Blue Moon Created a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Mint Julep Beer for the Kentucky Derby
But you don’t find this brew at Churchill Downs.
In a beer industry dominated by lagers (in total volume, at least), MillerCoors’ Blue Moon brand is already a standout: The Belgian-style wheat beer is America’s best-selling ale. This year, Blue Moon is extending its reach even further as a first-time sponsor of probably the most-notable horse race in America, the Kentucky Derby, and its Churchill Downs Racetrack. Of course, as any racing fan can tell you, though plenty of beer will be consumed at the track, the official drink of the Kentucky Derby is actually a mint julep. So Blue Moon figured what better way to honor their new partnership than by creating a special bourbon barrel-aged mint julep brew.
Unfortunately for drinkers attending the actual Kentucky Derby, this extremely limited-release beer won’t be available at Churchill Downs. Blue Moon will only be offering it at their brewery in the River North Arts District of Denver. A spokesperson for Blue Moon says the cocktail-copping concoction is currently in the barrel being aged, but should be ready for consumption by the time “My Old Kentucky Home” is played. The official release date is Derby Day — May 4 — while supplies last.
As for the beer itself, Blue Moon says that unlike the creamy hue of their signature Belgian white, this brew will have a dark brown appearance. The aroma should be dominated by mint, though toasted malts will also mingle as well as the normal notes you’d expect from bourbon barrel-aging: wood, vanilla, and warming alcohol. The taste is expected to offer “toasted malt sweetness with mint and citrus with hints of bourbon” before finishing “minty, malt sweet, and warming.”
Blue Moon has offered plenty of different varieties over the years: Their website lists 32 different beers in total, past and present. Granted, barrel-aging beers takes a bit more dedication than simply whipping up a new formula, but if this brew proves to be a hit and the brand’s partnership with the Kentucky Derby continues, it’ll be interesting to see if it ever sees a wider release — or at least finds its way to Churchill Downs.