It’s the Fourth of July today so it made sense to write about an American beer. A look through the beers in the garage revealed the only one I had from the States was Blue Moon’s Belgian Wit.
Well, it’s sort of from the States. According to the label it was made in Canada for a US brewer and then exported to the United Kingdom before my bottle turned up on the shelves at Purvis Beer in Melbourne. So this beer’s a bit of a seasoned traveller.
It’ll also likely annoy a number of US beer geeks, because Blue Moon is seen as one of those evil “faux craft” breweries trying to horn in on the market created by “real craft beer”. See, this brewery is actually owned US giant Coors, which is mentioned on the rear label (though from reading US reports and blogs, there may have been a time when Coors kept their name off the label altogether.
That controversy was exactly why I wanted to try this beer, and why I was excited to see it on the shelf at Purvis. Without all that kerfuffle I’d would have never heard of the beer and never wanted to try it. I wanted to see if it was any good, if a big brewer had put out a great beer or a crappy watered-down version of a Belgian wit.
And the answer is this beer lies somewhere in the middle. It definitely doesn’t sit alongside the likes of Hoegaarden or even our own Feral White in terms of quality Belgian wits. Tasting it I really didn’t get any orange peel or coriander flavours – which are standard for this style. Instead the dominant flavour for me was apricot, which was rather weird. There were some spices that came through at the back end but they were pretty weak for my liking.
I did like the fact that they used a bit of oatmeal in the brew, because that has given it quite a nice, soft mouthfeel. But overall, it’s an odd, entry-level wit. Something that newbies might like but not something I’ll feel any need to buy more of.