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You don’t have to drink that beer ice cold

Coldest beer in town

This month at World of Beer, Stephen Beaumont takes on ice cold beer. I’m not going to repeat what he has written, so please read it first. I just have one more suggestion (OK, I have more but will keep it to one), and although Mr. B. maintains two blogs WoB isn’t one of them. Otherwise I could just leave the idea as a comment.

He writes that “it’s almost impossible in the United States these days to be served a beer in a non-frosted glass” and suggests sending the glass back.

I propose preemptive action. Watch the bartender pour a beer and see if he or she is hauling out iced mugs. If so, there’s a good chance that every clean mug is on ice (yes – I’ve seen bartenders follow a request for a warm mug by pouring beer into a dirty one).

So ask for your beer in a large wine glass (something for Cabarnets or Pinot Noirs). They probably don’t keep those cold. If you are drinking from a bottle you can just pour in part of the beer, allowing it to warm if the bottle’s been on ice.

This isn’t perfect. The glass will treat some beers better than others – but since the ice cold mug was probably a beer unfriendly shaker glass there’s a good chance you’ll be ahead.

And if the wine glasses are frosted? Go to another place to drink.

5 Responses to You don’t have to drink that beer ice cold

  1. Stephen Beaumont May 1, 2007 at 11:07 am #

    Actually, a chilled glass might be a worthy solution for some of the brutally warm, almost hot red wines I’ve been served in restaurants. Maybe you just hit on something, Stan: Frost the wine glasses and leave the sleeves alone.

  2. SteveH May 1, 2007 at 1:09 pm #

    The last mistake beer I received wasn’t served in a chilled glass, just a Blue Moon (with orange slice) instead of a Sam Adam’s Spring Ale. Yeah, I sent it back (the others at my table confirmed I hadn’t stuttered, had not ordered the Coors’ product).

    And yes, the correct beer also arrived in a room temp glass. I think there’s less chilled glass offense out there than there used to be. Then again, I don’t get out of the Midwest as much as I used to.

  3. Rick May 1, 2007 at 1:58 pm #

    ugh… the longstanding lament of beer enthusiasts around the country. I have a story you’ll appreciate though – the king of cold beer stories.

    At a local Tex-Mex restaurant a couple weeks back, a place with a very impressive bottled beer selection. I had ordered a Bigfoot to go with my dinner and the server promptly handed me the bottle. I ask for a glass for my beer and she proceeds to grab a glass and put ice in it. I corrected her kindly, saying the glass was for my beer. Her puzzled look told me I was in trouble. I don’t get it. I didn’t get it and I had NO idea where to begin. So, I took the glass with a word of thanks and dumped the ice in the nearest bush (luckily it was outdoor seating).

    What I don’t understand: Why do craft breweries perpetuate this? So many chill their glasses and serve their beers too cold. I know there is a built in expectation with beer in America, but really… serving beer that is too cold with too much carbonation is not a way to proudly display the beer you make.

    Luckily, I have found that most places will serve me a beer in an unfrosted mug without too much fuss.

  4. Henry Halff May 1, 2007 at 7:38 pm #

    When I was a mere slip of a lad (say, 22), it was the custom here in Texas restaurants for the waitress to bring an unchilled and undersized water tumbler with your beer. She would then pour the iced water from the glass already at your table into the unchilled glass and then pour about 3″ of beer into the original, and thoroughly chilled water glass. The beers, for the most part were Lone Star, Pearl, and the like, so there wasn’t much taste to kill.

    Also worth mention is Brazilian Chopp beer which is, and should be, served at near 0°C or perhaps at tad below. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, it’s only available in Brazil on draft, so you’ll have to go there to check out this assertion.

  5. SteveH May 2, 2007 at 5:38 am #

    Rick – you were handed a glass with ice for your beer? First I’ve ever heard that one. Yikes.

    My biggest gripe is a local brew-pub that serves its beers in chilled pints. I asked why and was told, “That’s the way everyone likes our beer.” I asked if the brewmaster knew they were serving the beer that way, “Oh, he doesn’t care.” Yah.

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