My personal favorite was a brown IPA, while Jim gravitated more toward the fruitier, hoppier West Coast IPA.
I’ll be honest: I haven’t had Blue Moon beer in years. First, I lost my taste for white, fruity beers. And then you have the fact that it’s owned by conglomerate Coors Brewing; we prefer to support microbreweries, not least because their beers are often more vibrant and flavorful.
That said, we probably would have skipped the opening of Denver’s new Blue Moon Brewing Company and restaurant, located in the city’s trendy River North (RiNo) neighborhood. But there were a couple bands, and I got media tickets, and—well, you know: free beer.
We were pleasantly surprised—wowed, even. Blue Moon Brewery isn’t just Blue Moon beer; there’s a hearty selection of variations that easily rival the taste of microbrewed offerings. My personal favorite was a brown IPA, while Jim gravitated more toward the fruitier, hoppier West Coast IPA. And the peach ale was oddly delicious, more like a sweet wine than a beer, but still very palatable, even for those of us not drawn to fruity beers. The appetizers were delicious; we can’t wait to return and try the full menu.
The musical acts for the night, Family of the Year and Mayer Hawthorne, were uneven in both musical style and audience reception. The openers were enjoyable if not altogether memorable, providing a soundtrack to the dipping sun, which cast a stunning red glow over the mountains. The headliner was a showman as usual—gold lamé suit jacket matched by black suits on his band members—but the music was jazzy, crowd-friendly, and to us, at least, cloying. We spent the entirety of his set in the t-shirt line—they were printing free Blue Moon t-shirts on site—so had an up-front view of the stage. Mother Nature provided a sudden, unforgettable end to the concert as lightning, rain, and light hail quickly moved in, forcing everyone indoors.
Blue Moon originated in Denver in 1995, ahead of the curve when it came to smaller breweries. So even though it’s owned by one of the big guys, it’s still a local beer at heart. | Laura Hamlett