For a few weeks before Thanksgiving, I would walk by the beer section of my local Target store and glance at the Blue Moon Brewmaster’s Winter Sampler. The sampler features three bottles each of 4 different beers, and I am most definitely a fan of variety. To be sure, it wasn’t the Blue Moon White capturing my attention; I’d had that long before. Nor was it the Winter Abbey Ale, which seemed to me a simple rebranding of prior year’s Full Moon Winter Ale. Pale Moon Belgian Pale Ale seemed a bonus as I hadn’t tried that one before, but the real attention grabber was tonight’s spotlight beer, Blue Moon Spiced Amber Ale.
I’m not sure if it was the pleasing contrast of the maroon and blue bordered label framing a pleasant winter scene, or the fact it promised a bold dose of cinnamon spice. The latter, by the way, was by no means puffing, as this bee simply screams cinnamon at the top of its lungs. Anyway, I ended up bringing a 12-pack home, and I’m certainly glad I did.
Blue Moon (a division of Miller-Coors if you didn’t know), says this about their Spiced Amber:
Our limited Spiced Amber Ale is crafted with cinnamon, roasted malts and a touch of wheat for a perfectly balanced spiced flavor and warming caramel finish. The ideal ale for relaxing by the fire.
The beer is about average in alcohol content at 5.6% by volume.
Blue Moon Spiced Amber Ale pours to a deep, dark reddish brown color with a thick creamy head formation and a simply massive spicy nose of cinnamon. Get used to that cinnamon flare, too, because one sip quickly tells you that it’s the biggest component of this beer. There’s a little caramel up front along with some wheat tartness, then the cinnamon bursts through, rather intense like a milder version of a hot ball candy. Along with the malt, this imparts a decided French Toast character; a gentle sweetness adds the impression of maple syrup. That said, the cinnamon spice dries the beer enough to keep it from being cloying.
In many ways, this reminds me of my beloved Saranac Winter Wassail, which I have not seen in some years. We ask big brewers to give us better beers, and here Miller Coors has done that. Simply a delightful holiday treat that should not be missed, and one that I hope to see again and again. Goes extremely well with pumpkin pie, fruitcake, twinkling holiday lights and brightly decorated evergreen trees.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.