Do Europeans Drink Warm Beer?


Europeans Drinking Beer

Sometimes, all that you need on a hot summer day is to sit in the sun and have an ice-cold beer; apparently, for Europeans, “ice-cold” should be changed to “lukewarm”. You might have heard this claim before, that Europeans drink warm beer.

It sounds weird; but never say never when it comes to Europe. The truth is, what Americans consider cold and warm when it comes to beer is not entirely the same for Europeans. Keep reading to find out an answer to the question do Europeans drink warm beer?

Common Myth

No, Europeans don’t drink warm beer, they just prefer it at cellar temperature (a little colder than room temperature).

This myth about Europeans drinking warm beer most likely occurred during the Second World War. when American soldiers placed in Britain were appalled to find that their refreshment at the end of a long day was not frosty cold like they were used to. Instead was a real ale not as chilly as they expected. The myth managed to stick, and turned into common knowledge amongst Americans.

“Warm” is better

One of the most common arguments you will hear when Europeans defend the reason that they drink beer “warm” (it’s not actually warm, it is usually served at room temperature) is that any drink of quality, whether it be wine or beer, should be served at room temperature in order to get all the flavor possible.

If the drink is low quality or low standard, it should be served ice-cold, which, according to Europeans, is the reason Americans serve their beer so cold.

Everything at room temperature

Generally in Europe, unless it’s the peak of the summer, everything is served at room temperature. Soda, water, or juice are all served without ice. If you want any, you would have to ask for it yourself, or your waitress or waiter will ask you if you would like ice included.

Keeping this in mind, maybe it makes more sense as to why Europeans also serve their beer cool instead of ice-cold, because ice is not that common.

Ale; Lager

In Europe, an ale has a recommended serving temperature of 50-55 degrees, making it cool and refreshing (for European standards). The temperature allows for the richness and flavor of the beer to come forward. Europeans prefer lager at a colder temperature than ale, but only by a small difference.

It is recommended to be served between 45-50 degrees to allow the citrus flavor and the important aromas to really peak. As you can see, these are the standard temperatures for the “classic” beers in Europe, so it is not like only a small percentage of the people drinks their beers in this way.

Different Views Towards Beer

What it comes down to that Americans and Europeans don’t view the drink in the same way. Of course, both enjoy a beer after a long day at work, or when it is sunny out, but not entirely in the same way. For Europeans, especially Germans, it is very normal to have a beer before work, or maybe even in their break during work.

In most European countries, beer can replace a soda or water, and if someone is drinking it within reason, no one will raise an eyebrow at it. A lot of European countries are very passionate about beer and have a lot of different kinds to offer, for example Germany of Belgium, and thus they want to enjoy every flavor, aroma, scent, that is given to them and will drink it at cellar or room temperature.

Conclusion

To summarize, it is important to point out that no, Europeans do not drink warm beer, unless you personally consider room or cellar temperature to be warm; rather it is classified as “cool”. The myth that was probably created around the Second World War is just that, a myth.¬†Europeans might just as well enjoy an ice-cold beer every once in a while, but for them it defeats the purpose.

They believe that a good glass (or pint) of beer should be drank at the temperatures mentioned before, in order to get all the goods out of the beverage. It is also the difference in attitude towards beer itself that makes Europeans and Americans confused about each other’s way of drinking it.

Dan Specht

Dan has been homebrewing beer for 8 years and holds a level 2 certifiication as a Cicerone.

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