The big corporate breweries have been trying to cash in on the craft beer boom for years, but perhaps none have been quite as successful as MillerCoors. Blue Moon was created in its labs in 1995, instead of bought, and became the little brand that could at the direction of brewmaster Keith Villa. Villa stopped in St. Louis last night at the Malt House Cellar (2017 Chouteau Avenue; 314-241-4949) to introduce some new beers and discuss the history of the refreshing brew.
Villa admits that MillerCoors hated Blue Moon at first -- for years -- and tried to kill it several times. Luckily, that didn't happen, and Villa, who is technically a doctor of beer thanks to his Ph.D. from the University of Brussels, had a hit with the original Belgian white. At the Malt House Cellar, the team at Moulin created a menu that would pair perfectly with each beer.
Villa also gave us a taste of the new First Peach Ale that will be out next spring. We're not usually big on peach beers, but this one had the strong, sweet smell of a beer with all the light drinkability of a regular Blue Moon.
The classic Belgian White Ale was paired with cold Vietnamese shrimp spring rolls on a bed of greens with soy ginger sauce. The not-overpowering Harvest Pumpkin ale went with a cauliflower soup topped with curried apples and pumpernickel croutons. Next, the First Peach Ale was paired with grilled halibut with local brown basmati rice and saffron beurre blanc.
The main course was Moroccan-spiced rack of lamb with warm couscous pilaf and lemon black pepper jus paired with the Farmhouse Red Ale. Villa harkened back to his Mexican heritage with the Cinnamon Horchata Ale, inspired by a drink he had often as a kid; it went well with the warm chocolate ganache cake.
You can find out more about Blue Moon's seasonal offerings here, including where to find brews like Farmhouse Red and Cinnamon Horchata.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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