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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tap Handle #306: Blue Moon (MillerCoors) - Belgian White Copper Kettle

This is a very rare figural tap from Blue Moon. Most Blue Moon taps look like the one to the right - nice, but kind of plain. I don't know why this figural tap was created (and why its numbers are so limited). There is another figural tap featuring a big round blue moon on top of a post of wheat stalks.

Blue Moon Brewing was founded in Golden, Colorado in 1995. It is a part of the Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the craft and import division of MillerCoors. The Blue Moon recipe was created by Keith Villa, a brewer at Coors Field's Sandlot Brewery. After earning his Ph.D. in brewing from the University of Brussels in Belgium, an honor only a handful of brewers have achieved, Keith came back stateside with the idea of crafting beers inspired by Belgian styles, but with a twist. His first interpretation turned out to be Bellyslide Belgian White (later renamed Blue Moon Belgian White) and the start of the Blue Moon Brewing Company.

From 1995 to 2005, Villa went bar to bar, store to store, dropping off bags of oranges to garnish the beers. He started getting calls from the bar owners who ran out of oranges. They told him how people loved the beer garnished with an orange slice. The only catch was, bars didn’t stock oranges as a drink garnish, so they wanted Villa to deliver more bags of oranges. Blue Moon's first seasonal beer, Pumpkin Ale, was brewed in the fall of 1995. It was crafted with harvest spices and pumpkin to capture the taste of the season. Still brewed today (currently known as Harvest Pumpkin Ale), it was the first pumpkin beer to be nationally distributed. The currently produce several season and specialty varieties.

Sometimes called the most controversial beer in American, Blue Moon gets this label from that fact that although it appears to be a craft beer, it is actually owned and brewed by Molson Coors, one of the biggest beer companies in the world. Because of this there are many in the craft beer community who are apprehensive about the beer’s popularity. They see it as an attempt by corporate America to infiltrate the craft beer scene under false pretenses and steal the profits from small, independently owned breweries. The Molson Coors name does not appear anywhere on the label, and much of production now comes from the Molson brewery in Toronto, with a small portion from the SandLot brewery in Golden.

The Brewers Association published a list of companies, including MillerCoors, that didn’t fit its definition of a “craft brewer.” The association knocked them for excluding parent companies from their labels. Craft brewers are “small, independent, and traditional,” according to the group, meaning the brewery produces fewer than 6 million barrels a year. They also must be less than 25 percent-owned by a megabrewer and rely on malted barley and not what brewers consider filler ingredients, like corn and rice.

But Blue Moon also has its proponents. The popularity of the beer has been growing rapidly in the last few years, meaning that the bottom line is that consumers like the taste. And Blue Moon is considered by some to be a "gateway" beer, where traditional lager and light lager drinkers try Blue Moon, then move on to try other types of beers such as a hefeweisen or lambic.

Blue Moon is an unfiltered Belgian white (witbier) brewed with oats for creaminess and spiced with the perfect combination of orange peel and coriander, and is garnished with an orange slice. It has won numerous medals at beer competitions. Recommended food pairings are grilled shrimp, Asian dishes like pad thai, and marinated chicken dishes. Weighted average on is 2.99 out of 5.

Blue Moon Official Website

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