Back in 1995, what became Blue Moon Brewing Co. began as a little novelty outfit in the corner of Denver’s Coors Field. Brewmaster John Legnard came on board that year, by responding to a Help Wanted Ad in the local newspaper. Legend has it, the name changed when a woman tried Bellyslide Belgian White, and said a beer that good only comes around once in a blue moon.
This year, Blue Moon became of drinking age … and celebrated by erecting a new shack in Denver’s RiNo district. It comes complete with a two-barrel pilot system, kitchen, self-guided tour, snazzy artwork, and the production capacity you’d expect from an operation Blue Moon’s size.
Legnard gave me a handful of free beer tickets at the Great American Beer Fest and told me to go up and see it for myself. My research was thorough: five beers, a burger, a bowl of chili, and a two-minute tour later, my work was done. Power hour.
In case you can’t just up and walk over like I did, here’s a collection of pictures with relevant* commentary.
Come on in!
Here’s a big Blue Moon …
… and here’s a big blue moon.
Some seats (pictured up top) appeared to be situated in concrete culvert pipes. They took me back to my childhood, when we’d play in them under highways or in junkyards.
It was the ’80s, okay? I know: parents today are sending toddlers out of the house with iPads, and making them sit in car seats until they turn 12, but this was the ’80s.
The Belgian White pulls the plow, and the Mango Wheat just won a silver slab at the GABF, but don’t sleep on the Cinnamon Horchata. You can buy it only in variety packs, at least in my neck of the woods.
This was an off-menu chili made fresh by one of the chefs. If you ever hear about it being made when you’re there, don’t hesitate. It was nothing fancy – just warm, classic, and delicious.
This mural is in a glassed-off section, a nod to their beginnings.
This is the tour: no guides, no groups, just walk on through for a look-see. For someone who’s toured dozens of breweries, this was a nice way to cut right to the chase …
… and for beginners, every step of the process is explained on panels like this one.
There are some destinations (Leinenkugel’s, Boulevard and Surly, to name a few) much more conducive to guided strolls becuse they cover massive real estate; but you can see everything at Blue Moon through that one windowed hallway. A self-guided tour is perfect for this.
The Blue Moon Burger was nicely done, but go for the chili first if it’s offered and evaluate stomach space after that.
One thing you learn quickly about Denver: if they have space for a mural, they quickly cover that space with a mural. Not a bad thing.