There is a great book by Randy Mosher called “Tasting Beer” that has some great information on beer serving temperatures. He says that in general lager beers should be about 40F and ales should be served between 50 – 55F. Another general rule he suggests is stronger and darker beers should be served warmer than weaker and/or lighter colored beers. I stole a graphic from his book to help illustrate this point.
Monthly Archives: February 2011
I’ve had a number of people asking me about beer temperature lately. I know that people want a simple answer like, “40 degrees,” but different beer styles are best served at different temperatures. We’ve been told by commercials for years that beer is best when it’s ice cold. Unfortunately when beer is too cold it sorta numbs our taste buds so we won’t be able to taste as much. This isn’t a problem if the beer doesn’t have much to taste to begin with, but for more flavorful beers you’d be missing out. So here at Boundary Bay Brewery, our beer might seem a little warmer than at some other bars, but we think the flavor is the most important part. We don’t want you to miss a thing!
Speaking of beer and temperature, I just got back from a trip to the frozen mid-west to visit my in-laws. It is a very small town but there is a small group of about 6 to 9 dedicated homebrewers there. The day I arrived they had brewed 60 gallons of beer together and had bought a bourbon barrel to age it in. It’s hard to find beer there beyond the usual Nascar beers, so the homebrew I tried was so good it reminded me why it is such a popular hobby. It also made me realize how much I take for granted the awesome beer selection we have in the stores here compared to much of the country. Not to mention that we have two award winning breweries in town, which makes life in Bellingham so much sweeter. When we went to Iowa City to visit my brother in-law I got to have some of Goose Islands great IPA and some other mid-west beers. Whenever I travel I love to try the local beers especially ones that I can’t get over here.
If all this talk of cold beer and cold weather is making you thirsty, you might want to sign up for my winter beer tasting class at the Bellingham Technical College on Sat. Feb. 19th. We’ll be tasting some barley wines, strong ales and other winter warmers from local and abroad. We had a great time at the last beer tasting class in January. I’ll have one more beer tasting class in April which will focus on beer styles from Ireland, Scotland and England. We’ll try iconic examples from their country of origin and then compare them to American examples, which I think will be every informative and fun to do. I will also have one more beginner’s homebrewing class in April as well which has been well attended the last two times I’ve done it. I know I’ve had a few people ask about a class on all-grain brewing but there are some logistical issues like class time that have kept it from happening so far.
Wherever you are, and whatever temperature you’re at, I hope you stay warm this winter sharing good beer with great company. Cheers!