All about that wheat

Drink Blue Moon? Try These Three Beers Next


November 14, 2019 Drinks By

First brewed in 1995, Blue Moon was one of the first successful “craft” beer attempts by an American macro-brewery (MillerCoors). The 5.4 percent ABV Belgian-style wheat ale (also known as a witbier) was initially dubbed Bellyslide Wit and brewed by Keith Villa at Sandlot Brewery in the basement of Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. It took home the gold medal at the 1995 World Beer Championship in the White Beer category, beginning its rise as a national staple in nearly every bar, liquor store and gas station across America (plus a couple dozen other countries).

Brewed with malted barley, white wheat, Valencia orange peel, coriander and oats, Blue Moon is unfiltered, hazy and citrus-packed. If you like Blue Moon, here are three other beers to top with an orange slice.

Allagash Brewing Company White

Style: Witbier
ABV: 5.2%
Availability: Year-round, nationwide

The Standard: The ultimate American witbier, Rob Todd of Allagash Brewing Company hitched his entire wagon to witbier by releasing only Allagash White when he opened in 1995. That decision has paid plenty of dividends. Where Blue Moon leans into the use of an orange peel as a garnish, Allagash White is a little lighter on the citrus flavors and a tad spicier. White is brewed with oats, malted wheat, unmalted raw wheat, coriander and Curaçao orange peel that all complement well with Allagash’s house yeast. For something a little less like a shandy and more like a traditional Belgian beer, reach for an Allagash White.

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Bell’s Brewery Oberon Ale

Style: American Wheat Beer
ABV: 5.8%
Availability: Seasonal, nationwide

Seasonal Special: While the witbier makes use of fruit (typically orange), the American wheat ale relies more on a notable hop character. Oberon Ale from Bell’s Brewery is a much-heralded seasonal American wheat beer that is brewed without fruit but still offers tempered notes of citrus and spice. The signature noble hops Hersbrucker (German) and Saaz (Czech) impart a crisp texture and cleaner appearance that differentiates from the softness and cloudiness of Blue Moon. For those who like Blue Moon and New England-style IPAs, Oberon sits as a good middle ground between the two.

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Dogfish Head Namaste White

Style: Witbier
ABV: 4.8%
Availability: Year-round, nationwide

The Twist: Never content with creating just a traditional, Dogfish Head’s Namaste White is an off-centered spin on the classic witbier. It’s brewed with whole orange slices, fresh-cut lemongrass, peppercorns and a bit of coriander for a slightly spicy finish and a zesty mouthfeel. The citrus and spice in Namaste White balance each other a little more than a Blue Moon where citrus is a tad more prominent. For those who want a more tangy take on a witbier, Namaste White is a good bet.

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Ryan Brower serves as a Project Coordinator for Editorial Operations and also writes about beer and surfing for Gear Patrol. He lives in Brooklyn, loves the ocean and almost always has a film camera handy.

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