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English Beers and Ales - To warm or not to warm

written on 07 Nov 2009

There is a curious rumour around English beer, particularly from the other side of the Atlantic, that states that a true Englishman likes his beer warm, and perhaps his women cold. For example: Uncyclopeida, an American blog, even the bloody Australians (like taking skiing advice from the Caribbean).

Nothing could be further from the truth, both for the women and the beer. Of course beer should not be served freezing cold, just as a fine white wine should not be served freezing cold. Very cold liquids in particular will make short work of numbing your taste buds, removing most taste sensations and bringing everything down to the level of just another cold liquid. I wince at seeing the big beer manufacturers provide extra cold taps of their products, as if they are proud that they don't taste very good. Even Guinness has them, why on Earth anyone wants a freezing cold pint of Guinness is beyond me.

The key here is of course relativity. Warm is merely a description comparing a lot of English cask ales to their "freezing their nuts off" lager counterparts. A decent cellar temperature is all that is required, around 55 degrees Fahrenheit apparently. At this temperature, particularly given a pint will warm up as drunk, we get the optimal point of both refreshment and taste.