If there’s one style of beer I consistently don’t like, it’s wheat. It just does nothing for my palate. Maybe I’m like those guys in the Miller Lite commercial who insist “NO FRUIT IN BEER!” but to me, it’s too light, too citrusy and doesn’t have the hoppy bite of an IPA, or the smooth malty flavor of an amber ale that I’ve come to love. It’s certainly not a bad style of ale — many love it. It’s simply not my cup of tea. So, when it comes to Colorado’s Blue Moon, I’ll pass. I’ve tried their signature Belgian White and their Honey Moon Summer Ale, but neither has sparked my tastebuds.
But the leaves have begun to turn, and I have a weakness for fall seasonals, particularly of the pumpkin variety. Cue Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale. I saw it just arrived at my local bodega, and decided to give it a shot. No orange. No lemon. Just sweet, slighly malty with a little bit of spice. Most of the flavor is apparent at first sip, but after that it settles in to tasting like most other amber ales. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have as much nutmeg-y spice that I associate with most pumpkin ales. I like it more than their wheat beers, but that’s simply my personal preference for different styles of beer. And I’d certainly drink it again if I found it on tap at a local bar. But if I’m looking for a real fall seasonal with true pumpkin spice that makes me long to run through crunchy leaves and stuff my mouth with pie and cranberries, this is not it. For that, I’m going with Smuttynose Pumpkin or Southern Tier’s Harvest.
As for the brewery, though it’s advertised on its bottles that it is brewed by Blue Moon Brewery, Blue Moon is actually brewed by Molson-Coors Brewing Co. In fact, according to Wikipedia:
Coors does not actively advertise the fact that the brew is owned by Coors on the belief that being associated with a major national brewery would diminish its credibility among aficionados. Blue Moon is instead branded as being brewed by the “Blue Moon Brewing Company.”
Here are a few other opinions of Harvest Moon from around the beer blogs.
The Blue Moon may have lost the battle for most righteous fall brew I tasted, but it fought a good fight. Rather than tasting like pumpkin pie, it had more of a raw pumpkin flavor. If you’re not a fan of sweet or spicy brew, this is the pumpkin beer for you.
It was highly quaffable (I went through two bottles before I got the pumpkin cleaned out) and would go really well with sweet potato or red meat dishes. It had some allspice, clove and nutmeg flavors, but it really tasted more like it came straight from the ol’ pumpkin patch rather than from a pie tin
Compared to other Blue Moon brews, this pumpkin ale falls a bit short. I found Harvest Moon to be mediocre as far as craft beers go and wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking to sit down and enjoy a true pumpkin ale. However, this light autumn seasonal is still very drinkable and would be nice to sip on while you’re grilling out with your mates in the crisp fall weather. – littlebomb
Pretty smooth and very drinkable. This is the least exquisite of all the pumpkin ales, but that is NOT a bad thing. In fact, I would consider Blue Moon Harvest Moon to be a “gateway” beer that could lead the way to the festive and spicy world of pumpkin brews… Very accessible but I’m afraid not very stylish. If you’ve never had a pumpkin beer, start with Blue Moon’s Harvest Moon. When you start to wander through the pumpkin patch, you will be spirited away to a darker, more mysterious world. Beware.