Apparently, Some Beers Are Best Served Warm

It's hard to beat a cold beer on a hot day, but brew-savvy connoisseurs actually recommend different serving temperatures depending on the style of beer you're drinking. Some bottles benefit from extra time on ice, while others have qualities that are enhanced by slightly warmer temperatures. 

When some beers are too cold, flavors and aromas can be hard to pick up on, but serve some beers too warm and they can taste flat and plain. Lighter beers like American lagers and pilsners (similar in style, though there is a malty difference between the two) are easy to enjoy at temps below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, while the heavier beers like stouts and cask ales can be enjoyed as warm as 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

For all the work that goes into brewing a quality beer, it's worth knowing at which temperatures you can find the ideal balance of hoppiness, flavor, and refreshment. Temperature is an often overlooked detail when it comes to beverage service, whether at home or in a bar. But for those who appreciate a good brew, attention to this detail goes a long way.

IPAs taste better when they're not as cold

When it comes to the craft beer revolution taking over the U.S., IPAs stand out as the most popular style. West Coast and other American IPAs are known for being more bitter, thanks to special brewing methods that make the hops' flavor influences more prevalent. As a relative of the marijuana plant, hops are responsible for citrusy, spicy, and fruity flavors. They can also add notes of berries and pine to the taste and aroma of a beer.

The recommended temperature for IPAs and American pale ales is between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Most food refrigerators are (ideally) between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit; just a tad too cool for ideal IPA enjoyment. So, IPAs should still be refrigerated for freshness, but you can take them out of the fridge 30-40 minutes before you intend to drink them to allow them to warm up a bit. A slightly warmer IPA means a more enjoyable aroma and a fully developed flavor profile. 

Higher temps for heavier beers

Heavier beers like stouts, porters, and Belgian-style dubbels can all be enjoyed as warm as 55 degrees Fahrenheit and tend to lose flavor complexity below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The malty, sweet flavors these styles of beer are known for can be masked by over-chilling, but shine when served in the sweet spot between refrigeration and room temp. Stouts are known for their chocolatey coffee flavor. This distinctive taste is one of the reasons a stout is a great addition to beer batter. Porters, which are generally more full-bodied, are very malty, but lack the burnt, roasted characteristics of a well-brewed stout. 

Lagers, the most popular style of beer in the world, are also best enjoyed on the cooler side. Think of easy-drinking American favorites like Coors, Corona, and Budweiser. These light-bodied beers can be enjoyed right out of the fridge, as they are best between 33 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The crisp, carbonated qualities that these beers are known for are enhanced by colder temperatures, making them an ideal choice for refreshment on a hot day. So whether you are cooling down with an ice-cold lager or sipping a slightly warmed stout, you can get the most out of your favorite brews.