Sunday, March 11, 2012

Serving Temperature for Different Beer Styles. (Now, is serving beer below zero degrees Celcius right?)

I am baffled, (well I always am) with this said beer craze. Alright, no, I'm definitely not a beer connoisseur but as I am starting my journey in getting to know beers of different styles and different origins, I also got to know some facts about brewskies.

I enjoy drinking cold beers. Back in the days when I don't know anything about beers and don't really care about the flavors, just the alcohol content, I enjoyed my beer, the ubiquitous lagers that we have here in the Philippines even with ice to make it colder. But then I realized back then, I never enjoyed its flavors. Certainly just the intoxicating effect it gives me.

A few years back, when my friend told me about a certain Beer Below Zero craze that was introduced here in the Philippines, I was ecstatic! Finally I said, definitely cold beers. But now, I have somehow contemplated on the correctness of that.

According to, serving temperatures may vary depending on the norm of a certain place (and certainly we like it cold here in the Philippines). Serving very cold beers tends to masks the taste of a certain brew. Meaning, unless you don't want to taste your beer, serving it very very cold is good. In fact they said, and I quote,
"[So] no, beer doesn’t not need to be near frozen. Good beer in fact should not be near frozen."

You notice the double negative? Hahaha! (Para bagang its really a super no-no to serve your beers frozen.) I would have to agree. Coldness numbs the tastebuds, thus making it hard for someone consuming the beer to ultimately enjoy the taste and flavors of it.

Well before we continue, lets try to look at the ideal serving temperatures for different beer styles according to :

Very cold (0-4C/32-39F): Any beer you don’t actually want to taste. Pale Lager, Malt Liquor, Canadian-style Golden Ale and Cream Ale, Low Alcohol, Canadian, American or Scandinavian-style Cider.

Cold (4-7C/39-45F): Hefeweizen, Kristalweizen, Kölsch, Premium Lager, Pilsner, Classic German Pilsner, Fruit Beer, brewpub-style Golden Ale, European Strong Lager, Berliner Weisse, Belgian White, American Dark Lager, sweetened Fruit Lambics and Gueuzes, Duvel-types

Cool (8-12C/45-54F): American Pale Ale, Amber Ale, California Common, Dunkelweizen, Sweet Stout, Stout, Dry Stout, Porter, English-style Golden Ale, unsweetened Fruit Lambics and Gueuzes, Faro, Belgian Ale, Bohemian Pilsner, Dunkel, Dortmunder/Helles, Vienna, Schwarzbier, Smoked, Altbier, Tripel, Irish Ale, French or Spanish-style Cider

Cellar (12-14C/54-57F): Bitter, Premium Bitter, Brown Ale, India Pale Ale, English Pale Ale, English Strong Ale, Old Ale, Saison, Unblended Lambic, Flemish Sour Ale, Bière de Garde, Baltic Porter, Abbey Dubbel, Belgian Strong Ale, Weizen Bock, Bock, Foreign Stout, Zwickel/Keller/Landbier, Scottish Ale, Scotch Ale, American Strong Ale, Mild, English-style Cider

Warm (14-16C/57-61F): Barley Wine, Abt/Quadrupel, Imperial Stout, Imperial/Double IPA, Doppelbock, Eisbock, Mead

Hot (70C/158F): Quelque Chose, Liefmans Glühkriek, dark, spiced winter ales like Daleside Morocco Ale.

I was surprised to see Leffe Brune served below 0 degrees Celsius. Leffe Brune is an Abbey Dubbel /Belgian Dark Ale with an ideal serving temperature of 12-14C, some say this can be enjoyed at a serving temperature of 3-5C as well. Nevertheless, I don't think that its supposed to be served below 0C. This beer is one of my favorites and I personally enjoy it at around 5C.

Poor Leffe Brune... Your distinct taste and character can never be appreciated by most Filipinos because your soooooooo FROZEN! :((

Reading the FAQ's at their website, they gave an explanation on how and why they make the beers serving temp at below 0C. Let me quote some of their statements:

What’s so special about the freezer?

It’s a modified chest freezer. We tweaked it just to make sure the temperature is just right for beer. Regular freezers are not meant for beer, they were originally made for meat, ice cream, ice, etc.

***Is there a difference in temperature if its for beer and if its for ice cream or meats? I mean, if the meat is at 0C, the ice cream at 0C and the beer 0C, is it different? Diba pareho lang naman ng temperature yun? *shrugs shoulders*

What’s great about Beer Below Zero and how has it changed a consumer’s beer drinking experience?

Beer Below Zero has made beer drinking experience more pleasurable and fun. Beer taste is heightened and a lot smoother. It gives you an instant icy cool feeling, which is great considering we are from a tropical country. The average serving temperature of beer from ordinary chillers is around 8 degrees Celsius. Beers coming out of the Beer Below Zero freezers are served between -6 to -10 degrees Celsius. It’s actually colder than ice.

It’s very refreshing….some people call it a thirst quencher. Perfect for the Philippines’ traffic, politics, crisis, 30 degrees Celsius outside but -6 degrees in the bottle. How can you beat that?

***Beer taste is heightened? Really???? (Sabay taas ng kilay)
***Its actually colder than ice? What flavors can you still get from that?

Ok I'm definitely not opposing this but I'm just being a little sceptical on how they presented the facts.

Perhaps it won the hearts of most Filipinos who are just actually after the alcohol content of the beverage. Somehow it made me a little sad for we don't really take beers seriously, not caring about its rich flavors and aromas, not caring about its real essence.

We once had a discussion about how Filipinos perceive beers when I visited Offbeat Cafe's The Beer Gallery. The owners that time were discussing about introducing the supposed real beer culture, introducing different styles of beer from different countries and how its imagined to be. We all then realized that before we reach the stage on how most people should really be comprehending what beers are and appreciate its real beauty, not just the alcohol content of which will still take us a long time, especially when another precept like this (Beer Below Zero) is introduced to the Filipino beer drinkers.

Looking at the photos and basing on my visits on establishments which serves beer below zero degrees Celcius, mostly they have the pilsners and lagers. Ok, sige, it is really enjoyable for us here in the Philippines to drink cold beverages. No questions about that. But why? Why? (alright im starting to be a little frustrated here)

I think we were wrongly informed. I think we are just carried away by how these guys are marketing this fad. Oh well. The wonders of marketing and consumerism.

O sya sige na nga. I rest this case. But of course whoever can defend, explain, and give their thoughts about this thing is highly appreciated.


michymichymoo said...

The below zero beef refrigerator is just a marketing strategy.hahaha. :)

Tin | The Average Jane said...

Not much of a beer drinker but when I do drink, I prefer it ice cold. It makes the taste more palatable to me. Hehehe! =)

jssica wabbit said...

mitch - yeah I do agree.

Tin - I do like my lagers or pilsners ice cold. But there are some beer styles that needs to be served just above the freezing point, like ales porters and stouts. Anyway, beer is beer so whether cold, freezing, room temperature or even hot, id still drink it! Hehehe.

Thanks for dropping by ladies!