Should beer be served ice cold? Luke warm? Somewhere in between? The correct answer is, it depends on the beer.
Americans like to sneer and say they could never drink warm beer like those weirdo Europeans, but those that feign disgust at a warm beer have probably never had a real beer. While it is true that the toilet water flavored swill that most Yanks drink is best served cold, it is only because it tastes revolting unless it is cold enough to numb your taste buds.
Most craft beers are brimming with complex flavors and aroma that you will never experience if your beer is too cold. Most beer should be served at 40? to 42? F. Some beers don’t open up, flavor-wise, until 50? or higher, which is downright hot by most beer drinker’s standards.
So should you show you are a true beer geek by carrying around a thermometer and testing before imbibing? I suppose you could but you would probably get some strange looks from your buds. Draft beer is generally around 38?, refrigerated beer is around 35?, and beer that has been sitting in an ice chest can be close to 32?. All that is really necessary is to wait a few minutes after the beer is poured (and it must be poured and not drunk from the bottle) to let it warm up a few degrees. Holding the glass will speed the process some but it really doesn’t take long. Then you can enjoy beer the way it is meant to be enjoyed while your buddies slam theirs back, oblivious to the blissful experience they are missing.