Serving Beer

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
In the United States, beer is often drunk ice-cold and straight from the can or bottle. This is fine for a light, thirst-quenching beer, but doesn’t do justice to beers designed to have some character. The colder any food is, the less full its flavor will seem. Lager beers are usually best served somewhat warmer than refrigerator temperature, around 50°F/10 C, while top-fermented ales are served at a cool room temperature, from 50 to 60°F/10–15°C. Beers worth savoring are poured into a glass, where some of the carbon dioxide gas can escape and moderate their prickliness, and where their color and head of foam can be appreciated.