Drinking A Blue Moon, Listening To Aretha

It’s probably declasse to admit this, but I’m drinking a Blue Moon as I listen to Aretha Franklin’s RESPECT.  UJ was here, we ate some pizza, and now I am enjoying a chilled adult beverage and, perhaps, the greatest voice in the history of American popular music.

IMG_1141What, exactly, is wheat beer, and why didn’t it seemingly exist 20 years ago?  Why does it have a fresh, clean, almost fruity taste that is such a nice contrast to a Budweiser?  And, much more importantly, how did Aretha Franklin dig so deep and find the voice that you hear in RESPECT?   It is awesome.

And, as even more of a testament to the fast-moving modern culture, how did wheat beer go from being newly discovered to being the purported beer of a poser so quickly?  It is one of life’s great mysteries.

I don’t care.  As Saturday night percolates, I still like the taste of Blue Moon Ale.

6 thoughts on “Drinking A Blue Moon, Listening To Aretha

  1. Well, since you ask:

    Blue Moon is a particular style of wheat beer, called a “wit” (pronounced “vit”). It’s usually brewed with around 40-60% unmalted wheat, the balance of the grist being malted barley, it is lightly hopped, and almost always finished with spices (the classics being coriander and bitter orange peel). It is also always brewed with one of a few specific yeast strains, which gives it the necessary character to distinguish it from the two other commonly brewed wheat styles (weissbier or hefeweizen and American wheat). The style originated in Belgium around Hoegaarden, and was nearly extinct until Peter Celis resurrected it a few decades ago.

    Blue Moon is one of the best examples of an American macrobrewery doing a “craft” beer well. You might want to consider a comparative tasting of three wits you can readily find in Ohio: Hoegaarden (named for the locale associated with the style), Blue Moon and Great Lakes’ Holy Moses (which adds chamomile to the spice blend); I think you’ll find it compares favorably, although on balance I admit I prefer the Hoegaarden. Or, compare it to the two other popular wheat styles: try it with, say, Paulaner Weiss and Bells Oberon. There are other less well-known wheat beer styles, too, like Berliner weiss, wheat wine, and white IPA.

    I like Blue Moon. Often, at a big chain restaurant with almost no stylistic variety to choose from, it stands with Guinness alone in a sea of pale American lager as a flavorful beer to complement a meal.


  2. Oh, and I now realize my second sentence begins with a pronoun lacking a proper antecedent. “Wit,” not “Blue Moon,” is the antecedent to the “it” in that sentence, and in the few that follow.


    • Mr. Duhamel, you are a great American! Thank you for a very informative response. I’ve had the Hoegaarden and the Paulaner Weiss and the Bells Oberon; I’ll keep my eye out for the Holy Moses.


  3. My pleasure. One other to try, if you can find it: Allagash White. Brewed in Portland, Maine, it is my favorite in this style. It is very hard to find in Ohio, though, and this is a style of beer that does not benefit at all from aging, so if you find it, try to ensure that it hasn’t been sitting on some shelf for two years.


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