Picking up this month's "What's Brewing" the Campaign for Real Ale's monthly newspaper, I see that veteran letter writer Keith Flett is at it again. The subject of his letter is beer serving temperature, something that is dear to my heart.
Flett urges cask beer to be served tepid! The dictionary definition of tepid is "lukewarm". Doesn't that just conjure up an image that makes you smack your lips with anticipation? In fairness our esteemed correspondent agrees that cooler beer may well be needed to draw in younger drinkers, a point I'd certainly agree with. But what constitutes ideal serving temperature? Mr Flett reckons 12C (53.6F). CAMRA will be happy with 12 - 14C or about 54 - 57F, which to me has a maximum set a tad on the warm side. Those cellar inspectors at Cask Marque allow 11- 13C, so you can see there is no precise agreement as to what serving temperature should be.
My own view is that anywhere between 10c and 12c (50 - 53.5F ) is OK. Ideally I'd prefer it around 11C at the point of dispense, on the basis that beer will warm up and soon pass the recommended maximum, particularly outside the colder months. In any event I like my beer to be served cool.
So Mr Flett. Lukewarm beer? No thanks. Urging tepid cask beer is not the way forward for real ale. What do others think?
The photo is from my Cask Marque Beer thermometer.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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