I blog primarily over at "geosciblog" (http://geosciblog.blogspot.com), I am doing this one for fun. It is inspired by 30+ years of beer can collecting and having tried more than 3,000 different American beers during that time. “. . . And beer was drunk with reverence, as it ought to be.” — G. K. Chesterton

Saturday, October 08, 2005

All Things in Moderation

That includes the quantity of beverages but also the temperature. Just a few thoughts on learning to enjoy the variety of brews that the craft beer revolution have brought to us.

". . . And beer was drunk with reverence, as it ought to be." G. K. Chesterton

This means taking the time to savor the brew, not just mindlessly slamming it down. And it means allowing the beer or ale to warm so as to allow the flavors and aromas to be released.

I don't recall the recommended temperatures, but I usually allow the bottle to sit unopened for maybe 10 - 15 minutes after removing it from the refrigerator. Mass-produced beers (some call them "factory beers") may not taste better at warmer temperatures, so keep that in mind.

Once opened, remember that the warmer beer/ale will foam more, so tilt the glass and pour carefully, so as to "build" about a one-inch to one and one half-inch head of foam. Then let the glass breathe a little.

With heavier ales like IPAs, Porters, Stouts, etc., the flavors may change as the brew warms. There are some that I don't like until they have warmed. On the other hand, some brews, like Expresso Stouts (brewed with coffee) may become too bitter when they warm.

Each individual will have their own likes and dislikes as to flavors and smells. There are a few beers that I have tried that tasted better than they smelled. I don't know all of the reasons for this.

If you have the chance, try to find a retailer that allows the sale of single bottles, so you can try different varieties without having to be disappointed with having to dispose of the remainder of a six-pack that you don't like. Or in some cases, the beer may have sat on a shelf for too long, so it may be stale. Maybe you could put together a "consortium" of friends to split the costs of six-packs to lessen the aggravation factor.

When shopping, bear in mind that some brewers put expiration dates on their bottles, some don't. If you see signs of dust on the "shoulders" of the bottles, that may be a sign that it has been there too long. Some brews show a thin layer of sediment when they are too old, but in others, the sediment is there naturally, as the remnants of yeast.

The American Beer Renaissance began in the mid-1970s because people got tired of the lack of choices among the national brands. The early attempts tasted like homebrews, but the efforts have paid off with some American brands that can stand "toe-to-toe" with European brands.

So instead of being taken in by mass-marketed foreign brands (in green bottles or clear bottles), why not help keep American brewery workers employed?
For more info on current trend towards lowering the serving temperatures of beers, as well as the history behind it, visit
The Big Chill - Can Beer Be Too Cold?

Thanks for the tip. Sorry for the delay in replying.
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