Sunday, March 25, 2012

If you like Blue Moon you may also like...

For many people, beers like Blue Moon are their introduction to craft beer. Beer snobs will gnash their teeth and point out that Blue Moon is not a real craft beer (which is true, it's actually made by Coors), but I say, so what? The important thing is that these folks have opened up to beers with more flavor than Coors Light or Bud Light or whatever. They obviously realize beer can taste like more than carbonated malt, and they like that idea. That's great! So what do you try next if you've had and enjoyed Blue Moon?

It's not as easy as "have some Arrogant Bastard!" You may think you're an awesome craft beer dude who knows the best beers there are, but chances are your friend/relative/whoever will hate the intense new craft beer you're trying to introduce them to. As I've argued before, most people are bad at making recommendations. If Blue Moon is someone's gateway beer, you can lead them further into excellent craft beer with some well-chosen recommendations. Here are my suggestions (tailored towards beers available in the Northeast):

  • Allagash White - Same basic style as Blue Moon (Belgian-style witbier), but not as sweet, with a rich bready banana aroma. Also one of the best witbiers out there. This is a top-shelf beer. You can serve it with orange like Blue Moon, but I wouldn't recommend it.
  • Harpoon UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen - Personally I'm not a huge fan (heck, I've brewed better), but someone who likes Blue Moon may enjoy this fruit-fueled hefe, a style nicely comparable with witbiers. It's a pleasant drinking beer with nice fruit overtones.
  • Sierra Nevada Kellerweis - A light-but-tasty hefe that only has a mild yeasty taste; quite refreshing. Can be served with orange, if you're into that, but drinks nicely on its own. Great bridge from Blue Moon to better craft beers. This is an amazing early summer beer.
  • Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier - A fruity witbier. The blackberries are front and center; it drinks dry for the style, though (which is to say, it's "crisp"). Not among their best, but it may be appropriate for the taste of someone who enjoys Blue Moon, which is fruitier than you'd expect for the style. (This can also be swapped out for Sam Adams' Coastal Wheat, a pretty basic but nice drinking wheat beer).
  • Southhampton Double White - A knock-you-on-your-ass beer compared to Blue Moon, this is a higher alcohol than usual witbier with lots of flavor (6.7% ABV compared to Blue Moon's 5.4%). It might be too "heavy" for someone who swears by Blue Moon, but it's worth trying if they appear ready to plunge into bigger bears. Similar aroma, less citrus-sweetness, but in the same general style ballpark.
  • Magic Hat #9 - I'm also not a fan of this one, but Blue Moon fans may be. It's an apricot-centric pale ale that a lot of people really enjoy, especially during the warmer weather. It's widely enjoyed by beer people everywhere. This is worth trying if Blue Moon introduced you to craft beer. (As an alternate, swap in Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat.)

Most of these will win you no major beer snob awards, but who the hell cares? The most important thing is that at least one or two will hit the spot for folks who got introduced to better beer via Blue Moon.


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1 comment:

  1. I think you are right on with your assessment. IPA's and really strong heavy tasting beers are what all the "beer snobs" are into. I don't mind a heavy beer now and then, but I prefer a lighter beer, especially in warmer weather. And if I'm going to drink more than one or two. Blue Moon is what I now buy instead of Coors or Miller for parties--I buy their seasonal pack and let people try something different. It's my after work beer. I save the others for special occasions or nights when I can focus on the subtleties of what I'm drinking. Avery's White Rascal is close and Shock Top is almost identical to Blue Moon. Ommegang Witte and Leinenkugels Sunset Wheat are another couple that are tasty.