Monday, April 12, 2010

Coastal Wheat, did Sam Adams really need a Blue Moon?

I remember my first weissbier (wheat beer) back in college. Before I became a beer aficionado (self proclaimed) I frequented JP MacGrady's in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. At the time, I was as likely to order a Molson as a Rogue. When my pitcher came around on the geetarr (listen: Alice's Restaurant) I generally went with whatever pitcher constituted the group consensus, especially if it was $4. Typically this was Yuengling but the night my friend Ed came to visit they had a special on Hoegaarden. We ordered a pitcher and I was very surprised to see it served with an orange wedge.

"Fruit in beer?" I thought, "Surely this is a mistake."

After the first sip I was sold. The orange creates a delightful fruity aroma which enhances the delicate (and somewhat sharp) flavors of the beer. It has a bit of a pungent aroma, but like a good cheese: it's savory. Many people squeeze the lemon or orange into the beer, but the acid serves to ruin the frothy head; it's really meant to be a garnish (and an attention-getter in bars.)

From these humble German roots (also try Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier NaturtrĂ¼b), an American Beer-splosion started. Coors launched Blue Moon, and it's slowly been making it's way into even the seediest of bars. Don't get me wrong, Blue Moon is good (but do we really need more Seasonal's from Coors? Half Moon, Full Moon, New Moon, Dark Moon?)

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