Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Orange slice in your beer?

Some things are just better off without a head.

the Headless Horseman
Peking Duck
Maximilien Robespierre
Spencer Pratt

Beer, on the other hand, is not one of them.

Head is important (that's what he said) because it contains so much of the beer's aroma.  By thinning out the head, you're depriving yourself of all of the fragrant loveliness that lies within those bubbles.

Can you guess what can cause the head to dissipate?

Yep.  An orange slice.

The citric acid and the oils from the orange break down the head and can distract (and even overpower) your tastebuds, preventing them from experiencing the full flavor of the beer.  Major thumbs down.

The whole "orange slice in your beer" thing is, more or less, a marketing gimmick made popular by the fifth largest brewing company in the world.  Care for a little back story?

16 years ago, Coors Brewing Company gave birth to a wheat beer that would eventually become one of the most commercially available wheat beers on the market.  In an effort to keep the Coors name from tainting the beer's "craft-brewed" image and credibility, they slapped "Blue Moon Brewing Company" on the box.

And Blue Moon was born. 

A brewer at Molson Coors admitted that the addition of an orange slice to Blue Moon was "mostly for attention-getting" when being served.  Hey man, I get it.  They have a product to sell.  I just won't be buying it for my own fridge, not when there are so many other, tastier offerings from smaller craft breweries.

Next time the bartender reaches for that little box, the one with the plastic cover that houses all the fruit garnishes, I encourage you to smile, put up your hand and say, "Save it for the sangria, honey child."

Then take a sip of your beer.  The one with the head.  The one without the orange.

The moral of the story:

Don't decapitate your beer, kids.


  1. Ali, after I say this, you may decide that I'm not worthy of you....not only do I like Blue Moon, but I like it with a slice of orange. Please say we can still be friends.

    If it helps any, I prefer Hoegaarden over Blue Moon. But I take that with a slice of orange as well.

  2. As soon as I read the title, I knew this was about Blue Moon. My husband agrees with you 100%. He says the orange is a gimmick for getting you to buy crappy tasting beer.

    He's an IPA man.

  3. Wendi - If given the chance, I'd add ginger ale to a fine scotch. My mom takes her white wine with an ice cube. We all have our things :) And of course we can still be friends/BSP roomies. Although I can't promise I won't try to wrestle that orange slice out of your hand...

    The Shanner - My guess is the people at Molson Coors figured that if it was labeled as "Coors Blue Moon", die hard fans of the Silver Bullet might lose respect for the brand and those looking for a wheat beer might be turned off by the conglomerate name. Sneaky bastards. Btw, I think your husband and my husband would get along swimmingly.

  4. School me, seester!! Thanks for the "heads" up. Whoa. I'll spread the word.

    PS - We're due for a beer tasting at the Berry house. xoxo

  5. Michele - Sip. Learn. Educate. That's my motto (that I just made up.) I foresee a lot of Allagash White in your future fridge <3

  6. oh dear. like Wendi, i must make sure we can still be friends... i like blue moon. i like stella better but if that's not available, i turn to blue moon.

    and my dad taught me to pour beer to minimize head, by 11 years old i was able to pour it, apparently, incorrectly... huh.


  7. i'll pass on the orange slice, yucky in beer..thanks for the info


  8. Angry Asian - My dad comes from the same school of thought. Less head = more beer in the glass. I have to do some serious arm-twisting to get him to stray from his Miller Lite (hi friend <3)

    Sweetlife - you're welcome :D

  9. I'm a long time lurker, and this post finally brought me out of my hidey hole. This post is absolutely world shattering! You mean I've been (legally) drinking beer wrong for the past 1.5 years?! Say it isn't so. I enjoy Blue Moon with a slice of orange! Even my parents who lived in Germany, a land of good beer/ale/whatever, like Blue Moon with orange. I just...I can't even!

  10. Jackie - I'm glad this post helped lure you out of your cozy corner of the internet. Welcome :D While I believe that a beer without head is like a bath with no bubbles, I fully support one's decision to continue drinking it with an orange slice.

    Would any of the Blue Mooners here consider trying another wheat beer with a slice? Sorry, sorry...pushing my luck here.

  11. surely the moral of the story, at least from a photographic point of view is "Drink Williamsburg Alewerks"?

  12. Velky Al - Good eye! Do you ever play "Name That Beer?" when you see someone holding a bottle in a photo? Yeah, me too.

  13. Yup. I have been known to recognise the original beer from a bottle used for homebrew.

  14. Mmmmm sangria. I'll take a blue moon AND a glass of sangria. Mama's thirsty.

  15. The awful truth is I was drinking a Blue Moon Spring Blonde Wheat Ale from the Seasonal Collection while checking my blog feed. Fail! I do like the orange, but this is good info!

  16. I will now stand on top of every soap box and tell everyone how we cannot enjoy beer with orange slices! There will be a revolution!

  17. Darci - that reminds me, we need to go back to Fire Works sometime. There's no Blue Moon on the beer list, though ;)

    Rick - I would stand on top of a keg to really drive the point home.

  18. You won't have to worry about me putting a slice of orange in my wheat beer, but that's mostly because I don't like wheat beers. At least we can agree that Heidi could do better..

  19. Polwygle - wheat beers aren't typically the first beer I reach for (that's what tripels are for) but during the summer, I keep the fridge stocked with plenty of Oberon. I love that darn beer.

  20. That glass of beer looks mighty fine.

  21. I have been victimized several times with the fruit in the beer as of late! One server even said it was a "girly thing"! Two days later I received a Bell's Oberon with a slice on lemon! What a waste of a good brew! Knocks the head down and ruins the hops! I think I will localize my print shop and have them make me a T shirt with this on it.... "No stinken fruit in my beer"!