A few years ago I caught a lot of… drama… when I wrote an article suggesting that people shouldn’t drink beer out of “frosty” mugs. There are a ton of reasons for that, one of which is that super-cold temperatures kill the flavor of that beer.
If what’s in your hand is a domestic lager, then a little flavor killing is possibly doing you good, depending on your selection.
However, if you’re sipping on a stout, then drinking your beer out of a frozen glass is killing flavors in your beer that you’d probably like to taste, ultimately ruining your beer experience, not enhancing it.
So, at what temperature should you serve beer? Short answer: It depends on what you’re serving.
Every beer style has a specific temperature range for peak enjoyment. Do you need to make sure you’re drinking it at precisely that temp? Definitely not. But knowing that a beer is best served a little warmer or cooler can be useful for when you are planning on drinking something nice and want to make sure you’re getting the most you can out of the experience.
For instance, you might want to let that Porter sit on the counter for a few minutes after you pull it out of the fridge, or make sure you leave those pale ales on ice.
Here’s what the American Homebrewer’s Association suggests, which is data it acquired from Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher.
American Mainstream Light Lagers – 33° – 40° F
Pale Lagers, Pilsners – 38° – 45° F
Cream & Blonde Ales – 40° – 45° F
Nitro Stouts – 40° – 45° F
Belgian Pale Ales – 40° – 45° F
Abbey Tripels – 40° – 45° F
Wheat Beers – 40° – 45° F
Lambics – 40° – 45° F
Dark Lagers – 45° – 50° F
American Pale Ales – 45° – 50° F
American IPAs – 45° – 50° F
Stouts – 45° – 55° F
Porters – 45° – 55° F
Strong Lagers – 50° – 55° F
Real & Cask Ales- 50° – 55° F
Belgian Dubbels- 50° – 55° F