When Blue Moon first hit the market in 1995, the commodified Belgian witbier was well ahead of the craft beer curve. It was one of the first “microbrews” I ever drank, and for most modern-day beer drinkers, it was a rite of passage ushering them from Bud Light to Arrogant Bastard.
In the quarter century since, Blue Moon has tried nearly 30 different line extensions, none of which have made the cultural impact of the Belgian White. (When’s the last time you saw someone combing liquor store shelves for Blue Moon Cappuccino Oatmeal Stout?) That was until February, when the Colorado-based operation launched it’s low-cal light beer LightSky. Now, LightSky is now the top-selling new brand in beer.
And it rides out like it’s coming for White Claw’s head. Thirty-six and 95 are the first two numbers that jump off the can, denoting carbs and calories, respectively, in space that was once reserved for ABV and IBU. You have to turn the can on its side to read the tiny word “ale” next to the barcode—the only indication that this “citrus wheat” drink is even beer.
What LightSky is is less relevant than what it isn’t. It maintains its tie to Papa Blue Moon with its ultra-bright tangerine flavor, a lovely wink and nod that carries the beer's next-generation appeal. LightSky sings with freshness right out of the can. Gone are the old world spices and harvest grains, rendered to a light wheatiness that’s nearly lost in the highly carbonated body. Hops and bitterness are imperceptible—nothing there to slow you down.
LightSky is not nearly the revolution that its predecessor was, but it is a fantastic return to relevance. It lets Blue Moon tread new territory. This is the kind of beer you drink while standing ankle-deep in a creek on a 95-degree day. It’s there when you’re sick of seltzer but not ready to transition to IPAs—the happiest of mediums, and a likely touchstone for the rising generation of beer drinkers.