How Cold Do You Drink Your Beer?
There is something about a cold glass beer that is not just thirst quenching but refreshing as well. But it is easy to forget that like wines or any other alcoholic beverage, beers too need the right serving temperature and that means that all beers cannot be served ice cold. In not in any circumstance should beer be served at freezing point, you will never be able to taste anything in it. And while personal preference still holds true these basic temperature rules will help you enjoy the pint of brew better.
Here are some popular beer styles and their serving temperatures:
- Light or low alcohol beers, Hefeweizen, wheat beer, lagers, pilsners, Belgian Wit should be served at 3-5° Celsius. These beers are known for their refreshing ability, the cold also helps add to the flavor of the beer.
- Ales like IPA and Porter have deeper, richer and complex flavor profiles. To best enjoy these beers they need to slightly less chilled than lagers. Temperature around 6-10° Celsius are perfect for these brews.
- Stouts, Trappist, Abbey, Bock, Lambic, etc, should ideally be served at 11-12° Celsius. Even though these beers are also ales, they have a more intense flavor profile which will only express themselves at slightly higher temperature.
- Barley Wines, Imperial Stout, Dopplebock, old ales and barrel aged stout need to be served at cellar temperature, which is ideally around 13-15° Celsius.
Cold beers do hold carbonation better which results in a thicker head, but that does not define that you will be able to appreciate the flavors of the beer. Flavors are what it is all about. Beer being served at the wrong temperature can kill the taste that the brewer planned for you to experience; you might even get flavors which do not compliment the beer at all. The cold mutes any nuances that are the highlight of the brew and if it is too warm it won’t stay refreshing.
There is a prevalent notion that Americans love their beer chilled while the British like them at room temperature – also known ‘cellar temperature’. In India the latter is obviously not possible; beer in general needs to be served chilled. But the rule of optimum serving temperature still holds true. Lager and pilsner, which are most of the common commercial beers, are generally served very cold. With new microbreweries opening up in India, there is no reason for them to not adhere to right serving temperatures. Craft beers need to be served at right temperature.