FROST BREWED?

Just wanted to write a quick post about another frustrating aspect of the Axis of Evil (aka: AB/Miller/Coors). Last night, I caught a commercial where Coors described how their beers were as “cold as the Rockies” and that they had developed “cold-activated”  cans, bottles, and glasses that changed colors when your beer was cold enough to drink.

First of all, that cold-activated crap has been around since I was just a little McHops. We had awesome gloves in the 80’s called Freezy Freakies (mine had Spiderman on them) and when you stuck them in snow, the graphics would change (let’s also not forget the Hypercolor T-shirt craze of the early 90s). So Coors billing their “cold-activated” vessels as if this is some sort of pinnacle of human technological achievement is just fucking stupid.

Second, Americans need to get over this idea that beer needs to be served so cold that it makes your teeth rattle and your lips freeze. It ain’t ice cream…it’s not going to melt if you serve it above sub-zero temperatures. In reality, serving beer at warmer temperatures reveals the brew’s true depth of flavor and character. Some beers, like barleywines, Trappist ales, and imperial stouts are actually best served at room temperature.

I know, I know…beer is supposed to be refreshing. And I agree that a truly room temperature beer can be a little disconcerting. But try serving your beer (particularly ales) at cellar temperature (around 55F) rather than the low 40-degree temps at which most pale lagers are served, and I think you’ll see a remarkable difference in your enjoyment of the brew. Flavors you didn’t notice before will make their presence known. The aroma will be much fuller and brighter. Studies have shown that serving beer under 60F reduces some of the flavor character of beer…and under 50F dramatically impacts the nose and taste. Grab two bottles of a decent ale and try serving one bone-chillingly cold and the other at cellar temperature and see which one you prefer. I promise that 50% of the time, the cellar temp beer will win every time.

So screw you, Coors. We’re on to your little game. Perhaps if you created a beer with any taste or interest, it wouldn’t have to be served as “cold as the Rockies”. I’d rather not have to throw on a pair of Freezy Freakies just to drink a beer, thank you very much. I’ll stick with my good beer…imbibed at a proper serving temperature.

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3 comments

  1. This touches on the most maddening beer tag line I can think of: “A taste as cold as the Rockies…”

    “Cold” is a condition or perception of temperature. It is not a taste. “Ass” is many things, among them a taste, as in “Coors beer tastes like ass.” I would never say “This Coors tastes cold.”

  2. Yes! What the hell does “cold” taste like? Is your beer peppermint-flavored? Does it taste like you’re drinking a penguin?

    I think Coor’s cold-fixation reveals a lot about the beer. If you have to serve a beer at such a frigid temperature that it becomes virtually impossible to distinguish any flavors or aromas in the brew…well, that’s probably not a good beer. It’s like going to a cheap, shitty Mexican restaurant and dumping a gallon of hot sauce on your Enchilada. You can try to mask the flavor all you want, but you can’t hid the fact that you’re consuming a pile of awful.

  3. Mr. McHops, I’m sure you remember our trip to the Emerald Isle some years ago and coming across a new offering called “Guinness Extra Cold”. At the time we thought it was targeted toward American tastes. “Come on over ye tourists and taste our lovely Guinness without having to taste anything at all”. Thanks for freezing the tap lines guys, very helpful.

    While on the topic of uber-chilled beers, what are your thoughts on icy tap lines and the controversial frosted mug? The high-end chain “Houston’s” prides itself on their beer selection (Deservedly so) yet one look at their lineup of taps will show glimmering ice across the surface. It just kills any bitterness and hop aromas right on the spot.

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