Make the Most of Your Beer

Enjoying craft beer is a matter of taste – yours.

Maybe you like a big, hoppy IPA. Or a deep, dark stout. Or a lager. Or a lambic. You get the point. But whatever you prefer, don’t screw it up by making one of the common beer drinker mistakes:

Say no to the frosted mug. You wouldn’t intentionally add water to your beer. But when the frost on the inside of the glass melts, that’s just what you get. And a mug from the freezer? Well, keep reading.

Temperature matters. Most Americans drink their beer way too cold, which masks flavor, reduces carbonation, and cuts down on aroma. Generally, light colored beers should be served colder than darker beers. Expert suggestions differ by a few degrees, but legendary beer writer Michael Jackson suggested five temperature levels for serving beer:

  • Well chilled (45 degrees Fahrenheit) for pale lagers.
  • Chilled (46 degrees) for Berliner weisse and other wheat beers.
  • Lightly chilled (48 degrees) for dark lagers, altbiers, and German wheat beers.
  • Cellar Temperature (55 degrees) for regular British ales, stouts, and most Belgian specialties.
  • Room Temperature (60 degrees) for strong dark ales and barley wines.

As always when it comes to beer, these are suggested guidelines. What matters is what tastes good to you. And remember, most refrigerators are set to between 38 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use Cans Properly. More and more brewers are turning to cans as the perfect container. No light can get in to spoil the beer. But they don’t want you to drink from those cans. The opening is too small to produce the proper aroma and, as a result, the beer will not taste the way the brewer intended. The one exception is a new style of can developed by the folks at Sam Adams, which has a different shape and larger opening, but in general when you buy craft beer in a can, pour it into a glass to enjoy.

Drink where they care. Just because a bar or restaurant offers craft beer on tap, doesn’t mean it’s going to taste the way it should. Some operators don’t give the time and attention needed to cleaning the lines that bring the beer to the taps. Your taste buds will tell you. Similarly, if there are bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass when your beer is served, that glass is dirty. Whether it’s detergent, or the remnants of a previous beer, you don’t want to drink it.

There’s such an array of great craft beer to choose from these days, it would be a shame not to make the most of it.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.

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