I realise that I am very late to this party, as I usually am. The later one turns up to the party the more likely that all the amusing drunks are drunk and you can play the sober one looking after them, in my experience, mind you, I tend not to go to parties very much so I could have missed my guess, who really knows? Point is that this particular ale has very much done the rounds on the places I frequent with many people having tried it, reviewed it and rated it to the point where you may well ask why I am bothering reviewing it. The reason is, of course, because I can. Also, I haven't done it already and I am something of a complete-ist. What ale is this? Why, it's Blue Moon from the, uh, Blue Moon Brewing Company. Which is original.
After last week's wheat beer are you ready for a second dive into that particular pool? You are? Well, good, you can follow below the break and view my own rather esoteric journey.
This was a gift from Willow and was thus inspired by part-madness, part-tiredness and part-she-was-there. Even so, she was right, I would not have sprung for this without it being a gift because I have my issues when it comes to paying for things (as anyone who peruses my reviews will note, I am nothing if not parsimonious). Why mention this? Because gifts are special and that automatically elevates any ale - when it is bought for you. Anyway, this poured with a big and swift head, as one would expect from something brewed in the Belgian style, but it was so swift that I utterly failed to capture it on my camera. The instant orange barley water cloudy aspect was noted and approved of with plenty of fizz and little spits of bubbles upwards showing it to be lively and interesting. No trace of the head remained after about forty seconds or so and the activity, though still there, was no longer the same urgent mass as when I poured it.
This is a pretty strong little number and that comes across immediately in the nose, which is tinged with that sharp cut of the alcohol in the air that plays across the smooth skating rink of the malt underbelly. Difficult to place the malt beyond that, but it carried an edge of sour and bitter notes without them overpowering. Smooth and reminiscent of those hot milky drinks that people seem to rave about before sleep, very much in line with the Hefeweizen (which is to be expected) but without being too close.
On the tongue this is actually much more mellow and less alcoholic than the aroma would have suggested. It opens malty and soft, running down like velvet without the strong muffled feel of a stout and yet full and fruity mouthfeel. Elements of mango style smoothness, if not the actual flavour, make it hard to pin down any particular fruit but this is definitely the kind of ale that would have eyebrows raised at its language in the right circles, but would use euphemisms like the kind employed by public school people on night's out in the 1970s. Think a less ribald version of Are You Being Served (which I believe is back on TV or something?). It is actually very like a squash with minimal water added but not in a bad way. There's bitterness in the sides, as one would expect, but no real edge and limited straying into the acidic citrus that happens in most summer ales so to quench thirst, this quenches more through the muffled softness that envelopes and holds tight rather than slashes through and makes one go 'ah' at the end. The whole thing retains the activity of a 1970s cop show with the more refined taste of whatever it is that you consider to be refined taste - not so sweet or malty as a bedtime drink but nor so smokey and intense as a bitter or golden ale. Indeed, after the sweetness of the Hefeweizen this is quite a difference and really quite moreish. Like sausages on sticks and small picked onions atop cubes of cheese at a dinner party - refreshingly normal but also curiously belonging to a different era. Not an avocado in sight.
Try it and you will soon see why it gets drunk by so many people in beer communities, why mango is a good descriptive term despite it tasting nothing like a mango and why the 1970s was as it was. Wear something brown or beige to commemorate the occasion, make use of some small carved wooden animals from the African grasslands of your choice (or an onyx egg) and prepare to play Mastermind with a fellow beer drinker. It goes well with drama on the TV and a big fish and chips from the local chippy on a Friday night, trim that moustasche and keep your hair long, but watch out for the ends of your collar, you don't want to spill a drop if you can help it!