Blue Moon Grand Cru – Worth the $11 Price Tag?

December 17th, 2009 · 20 Comments · Beer Releases

Is the new Grand Cru release from Blue Moon worth our hard-earned $11? It is very easy to be biased vs. the “big boy” beer companies (Blue Moon is a MillerCoors product, for those not aware), but if the beer is good, well, then it’s good. I try not to be biased, but it’s tough. 

If this is the first you’ve heard of the new Blue Moon Grand Cru, this limited edition release is unfiltered and weighs in at 8.2% ABV. The Grand Cru is inspired by their flagship Belgian White Ale, and it seems to be a double/imperial version of what we’re all familiar with.

Regardless of what you think of the flagship White Ale, the Blue Moon brewers (Keith Villa in particular) know what they’re doing. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the MillerCoors owned Sandlot Brewery at Coors Field in Denver a few times during GABF trips, and every time I’ve been impressed with the quality of some of the small-batch beers that I’ve sampled there. This is the brewery where Blue Moon branded beers are tested out, including the Grand Cru (my friend informed me we tasted a test-batch of this out of a fermenter two years ago). In fact, one of the better smoked lagers I’ve ever had was the Sandlot Second-Hand Smoke a couple of years ago (I believe it won a medal at GABF that year as well). Their brewers can be creative as well; they poured a unique “Peanut Butter Blonde” at GABF that year.

On the flip-side, $11 (the price I saw at a local grocery store) is a steep price tag for any beer in my book. Once a beer gets that expensive, I really have to want it and think about it before buying it. I’m really surprised they set this price point. There are many, many great beers that you can get for less, even if you are talking just a 220z bottle vs. the only slightly larger 750ml (25.3oz) bottle of Grand Cru. Especially in a beer-rich region such as the NW, I just don’t see a ton of people snatching this up at $11, or even $10.

There will of course be many craft beer drinkers who wouldn’t even consider buying this beer solely because it is a MillerCoors product regardless of the price. Those consumers have their reasons. I’m a huge advocate for supporting the great local breweries we have around us, but that won’t keep me from buying a product from a macro brewery, as long as it is worth my money (obviously very rare to this point in time). A lot of people might not share that point of view and might be a bit put-off by it, but it’s the truth.

So, I come back to the question of, “Is this beer worth my money?” While I’m sure there is plenty of bias in the ratings, 62 reviews on have given the Grand Cru an average rating of 3.18/5.0, and 46 reviews on Beeradvocate.comhave given it an average rating of “B-“. To me, those ratings tell the story that it is an “OK” beer, but probably not worth the $11 price tag I saw it selling for. But, then there is that bias I was talking about.

What’s the verdict? I probably won’t buy it at this price. If I see it for $8, I might give a try. Or, the brewery can contact me about sending samples for review; then I’ll definitely put up an honest review of it:-)

For those of you that have tried it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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20 Comments so far ↓

  • BK

    Samples will be sent out tomorrow. Did you want the limited edition NYE 2009 Once in a Blue Moon T-shirts, led-neon, coasters, and glassware to go with it?

  • Pollack

    750ml Bottle: Aroma of oranges, coriander, McDonald’s orange drink, lemon, citrus, and wheat. Aroma is too sweet, and too orange-juice-like. Poured flaxen/blond/light brown in color with a small, off-white head that disappeared immediately. Cloudy. Very sparkling. Full of tiny, small, and medium-sized particles throughout. Flavor is medium to heavily sweet. Tastes of oranges, coriander, light lemon, light citrus, wheat, light sugar, and light caramel. Medium body. Slightly dry texture. Average to lively carbonation. Orange and coriander finish is sweet. Too sweet. Tastes like orange juice and Captain Morgan. More of a hefeweizen or fruit beer than a grand cru.
    3.2 of 5

  • Frank Belson

    Is the $11 price for a six pack? If so, that’s probably a reasonable price for an “Imperial” beer. Although I don’t think White’s are a style that benefit from being imperialized.

  • Kaiser

    Frank – $11 is the price I saw for a 750ml (~25 ounce) bottle. This is not available in six-packs.

    Pollack – So, was it worth it?

    BK – I’ll look forward to the samples.

  • Pollack

    Since I do not know what I paid for it, it is hard to say if it was “worth it,” but I would not buy a 2nd bottle unless it was like $3.

  • Pat

    someone should inform Blue Moon that Grand Cru is supposed to have honey

  • Brendan Gramer

    “What’s the verdict? I probably won’t buy it at this price. If I see it for $8, I might give a try. Or, the brewery can contact me about sending samples for review; then I’ll definitely put up an honest review of it:-)”

    Have you taken any Journalism ethics classes? That last paragraph quoted above was highly unprofessional and unethical. When you do write a “honest” review of this beer, be sure to acknowledge that you were given free samples of this beer as according to Federal Law requiring disclosure. ( see: Note the 3rd and 4th paragraphs)

    Good luck!


  • Kaiser

    Brendan – In any review where I received the beer from the brewery, I do indeed acknowledge that I was given the sample free. See the bottom of some of the recent “Grab a Beer” reviews I’ve done.

    As for the paragraph I wrote, that is no different than putting a link on my website saying “Please contact me to submit samples for review.” Or, when I solicit samples via email for the NW Brewing News panel that I run.
    What about on Beeradvocate where if you are looking at the profile for a certain beer and “the brothers” do not have a rating for it, there is a link to “send ’em beer”? No different in my eyes, and not unethical or unprofessional.

    Maybe you read into my statement that I was suggesting that if I got the beer for free that I would put up a cupcake, positive review of it regardless of what I thought. That’s not true. Getting free beer doesn’t require me to give it a positive review.

    To actually answer your question though, I most definitely have not taken any sort of journalism class ever, let alone ethics. It’s probably obvious to many that I have no training as a writer; I’m a finance guy for my full time job. I don’t get paid for anything I do on, so I’ll take the free beer where I can get it.

  • Dean Ruffner

    Brendan –

    Have you ever had to reproach a colleague?

    When you do, you praise in public and punish in private.

    Otherwise, one begins to sound like some kind of uptight tool, and no one wants to sound like that.


  • richard

    fun facts from where i live:

    the first brewery in the nation to release beer after prohibition was the F.X. Matt brewery of Utica, NY…

    1875, Waterville was considered the “Hop Capital of the World.” Several inventions essential to the raising and curing of hops were created in the area, the most important of which was the liquid Hop Extract, and in the late 1860s the International Hop Stock Exchange was established.

    After the advent of rail service in 1867, Waterville became the primary shipping point for hop-related cargo. “Waterville Hops” as well as Hop Extract were shipped to brewers all over the world

    and about blue moon Grand Cru

    well because i know someone in the distrabution in NY we are now the proud owners of 12/25oz bottles for mearly $80.. i have yet to try them but i am a fan of sediment in the bottle like OMMEGANG / cooperstown NY where some bottles of equal size can be 10-11 dollars but they are a micro not macro company. If i crack one of theses blue moons tonight and dont see the point i can find comfort knowing i can still get expensive beer that will taste like expensive beer should or reasonable priced beer from FX MATT ie Saranac rye beer, maple porter, black forest, the list goes on and utica clubs of course.

    (sorry just gotta say F.X. MATT rocks)

  • Thad

    Searching for the vibe on this bear, maybe it’s a bit older than from the time these posts were made in December… but I found it at $4.99 after being scared away seeing it for around $10. I even saw it paraded around in a sports bar back around Christmas… anyway, I am currently tasting it. Maybe at around $5 it’s worth it but otherwise I don’t think it is so landmark, honest. Just fair but judge for yourselves, maybe it is around now discounted. Unfortunately, maybe one would be better to try one of the “old country” beers. Anchor Steam sure lives up to it’s American Legend, maybe I need to get another six pack of that.

  • Thad

    Addendum: * Sorry all, I just have to add if someone is talking about the first brewery to sell after “prohibition”, I’d never gone to Washington DC in my life before until 2 years ago. I tried the beer from what bills itself as America’s oldest brewery. Do you know what that is? Yuengling, the first few nights, I thought it was nectar from the gods, really, I may exagerrate and I had enough after a week there but I urge you to try it, I think Budweiser’s American Ale must be styled after Yuengling. I think I like Bud’s American Ale more than this Grand Cru…but that’s just me…

  • Robert

    seeing as how it’s april and all, i just picked up a case of these for sixteen smackeroos. that’s right. twelve of these bad boys for sixteen bones. a buck and a third for a bottle. i wouldn’t bother commenting, but these aren’t going to last forever, so i’ve got to work at them solo… and i’m curious as to everyone’s attitudes, as i rather like blue moon.

  • puyallup guy

    i’ve tried it a few times only because at winco you can geet it for 3.38 a bottle so i jumped all over it after seeing it earlier for nine or ten dollars

  • michigan beer enthusiast

    just picked up a case at 2$ a bottle, and it was the best decision I have made in a while!! but never for 11$ a bottle. definitely not worth it.

  • Brinker

    I saw this for the first time in a store the other day, the price on the 750ml bottle was $19.99, I love beer, and I like Blue Moon a good deal, but that’s ridiculous….

  • Luke H.

    Bought it last Christmas for $10, and drank it in April. Absolutely deliciously tasting beer that will give you quite the buzz along the way. Why not pay for it? I’m sure many of us have bought a bottle of good wine for much cheaper. To the gentleman that got a case for $16, you are quite the lucky man sir. I just hope they put it out again this year!

  • Jordan

    Found it at Fred Meyer for the 2010 holiday season at a mere $6.50 a bottle. Definitely worth it for THAT price!

  • JMR

    I picked up 3 bottles at my local Costco for 6.99 per bottle, have not tried it yet though.


    They carry it @ Costco in SoCal for $3.89 for a 25.4 oz bottle….my favorite beer ever……delicious!

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