How important is it to store and serve beer at the exact temperature prescribed by the brewer?
That’s the question that we were left asking ourselves after discussion around last Friday’s porter tasting post.
The fact is, we don’t have an elaborately constructed ‘cellar’, and we don’t have thermometers on hand for every stage of the process.
What we do have is a kitchen with a shady corner the temperature of which barely changes; and a fridge. We don’t let beer get hot or freeze, and we protect it from light.
In practice, we give those that we think need chilling an hour or two in the fridge; otherwise, we serve straight from the shelf. If a beer we’ve chilled tastes bland, we let it warm up in case that might reveal hidden depths.
And that’s about it.
Serving temperature should not make or break a beer. Some beers might taste better served within a particular range, but they shouldn’t taste disgusting, gush everywhere, or have no condition whatsoever if served otherwise, surely?
Clean glasses on the other hand…
The phrase ‘beer clean’ has a smugness about it that makes our toes curl, but there is something in it: serving a beer from a glass that’s anything less than gleaming can instantly kill it, or at least cause it to pour fizzy and headless.
We always clean our glasses just before serving, giving them a good dose of washing up liquid, a scrub with a clean sponge, a thorough rinse with piping hot water, before a final rinse with cold water.
If a beer has no head after that, it’s not our fault.