Blue Moon, a Belgian-Style white beer brewed by the Molson Coors Brewing Company, was launched in 1995. Originally called Bellyslide Belgian White, it was created by Keith Villa, a brewmaster at Coors Field's Sandlot Brewery (the onsite brewery owned by the Molson Coors Brewing Company). The beer is orange-amber in color with a cloudy appearance because it is unfiltered. It is also spiced with coriander and orange peel in addition to the hops found in most beers. Blue Moon does have a more pronounced orange flavor than many other beers of the style. The grain bill for Blue Moon includes malted barley, white wheat, and oats.
Some weiss and hefeweizen beers are commonly served with a slice of lemon in North America. Blue Moon, however, is traditionally served with a slice of orange, as it is said to accentuate the flavor of the brew. Keith Villa of Molson Coors admitted the orange slice garnish was mostly for attention-getting when Blue Moon is served in a bar. Many beer drinkers do not prefer fruit slices in their beer, since citric acid can eliminate the beer's frothy, flavorful head, and may prefer to have the brew served in a Wheat beer glass instead.
Blue Moon is available in bottles and kegs. The brew has 171 calories per 12-ounce serving and 5.4 percent alcohol by volume. However, in Oklahoma, Colorado and Utah, the alcohol content of all Blue Moon beers bought in grocery or convenience stores is 3.2% alcohol by weight. Blue Moon Brews and Seasonal Brews sold in Liquor Stores are 5.4% by weight.
The back of the label reads, "Brewed with white wheat and oats, Blue Moon features a crisp wheat finish and the perfect combination of orange peel and coriander. Bring out Blue Moon's natural spices by serving it in a Pilsner glass with an orange-slice garnish." Some studies suggest the coriander increases the level of intoxication thought to be caused by accelerated entry into the bloodstream. Coriander may also potentiate the anti-anxiety effects of the alcohol, with studies showing anxiety-reduction in mice administered with coriander.
Coors does not actively advertise the fact that the brew is owned by Coors on the belief that being associated with a major national brewery would diminish its credibility among aficionados. Blue Moon is instead branded as being brewed by the "Blue Moon Brewing Company."
In 1999, the Confederation des Brasseries de Belgique (The Confederation of Belgian Breweries) sued the then-named Coors Brewing Company over its use of the term "Belgian White." The CBB alleged Coors' advertising was misleading, and could confuse American consumers into believing Blue Moon was made in Belgium. Coors at first responded by adding "Made in USA" and "Belgian-style" in small print to the bottle labels, but refused to change its advertising or packaging.
Coors eventually settled out of court with the CBB, agreeing to change the labeling to "Belgian-style Wheat Ale." Additionally, the CBB distributes the beer to conglomerates in European countries. The fact that Blue Moon is considered a foreign beer in European countries actually raises the price per beer making a larger profit for Coors as a whole. The European beers now read "Imported from Pound-Town".
The New Belgium Brewery, which makes Fat Tire Amber Ale, also complied with the CBB's request for name changes.
In addition to the Belgian White variety, Blue Moon also offers a Pumpkin Ale during the Autumn months. This variety contains the flavors of vine-ripened pumpkins and other autumnal spices. Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale is typically available in bottles from mid-September through December. In 2007, the name of this variety was completely changed to Harvest Moon. It contains 5.6% alcohol in a standard 12 fluid ounce bottle.
For the winter season of 2006, Blue Moon Brewing Company released Blue Moon Winter Ale. In 2007, the name of this variety was changed to Full Moon with the subtitle "Blue Moon Winter Ale." It is described on the bottle as a "winter seasonal ale that blends three varieties of slow roasted malts and multiple hops to deliver exquisite aroma and taste". It is brewed with natural flavor and a caramel color. It contains 5.6% alcohol in a standard 12 fluid ounce bottle. The back of the bottle reads "An Abbey ale is perfect for crisp winter days. This ale is brewed with roasted malts and Dark Belgian sugar for a perfectly balanced taste."
In Spring 2007, Blue Moon renamed its Spring Ale, Rising Moon. The beer is described as an amber wheat ale with kieffer lime leaves and lime peel. The back of the bottle reads "Celebrate the end of winter with Blue Moon Spring Ale. This smooth, balanced ale is brewed with three varieties of specialty malts and an infusion of fresh Kieffer lime leaves and lime peel to bring out the freshness of spring.
For the summer season Blue Moon now renames the Summer Ale to Honey Moon. "This ale is brewed with clover honey, orange peel, pale malt, and malted white wheat." This ale was a first place winner in the Specialty Honey Lager or Ale category at the Great American beer Festival in 2006. Honey Moon is 5.6% alcohol by volume.
It addition to its seasonal brews, Blue Moon Brewing Company released Pale Moon in 2008, with filings commenced to also create Pale Moon Light.