Nothing’s better than an ice-cold beer at the end of a hard day, right? Not if you actually want to taste it, argues Chicago Tribune beer writer Josh Noel, who spoke to beer consultant and educator Gary Valentine. Among other Chicago-area restaurants, Valentine has worked on the beer lists for Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat and Little Goat.
Valentine spelled it out:
Let’s break it down with this CraftBeer.com infographic.
Rules of temperature and flavor hold true for beer like they do for anything else. The colder something is, the more your palate chills, and the stronger flavors have to be for you to taste them. That’s the same reason melted ice cream tastes much different than it does when it’s still easily spoonable—when it comes to flavor, temperature changes everything.
Noel’s solution is ordering two beers at once when he goes to bars and restaurants. The first beer is always something best served cold, while the second beer is always something more complex that needs about 20 minutes of warming to open up and show off its full range of flavor.
Cicerone beer education founder Ray Daniels advocates putting beer in the microwave if that’s an option. He told the Tribune,
Why is temperature such an issue? Daniels says it’s all about the volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which release both aroma and flavor as they warm up from that ice-cold temperature all the beer ads tell us we want.
Daniels then suggested that you try two identical beers at two different temperatures: one straight from the fridge, and one that has spent 20 minutes warming on your room temperature counter. Drink them side by side, not one after the other, and you’ll immediately see the difference.
Trey Elder worked for three different Chicago coffee companies before going to work for Jerry’s Restaurant and Bar, which has considered such radical moves as serving barrel-aged stouts at room temp.
Elder told the Tribune that temperature rules hold true for coffee as well:
Beer Storage Temp Is Different Than Beer Serving Temp
CraftBeer.com’s handy temperature cheat sheet for retailers cautions that beers—craft or otherwise—should still be refrigerated to preserve their flavors and avoid all beer’s worst enemy: oxidation.
[via The Chicago Tribune]