ICE COLD BEER!
Seems like that is all we have heard for the past few decades. It’s on billboards, on commercials and screamed at us by beer vendors at sporting events. So there is very little doubt as to why most think it’s best to drink beer ice cold. And for some styles cold is best but for others it is ideal to drink it closer to room temperature. Based on a request, I decided to put together a craft beer temperature guide.
Why Were We Told That Beer Should Be Cold?
So we’ve been lied to for a long time about the temperature of beer. Ok, lied to is a strong stance but minimally, we have been tricked into think that a cold beer is a good beer. Macro beer companies have done an amazing job marketing their products. Until recent years; there was really only one kind of beer being consumed in the US; American lagers. Specifically, the light lager. This beer is consumed more than any other style and it’s not even a close race.
To help more Americans enjoy this beer, these companies told us to drink it as cold as possible. I am sure we have all had the unfortunate honor of drinking a warm Bud Light and know the horror. Being cold makes these beers much less offensive; therefore, more appealing to the masses.
So while American light lagers taste better (less offensive) cold, most beers benefit from being served at a warmer temperature. So while we have all been told that cold beer is best; that is not the truth as it only applied to the single style of beer that they were selling to us.
Related Post: Why I Don’t Drink Non-Craft Beer
Craft Beer Temperature Guide
The internet is a boundless world of information and opinion which means you can go find hundreds of different sources for the ideal temperature for your beer. Believe me; I looked around quite a bit.
All of that research and my personal experience has lead me to compose a Craft Beer Temperature Guide.
It is listed by the color – light to dark. While the color of the beer doesn’t always determine the best drinking temperature; it is a very quick way to estimate a good drinking temperature.
On the far right side, I provide some examples of beer styles that fit into that temperature range. Note that stouts are recommended to drink cool while imperial stouts are listed as just below room temperature.
The best part is you can share this to Pinterest, save it to your phone, share it with your friends and reference it whenever you need.
How Do I Control My Craft Beer Temperature
So you’ve decided to attempt to follow the above guidelines and want to drink a beer at the ideal temperature. But how are you going to do that?
The only accurate way to do this is to purchase a thermometer of some sort. There are many food quality thermometers that will do the trick. You might even own one already. You will need to pour the beer and take the temperature then wait until it has warmed up to the ideal temperature. Some will hold the beer glass in their hands to help speed up the process.
One way to aid in this process is to make sure that it never gets cold in the first place. Consider using a separate refrigerator to store beer. This allows you to turn up the starting temperature. For example, set it to 45 degrees or higher. Most beer you will drink will need to be near or above that temperature and will reduce the amount of time it takes to warm up.
There are also exceptions to the rule.
When ordering beer from a taproom, bar or restaurant, all beer comes out at the same temperature – very cold. All kegs are stored in the same refrigerated room which means they are all the same temperature. I suggest drinking your beer slowly and hold it in your hands to help warm it up. This also applies to social functions. If you are at a friend’s grill out, drink the beer at the temperature it is served. It’s just good manners.
Another exception is if the brewery specifies the best craft beer temperature. Many are including this detail on the label along side the ABV, IBU, SRM and other beer information. Take this info into consideration as there is a reason they are providing it to you.
The final exception is if you are drinking a beer that has been aging/cellaring. In this situation, you will want to drink it at the temperature that it was stored.
Related Post: Three Questions To Ask Before Aging Craft Beer
This is how I handle drinking temperature. I store my craft beer in a separate refrigerator. I don’t track the exact degree but it’s somewhere in the mid 40’s. For stouts, I let the bottle sit out for up to 30 minutes before pouring. All other styles normally get poured right out the refrigerator. For most styles, I drink very slow to allow it to get near room temperature before I am done. This gives me the full range of flavor.
There’s always a right and wrong way to do something. And then there’s your way of doing something. When it comes to craft beer, I say do it your way. Yes, these guidelines can help you understand the importance of craft beer temperature but there’s no guarantee that it is going to make it taste better to you.
So drink it your own way but don’t be afraid to test out different temperatures for each style. You may find that you prefer stouts cold and pilsners at room temperature.
Do you prefer certain styles at specific temperature?
What techniques do you use to control the temperature?