The flavor perception of Craft Beer can be very complex and involves all of our senses but mainly taste and smell. The temperature of your beer plays an important role in your flavor perception along with the aroma of the beer. Different beer styles will taste much better at certain temperatures and the flavors can change as the beer warms while you are drinking it.
The “old school” way of consuming beer was to drink all beers “ice cold” but with the expanding knowledge of Craft Beer the reality is that “ice cold” isn’t always the best way to drink beer. Different styles of Craft Beer should be served at a temperature that fits the type of beer you’re drinking but individual drinkers will always have their own preferences. When the weather is hot an “ice cold” beer sounds great but choose a style that’s intended to be consumed at a colder temperature. What I will cover in this article are general temperature ranges for certain beer styles.
Beers that are served very cold (35-39F) are beers that usually do not have much flavor and include the mass-produced mega brewery offerings. Craft Beers that are served cold (39-45F) will include Hefeweizen, Pilsner, Craft Lagers, Golden or Blonde Ale to name a few. As we warm the temperature range up to cool (45-50F), these beers include American Pale, IPA’s and Red Ale, Sour beers, most Stouts or Porters. Craft Beers that are served at cellar temperature (54-57F) will include English Ales, India Pale Ales, and stronger ales. There are beers that should be served slightly warmer (57-61F) and this range includes Barley Wine, Imperial Stouts and Belgian Strong Ales which are great cold weather beers.
These temperature ranges are guidelines and will give you a good starting point at which temperature to serve your favorite style of beer. Enjoy and Cheers!
Rob McFerren is the owner of Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Co.