebrate a Blue Moon than Blue Balls of Warrick

  6. Yes I guess finding it in a Hypermart should have given the game need serious clout to sell in those sort of places..

    But i was taken in by the use of the word North American Craft Beer,

    ( by all accounts they tried to sell it as Belgian White Beer, to which the Belgians quite rightly that where i should use the oft quoted US; "Lipstick on a Pig" Phrase..?.:))

    My working definition of craft beer hews to a "functionalist" model of the definition of art. An arrangement of conditions intended to be capable of affording an experience with marked aesthetic character. Craft beer is that brewed with an intention toward its "aesthetic character." Maybe i get all romantic and feel that should only be made by very small brewers,
    as if the quantity and private undiscovered nature of the beer would affect the experience. Which i feel in someways it does. Blue Moon didn't quite taste as good after i found out it was brewed in such large amounts.
    Much as a Hockney print on my wall wouldn't have the same cache if it was part of a Limited Edition of 2 million.

    I'm fearing now that Blue Moon has grossly devalued the Craft Beer Marque.

    Still, I mustn't get too prissy about these things... as i say...its good to hear that Americans have discovered Flavor.

    Sir Dayvd ( entante Cordialle ce soir ) of Oxfordshire...