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The Ideal Temperature for Beer


The subject of numerous, lively debates in pubs the world over is the following question: what is the optimal temperature at which beer should be served? As is the case with many common pub conversations – that you might engage in on a Berlin pub crawl, just about everyone you speak to is so sure that they are absolutely right. So in this maelstrom of differing opinions is it possible to find a definitive answer? With a clear and sober mind, we will attempt to do so right now…


Well first of all, there is a plethora of beer types to consider, each with different serving considerations. While your average pale lager, pilsner, blonde or cream ale might be usually served at 3-7°C, a premium lager comes one or two degrees warmer. Wheat beers are also served cool, at no warmer than 7°C. Darker lagers, like amber or Oktoberfest lagers, can be served slightly warmer at 7-10°C, with stronger lagers like dunkel at the higher end of the range. There is a range of different types of India pale ales, and the ideal temperature may depend on the hops or the alcohol content, but it’s usually between 7 and 13°C. Barrel-aged stouts, old ales and dark ales generally need the least cooling and are often served at British cellar temperature (13°C) or even at room temperature.


When it comes to beer temperature, probably the most common complaint that we’ve all heard (or made) is that it’s not cold enough! But is this necessarily a bad thing? Well on a hot summer’s day then maybe it is, but taking a closer look at the chemical processes might reveal something else. When beer is colder, less carbonation is released, which means less aroma is emitted. In other words, the colder the beer is, the less you can taste its flavours. So it makes perfect sense why some pretty awful beers are so ice cold!


Of course, there’s no guarantee that the establishment you find yourself in will respect any beer temperature conventions, and we’ve probably all been served some warm lager or a chilled ale at some point, but with their reputation for efficiency and precision (as well as outstanding beer), the Germans are unlikely to disappoint. Any pub crawl adventure in Berlin will provide correct-temperature beer and much more!

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