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Ice Cold Beer

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Ice Cold Beer

Jim Leff | Jun 25, 2001 12:12 AM

Since we're currently having lots of beer talk, I wanted to point out that "ice cold beer" is akin to "ice cold wine". It reflects a serving mistake.

There are two kinds of beer, ale and lager. Ales were invented first, and predate refrigeration, so they're brewed at non-frosty temperature (and beer is ideally drunk close to its brewing temperature).

n.b.--Ales have a characteristically fruity flavor, but other than that, there are few uncrossable lines between styles. There are light, crisp, dry ales and dark, heavy, strong lagers, though generally lagers tend to be lighter and dryer. Just about all the major brands are lagers--light pilsener style beers.

Lagers are brewed cooler, and are drunk cooler.

But while lagers are drunk at 45-50 degrees and ales a tad warmer at 50-55 (not "warm" or at "room temperature", per the cliche), neither should be consumed colder than that. As beer goes into the low forties and thirties, it loses all its flavor.

And while losing all flavor is a GOOD thing when you're drinking mass market swill like Bud/Coors/Schlitz, etc, really it's better to buy beer you WANT to taste, and serve it at a temperature that's refreshing but not flavor-obliterating.

If you're really conditioned into drinking frosty cold beer, buy Coors Lite. It's cheap, inoffensive, and there's little flavor to obliterate.

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