So, straightforward question, what temperature should you drink beer at? But is the answer as straightforward as the question. I used to think it was, you drink lager cold from the fridge, you drink ale straight from the cupboard. I was somewhat bemused at the Greene King Brewery on our 2011 trip when bottles of their St Edmundsbury Ale were chilled. Now, I’m not so sure.
Don’t get me wrong, I think there are some basic principles to stand by- I’m not suggesting warm lager or ice cold porter but is there a middle ground for lighter hoppy ale? I am of the belief the lager should be cold- my preference is very cold especially on a warm day. It does amuse me that its possible on the Costa Del Sol to spot the British expats from the British tourists outside the bars on a hot summer day. The tourists are the ones drinking the pints that get very warm by the end and the expats are the ones drinking the smaller beers that they will finish before they warm.
I’m definitely sticking with lager in the cold category. I’m equally confident that the more amber and reddish beers that are my taste should be a few degrees warmer- I wouldn’t want a Nelson’s Revenge or a Rev James to be ice cold- it would detract from the flavour.
What has thrown me is a rediscovery of an old favourite of mine that I hadn’t tried for a few years. I was in an American restaurant in Fulham earlier this year and the choice of beer was, unsurprisingly, American- I opted for a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, while my father and my brother opted for generic American lager (they changed their minds for the second round after a sip of my Sierra Nevada!). It was served chilled and was very pleasant. With this in mind, I bought a few bottles on offer at my local Tesco (other supermarkets are available..).
I tried the first couple of bottles- frankly I wasn’t overly impressed and it was it this point I remembered that the bottles I’d had in the restaurant were chilled. So, a couple of bottles went in the fridge and the following day I tried those, far better. They weren’t ice cold as I would drink lager, but chilled for this particular beer is definitely better than room temperature for me.
So, what temperature should you drink beer at? Whatever temperature you want to drink it at and whatever works for you, although I’d avoid a warm pint of lager on the Costa Del Sol!