What is the ideal temperature of a beer? That’s the kind of question that can start a fight among some beer drinkers. For the most part, it depends on the style of beer. Some beers are better warm, some cold. But, for the most part, I really prefer that they aren’t simply room temperature. This can cause problems on the road. For growlers on the road, this becomes an even more important issue.
Growlers are bottles that breweries use to be able to sell you beer that they have on tap. The good news is that you get to take a beer home with you that you can’t buy at the local liquor or grocery store. The bad news is that you have a limited time to drink that beer and it MUST stay refrigerated. Often, a hotel I’m staying at will have a small refrigerator and I can have a few beers a night from the growler without any real problem. Sometimes, however, there is no fridge in the hotel room. The last time this happened was when I was in Wheeling, WV. What do you do with a 64 oz bottle of beer that has to stay cold for several days?
What I do is to take a garbage can and fill it with ice from the ice machine. This works for a surprising length of time. It also works if you have regular bottles that you want to drink. But, that leads to a different problem. How do you keep bottles of beer in an “ice bucket” without water from the melting ice destroying the labels? My approach has been to wrap the bottle in a washcloth, stick the whole bottle/cloth combination into a gallon ziplock bag and then put it in the ice. In the morning I start with a full bucket of ice.
By the time I get back to my hotel room, well after dinner, there is still some ice in the bucket and the beer is cold. I will admit that ziplock bags are better at keeping liquids in than at keeping liquids out. Sometimes, I come back and find the bottles floating in a pool of water inside the bag. It’s still the best solution I’ve found yet. Let me know if you have a better idea. I would love to hear it.
Is the beer in an ice water bath at an ideal temperature for drinking? Who knows? All I know is that it’s a good temperature for me. I’m not really that exacting a person when it comes to making sure my stouts are at 55° F or that my lagers are between 42° and 48° F. Anything below 70° F works for me.