Blue Moon Just Made a Mint Julep Beer for the Kentucky Derby

There might not be another sporting event so definitively associated with cocktails. The Kentucky Derby is inextricably associated with drinks, as well as, big hats and... something else... what is it? Oh, gambling...

blue moon mint julep
Courtesy of Blue Moon

There might not be another sporting event so definitively associated with cocktails. The Kentucky Derby is inextricably tied to drinks in the sun as well as big hats and... something else... what is it? Oh, gambling. 

The cocktails are the important part, and the mint julep is at the top of the Kentucky Derby's cocktail list. More than 120,000 of them are served at the race annually. Now, even if you're a beer person, you can join in because Blue Moon just made a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Mint Julep beer in honor of the 147th installment of the race.

Unfortunately, the beer will not be bottled. It's going to be exclusively available at Blue Moon's brewery in Denver's River North Arts District. As you'd expect, it's full of a boozy, bourbon flavor with plenty of mint available in each smell. But under that julep aroma, it's a big (10.8% ABV) beer with all the vanilla and oak you expect from a barrel-aged beer without becoming cloying. 

The beer was created to celebrate Blue Moon's first year as the "official craft beer" sponsor of the Kentucky Derby. It's also the race's first-ever "craft beer sponsor" in general. Though, the Derby is clearly down to use a pretty loose definition of craft. Blue Moon is owned by the Molson Coors Brewing Company, the world's seventh-largest brewer in terms of volume. There are not many definitions of "craft brewery" under which Blue Moon would be a fit. Though, that's long been a point of contention among people who like to argue about such things.  

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer on the news team at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.