Nick Carr on June 1, 2015 5 Comments Quick Characteristics Brewery: Blue Moon Brewing Co. Location: Golden, CO Style: Spiced Beer ABV: 5.5% IBUs: 10 Hops: Sterling Hops Malts: 2-Row Pale, Long Grain Rice Appearance: Hazy, Pale Golden Color with Brilliant White Head Aroma: Strong Cinnamon With Notes of Vanilla & Nutmeg; Reminiscent of Sweet Doughnuts Flavor: Zealous Cinnamon With Powdered Sugar; Notes of Vanilla Add to Sweetness; Zesty Lime or Orange Appears at Finish Availability: Limited Pairs With: Fontina Cheese, Rich Chocolate Cake, Doughnuts, Apple Crepes For better or worse, Blue Moon is not a brewing company I pay attention to. I try to be open minded about microbreweries that have decided to sell to macrobreweries, I mean, they probably had their reasons, right? Access to well-connected distribution networks and better labs are two reasons I can think of right off the top of my head, and they no doubt had the best interest of their brewery in mind at the time of these decisions. But they made the decision, and with the decision, I believe, they both gain and forfeit certain things. For instance, they gain a widespread distribution system that can get their beer to many more consumers; they lose some (or all) face in the craft beer world and, by its very definition, any right to the craftbrew name. Is this right? I’m not so sure. What I have a larger issue with is the sneakiness with which most macro-bought microbreweries and their now parent companies market. In doing this beer review for Cinnamon Horchata, I read quotes from both Miller-Coors and Blue Moon saying they are proud of their partnership. Yet, nowhere on their beer or the Blue Moon website will you find any indication that Miller-Coors owns this microbrewery. Why? If they are both so proud, why keep it a secret? Marketing. They both know there is a good possibility of losing customers, if said costumers become aware of Blue Moons non-independence. It’s sneaky and I don’t like it. Another reason I don’t support them has strictly to do with the parent company. Macro companies have completely different reasons for buying a micro then do the micro for selling. For them it’s all about money. The rise in popularity of craft beer has slowed macrobrewery product consumption, so they try, through buying out and “crafty” advertising, to get their hand in this new cookie jar. But, how many micros do you see sticking their hands in Big Beers’ cookie jar and making American Light lager? Not many. The microbreweries rebuilt a market that had all but disappeared, because they simply liked different beer. And it was a success. Big Beer is already successful… and I’d much rather spend my money on a (enter style of beer here) made by a smaller true craft beer outfit then one where some part of my money goes toward supporting a conglomerate that, put simply, seems to just be greedy. But that’s me. My reasons for not supporting them have nothing to do with their quality of beer (most of the time). Many of these macroed-micro companies still make good examples of different beer styles and sometimes make something that just can’t be found anywhere else… like this Cinnamon Horchata Ale. Blue Moon’s founder and head brewer, Keith Villa, has the education to back up his products, but Horchata beer? Guess there’s only one what to find out if this sweet cultural beverage translates to the brewing realm… THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata. If you’ve tasted this beer or you’re drinking one now as you read this review, please share your thoughts or tasting notes with everyone down in the comments below. The Pour and Aroma Pours a pale golden. It’s slightly hazy, with a finger and a half of brilliant white head. Head drops to a thin, dissipating layer of small bubbles. Good carbonation rising of the bottom sets the surface to actively crackling. Aroma reminds me of deep fried sweet yeast dough, or put simpler, Doughnuts. Cinnamon blankets the pale malt’s sweet qualities. Slight vanilla and nutmeg add to the overall impression of sweetness. Mouthfeel and Taste Mouthfeel is velvety smooth with moderate carbonation pushing the luscious body. Full and mouthcoating. It tastes much as it smells. Like a doughnut fresh from the fryer with a zealous hand sprinkling cinnamon and powdered sugar over top. There is a bit of vanilla and even some hints at coconut to make the heavy sweet character somewhat more interesting. Some lime and maybe orange zest rise up at the end. Finishing The Impression Full disclosure here: I’ve never tried horchata, so I can’t really say how it compares to the much-loved cultural drink. I had some trouble finishing mine because of the unabashed sweetness. It’s very sweet. This is a dessert beer, no mistake. So, if you like your beers sweet or have a hankering for doughnuts, but don’t want the work of chewing, have at it. It’s worth at least one novelty act. As for me, once was definitely enough. I go in search of something a little drier. Cheers!