The Net Net Home


















Contribute Masthead About Home

Blue Moon Brewing Company, Denver, CO (contract-brewed in Cincinnati)

by Markian Gooley

It's been a long time since I had a genuine Belgian white or "whit" beer, and that makes me nervous. After all, what I criticize as faults might be features of the real thing, little quirks blurred by an old man's memory; what I praise might be flaws in an American caricature.

Anyhow, I used to drink quantities of the Celis version of white beer, brewed in Austin, Texas or thereabouts under the direction of a genuine Belgian. [Celis is a company in Austin, TX that makes Belgian-style beers.] I could distinguish it from the Belgian versions only because it was always fresh, and because it was also cheaper I stopped drinking the imports. For a while I drank few other beers. (Similarly, the best Belgian chocolates I've ever tasted were made in Danville, Illinois by real Belgians, including a lovely young woman, slightly rotund from too much sampling...) I believe that it was AjD who told me that the Celis operation has been acquired by Miller, but that the founder is still in charge. Miller seems to be limiting distribution: certainly it was AjD who told me that Celis beers are no longer available in Michigan, and I have trouble finding them here in Montana.

A white beer is a wheat ale: in mashing, high-enzyme barley malt acts not only on itself but on wheat, and the resulting beer is cloudy when cold from residual proteins. This is known as "chill haze" and in most beers it's considered a defect; if I recall, the wheat for white beers is hard wheat, especially rich in proteins, and makes the haze even worse. The proteins and unfermentables from the wheat make the beer thick and rich, but not as sweet as an all-barley beer; there's a strong taste of wheat and almost a starchiness. Traditionally, coriander and orange peel go into a white beer, and tend to overwhelm the mild hopping.

Blue Moon Belgian White is slightly darker in color than Celis, which is almost straw-colored. The chill haze is thicker, and stays thick even as the beer approaches room temperature: an inch or less blocks images. (Think of Corn Husker's Lotion, which is supposedly used as a stand-in for human semen in pornographic movies -- that's about the opacity.) The neck label gives oats as another ingredient: probably these exacerbate the haze, and I fancy that I can taste them; I don't know whether they are a traditional ingredient of this style.

Taste. Perhaps the coriander and orange-peel tastes are slightly overdone, or at least stronger than in Celis or the Belgian versions, but they are still pleasant. The oats, perhaps, provide a flavor reminiscent of egg whites or soy-protein powder or even oatmeal, but it's not flagrant or jarring: it seems almost to belong in this beer. There's some bitterness, as of hops, and to my taste it's about right as well. If you like Belgian- style white beers as much as I do, you'll probably enjoy this version from Blue Moon. I'd still rate Celis as slightly better, but this is more than an adequate substitute.

The Net Net is affiliated with
All contents of this Web site are copyright © 1996 - 2001 The Net Net and individual artists and authors. Do not reproduce contents of this site without permission of The Net Net and the artist or author. You may link to this site freely.
Design by Marmoset Media. Illustrations by Les graphiques Grenade. Hosted by The Anteroom.