It’s not just your favorite Doc Brown quote from Back to the Future; it is the all to common problem of ordering a great beer in a frigid glass. I can’t fathom why a bar would offer good beer and not train the staff on how to properly serve it.
In case you didn’t know, the colder a beverage is, the more muted the flavors are, that is why Jagermeister is served ice cold. That said, pouring a great beer into an ice-cold glass only masks the flavors the brewer worked so hard to create.
The only time it makes sense to drink beer out of a frozen mug is when it’s a bland industrialized lager, so you can disguise the tasteless swill. Great beer is often enjoyed at temperatures wines are served at, with some beers even being served at room temperature. The un-icy temperatures allow the full range of flavors and aromas to be revealed in the beer, and that is what great beer is all about.
Here are some guidelines for letting the true nature of good beer come to life:
Drink a Hefeweizen or a Belgian Wit at a temperature around 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit and it will allow you to enjoy the aroma and flavors of the beer all while quenching your thirst.
Amber, dark lagers and pale ales should be served at a slightly higher 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit to truly bring out the best in the beer. The hop in a Pale Ale needs the few extra degrees to really be prevalent.
Belgian ales, my personal favorite are only appreciated in the 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit range. This allows the complex and often subtle flavors of the ale to be appreciated.
The porter should have a temperature of 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit, as a colder temperature will hide the subtleties of this highly flavorful style of beer.
These are general suggestions based on style, and more specific serving suggestions can often be found on a brewer’s website, and if not, by contacting the brewer directly.