There are two particularly awesome things about being a craft beer fan in 2020. One, the choices today are more plentiful than ever. And two, you can get at-home beer delivery! How neat is that!?
But, as much as we’d like it to, no beer stays drinkable forever. It’s important to unpack your beer delivery soon after it arrives and stow each brew properly — minus any that you crack open and sip right away, of course.
Here at Tavour, we’re big beer fans at home, too. Follow these five rules for storing all the different brews that arrive in your beer delivery, and you can enjoy their flavors as intended!
1. Choose the Right Temperature
Maintaining the right temperature is key to storing your beer delivery properly. Too warm, and the brews risk going flat and gaining off-flavors. Meanwhile, too cold will weaken the flavors and aromas.
Generally speaking, the vast majority of beers can be safely stored for months between 50 and 55-degrees Fahrenheit or “cellar temperature.” However, this does not always equate to the ideal serving temperature, which is worth considering depending when you want to drink the beer.
Lagers and Pilsners – Craft renditions like Listermann Brewing’s Lager King or Elder Pine’s Ameno Pilsner have more nuances of flavor than their macro counterparts — you won’t want to mask them with ice-cold temps. These beers should ideally be served between the low to mid 40s, although those who really like ‘em cold can dip down to 38-degrees F.
Ambers and Oktoberfest Beers — Ambers, Festbiers, and Marzen-style Lagers (like Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.’s yearly favorite Oachkatzlschwoaf) are traditionally meant for all-day sipping, in beer halls and outdoors. So, it’s best to serve them just a little warmer, between 45 and 50-degrees F.
Pale Ales and IPAs – To really enjoy all that hop character in the Pale Ale family, these popular brews are also best enjoyed between 45- and 50-degrees F. Since the average home refrigerator ranges between 38 and 40-degrees, you may want to let them warm up just a tad before sipping.
Blonde Ales and Cream Ales — The light, silky bodies of brews like Wise Man Brewing’s Krankies Shape Shifter Blonde and 903 Brewers’ The Chosen One Coconut Cream Ale makes them most refreshing and tasty on the chillier side. Serve between 40 and 45-degrees F.
Belgians and Abbey Beers — Many people believe that the bigger and boozier a brew, the warmer the better. But, for deeply malty, yeast-forward Belgian styles replete with fruity esters, 45 to 55-degrees F is best for enjoying all the flavors as the brewers intended.
Wheat Beers — Wheat Beers come in many different forms, from Wits to Hefeweizens and many in between. To really enjoy these approachable brews, opt for a temp between 40 and 50-degrees.
Porters, Stouts and Dark Ales — The deep complexity found in dark, roasty brews is best at slightly warmer temperatures, starting between 45- and 55-degrees F and then allowed to warm while sipping. However, the smooth creaminess of Milk Stouts and Nitro Stouts (like Moonraker Brewing’s Foamwalker) is more ideally brought out between 40 and 45-degrees.
Sours and Wilds — The colorful family of Sour brews seems to grow bigger and more diverse by the day! So, serving temp depends on what kind you have. For instance, the incredible flavors of an Oak-aged Brett Wild can be amped up at warmer temps, between 50 and 55-degrees. Meanwhile, fruit-forward Sour Ales should be kept on the cool side, with a temperature around 45-degrees F to keep them refreshingly nuanced. On the other hand, Heavily Fruited Sours are best chilled in the low 40s.
*Note: you should never let the temperature fluctuate too much between storage and serving (don’t take the beer out of the fridge and let it warm, only to put it back in the fridge). This can lead to some unpleasant musty or rubbery flavors.
2. Avoid Light
Ever wonder why the vast majority of beers come in light-impenetrable cans or dark bottles? That’s because UV rays from the sun react with the chemical compounds in beer and cause them to quickly break down into “skunked” flavors. Fortunately, keeping brews stored inside a fridge or a dark, cool cellar or closet will prevent the issue entirely.
3. Drink Hops and Fruit Fresh
Many parts of your beer delivery should be consumed pretty soon after they arrive, within the first few months. This is why it’s so important to check the bottled-on and/or expiration dates upon arrival (please note that not all breweries include these depending on their local laws, but we do include them on the Tavour app for drink-fresh beers when you make your selections.
Pay particularly close attention to any beers with large hop quantities or fruit additions. With Pale Ales and IPAs, the rule is three months, with four months for Imperial versions. Four months is also the rule for Fruited Sours like Drekker’s fruit-loaded Braaaaaaaains series. Likewise, some dark beers with heavy pastry-ingredient additions or lactose may be better enjoyed relatively soon.
4. Store Beers Upright
Storing beer bottles and cans on their side (á la wine bottles) for long periods of time can lead to unpleasant results. The main issue is yeast, which can settle down at the bottom and leave a ring, imparting uneven flavors within the brew. And, with all beers (but especially cans), sideways storage can increase the risk of foaming out or bursting if opened too quickly once turned upright again.
The same goes for bottles with corks, like Bozeman Brewing’s AndSoIt Gose Sour series. These should be stored upright, as the corks are often used when a beer is still undergoing fermentation and conditioning within the bottle. In addition to the aforementioned yeast issue, sideways storage can also cause the beer to pick up unwelcome cork flavors.
If you absolutely MUST store your beers on their sides, be sure to gently rotate them at least once a week prior to opening.
5. Know Your Cellarable Beers
Every craft fan should try cellaring a beer at least once to see how time can bring out a whole new world of flavorful nuances. You don’t need a fancy cellar, mind you — just a cool, dark, dry space where the beer can sit undisturbed.
As for the rules of which beers are cellarable, brews that are higher ABV and have strong ingredients (like toasted malts) often handle aging better. In many cases, this means Barleywines, Strong Ales, and Stouts. Many Sour Ales are also cellarable, like Casey Brewing and Blending’s oak-aged Farmhouse Ales.
Cellarable beers can typically be aged between six months to a year, though there are exceptions that can go even longer! Barrel-aged renditions are particularly great for cellaring, as their harsh booze notes will mellow over time, allowing deeper flavors to become more pronounced.
Have more questions about how to store your Tavour beer delivery? Reach out to us!