Friday, June 19, 2015

Proper Beer Serving Temperatures

Proper Beer Serving Temperatures

From the American Homebrewers Association

You have heard that Europeans, the English in particular, drink their beer warm.  Not true.  They serve their beers at the proper temperature for the style of beer that you order.  Contrary to popular belief, at least here in the U.S., not all beer should be served so cold that it hurts your teeth.  The fine folks at the AHA have actually done the research so please read and learn. - Bon

Ditch the frosty mugs and listen up!
Drinking beer ice-cold may sound like the perfect thirst quencher, but you are potentially missing out on much of a beer’s nuances that make it so worthy of your palate in the first place. But wait! Don’t warm it up too much or you’ll end up with the unenjoyable task of choking down lukewarm beer.
So what is the perfect beer serving temperature?

Temperature’s Effect on Beer

Before jumping into temperature suggestions, it’s important to understand the effects that incorrect serving temperature can have on beer.
Too Cold
Chilling beer below ideal serving temperatures enhances some qualities of beer, while masking others. Sure, anything ice-cold is going to come across as refreshing on a hot day, but beer is to be enjoyed for its flavor, especially if you spent weeks making and managing homebrew!
The biggest issue with beer served too cold is the way the temperature masks many flavors and aromas. The cold temperature slows the volatilization of aromatic compounds causing them to linger in the beer. When these compounds are not released, it dramatically changes the apparent flavor and aroma of the beer, sometimes to the point where it may come across as thin and tasteless.
The cold also enhances qualities like bitterness, dryness and carbonation, which can enhance the “quench” quality, but if paired with a “thin, tasteless” beer can make for a very unpleasant drinking experience with harsh texture. Overly-chilled beer can also exhibit haziness in a usually-clear brew.
Too Hot
Warm beer, on the other hand, does allow for more of the flavors and aromas to come to the forefront, but as beer approaches room temperature the sensations from hop bitterness and carbonation can decrease, which can lead to an almost flat-tasting experience.
It’s also usually pretty obvious you don’t want to drink too warm of beer (unless you’re making a flip, of course).
Just Right: Suggested Beer Serving Temperatures
So that leads us to the million dollar question: what is the proper serving temperature for beer so that it is refreshing and thirst-quenching while still allowing you to enjoy the bouquet of flavor that makes drinking high quality beer so great!
Unfortunately, there’s not one temperature that is perfect for all beers, but instead it depends on the beer style, brewing process and a little bit of tradition. However, using a few rules basic rules, along with the handy table below, you can make informed decisions on the temperature to serve your next beer. Remember, these are general suggestions and some styles may bend the rules a bit!
For exact serving temperature suggestions for specific styles, visit the Style Finder.
Beer Suggested Temperature
American Mainstream Light Lagers33° – 40° F
Pale Lagers, Pilsners38° – 45° F
Cream & Blonde Ales40° – 45° F
Nitro Stouts40° – 45° F
Belgian Pale Ales, Abbey Tripels40° – 45° F
Wheat Beers40° – 50° F
Lambics40° – 50° F
Dark Lagers45° – 50° F
American Pale Ales & IPAs45° – 50° F
Stouts, Porters45° – 55° F
Strong Lagers50° – 55° F
Real & Cask Ales50° – 55° F
Belgian Dubbels50° – 55° F

Data from Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher.

General Serving Temperature Rules:
  • All beers should be served between 38-55° F.
  • Lagers are served colder than ales.
  • Stronger beers are served warmer than weaker beers.
  • Darker beers are served warmer than lighter beers.
  • Macro lagers are served as cold as the Rockies.
  • Serve beers a few degrees colder than the target temperature, to accommodate for warming from the glass and the drinker’s hands.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SAVOR 2015 Review

SAVOR an American Craft Beer & Food Experience 2015

Like the Swallows making their annual flight to Capistrano, we make our annual flight to swallow some great beers in Washington D.C..  This event is one of the most prestigious events that a brewer can be invited to attend.  The 76 brewers are chosen by lottery (yeah, right) and each is allowed to showcase 2 beers (though some may have a special beer hidden belowe for their fans to try) which are pairded with a specific food dish created by a well known chef.

The event is the highlight of the year for us snobs and we always appreciate being a part of the fun.
There were highs and lows of this year's Savor, so let us give you a rundown of our impressions and observations.

- By and large the beers were superb, however, the brewers are no longer stretching their creative wings to inttoduce or showcase new beers.  In years past, many of the brewers would create special or one of a kind brews specifically for Savor, but this year they seemed to be satisfied with presenting their typical brewery releases.  Nothing special.

- The food pairings by Chef Adam Dulye were amazing.  Chef Dulye has been working with well respected brewers and award winning restaurants for many years.  Imagine a brown ale paired with a Roasted Pork Shoulder with a Smoked Pecan & Parsely Vinigarette.  How about a strong American ale paired with a Bacon Wrapped Date with Rosemary & Current Gastrique?  Cardamom and Clove Rice Pudding .... Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake ... Steak Tartar w/ Soubise, Sea Salt, Cocao Nibs & Caper Berries ... these creations would be outstanding dishes at any restaurant.  All perfectly paired with the beer selections and often the better part of the pairings.

- Boy were these beers potent.  Many high gravity offerings that had us staggering like ... well ... like a bunch of drunks.

- Highs and Lows - Impressions of some of the beers:
   - Best Beer Name:  Bat Shit Crazy Coffee Ale from Mob Craft Brewing.  It is too bad that the     beer wasn't as good as the name, nonetheless it was nice seeing a beer named after my wife.
   - Best Brewery That We Have Never Frigging Heard Of:  Kuhnhenn Brewing from Warren, Michigan.
   - Best Brewery Name:  Fat Bottom Brewing from Nashville, Tennessee.  Been to Nashville, the name is appropriate.
   - Most Famous Person Serving Beers:  Sam Castiglione from Dogfish Head Brewing.

   - Most Interesting Brewery Concept:  The aforementioned Mob Craft Brewing allows you to suggest a concept for a beer and then uses popular vote of their patrons to determine what style of beer they will produce.  We said an interesting concept, not good idea, however.
   - Best Food Paring:  Grave Robber Fraud Quad (Belgian style Quadruppel) from Lost Highway Brewing in Denver, Colorado paired with Loin of Venison w/ Fried Parsnips, Pomegranate & Red Eye Gastrique.  Boooiiinnggggg!
   - Biggest Brewery Disappointment:  Funky Buddha Brewing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Fuckers ran out of beer half way through leaving us unable to try their much talked about offerings.
   - Gaaaaaaakkk!:  Maple Chipotle Pineapple Black IPA from St. Lawrence  Brewing Company of Canton, New York - Gaaaaaaaakkkkkk!
   - Biggest Hop Head Challenge:  Blimey That's Bitter TRIPLE IPA by Rueben's Brews from Seattle Washington.
  - Best Dessert Beer:  Choklat Oranj by Southern Tier Brewing Company from Lakewood, New York.
  - Best 'I Am Happy That I Can't Get That Here' beer:  Wulver Wee Heavy Scotch Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels by Thirsty Dog Brewing Company from Akron, Ohio.  'Nuff said.

We hope that you will be able to join us for next year's Savor.  Cheers - Bon