If you’re a beer aficionado, life has never been better. You can walk into just about any bar, restaurant or liquor store in America to find a far wider range of options than you could have just a couple of decades ago. Whether you prefer an ice-cold Bud or the most obscure local microbrew that no one has ever heard of yet, odds are good that you can get your hands on the perfect brew for your mood.
But what will you do when it’s time to store all those brown bottles and beer cans? If you’re like most people, you probably turn to Google for all your beer storage advice.
And that’s where things can get dicey.
There are a lot of beer storage myths out there, so if you aren’t careful to check your sources — that is, seek out the advice of real brewers instead of a college freshman — you could be getting bad intel.
That’s why we’ve taken the time to do the research for you to do some myth-busting done about beer and how best to keep it fresh and delicious for your next serving. Here’s what you need to know.
Myth #1: All Beer Should Be Stored and Served Ice Cold
Nope. All but the lightest mass-market pale ales (Miller, Coors Lite, and Budweiser) should be served at higher temperatures than you might expect for the best flavor. While the big beers are delightful at an icy 35 to 40 degrees, everything else benefits from warmer serving temperatures to bring out their full flavor. That cold deadens your taste buds after a while, so warmer is better to get the whole experience.
In general, your standard kitchen refrigerator is set around 38 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s a little too cold for storing beers like an IPA, Imperial Stout, or any other craft beer. You won’t hurt them by keeping them cold, but you’ll have to let them warm up a bit before you actually drink them, which is a pain. Instead, a dedicated keg cooler can keep your beverages at a more convenient temperature for longer.
Myth #2: You Have to Store Beer at the Same Temperature It Was at the Store
This isn’t true, either — especially if you’re talking about beer stored at room temperature. Beer is an organic product, so it begins its long, slow decay the minute it’s brewed. Heat causes this process to speed up, which will eventually lead to off-flavors and smells. Consider the 3-30-300 Rule: You can keep beer for just three days at 90 degrees (like in your hot car), but it will last for 30 days in 72 degrees and 300 days at 38 degrees.
What does this all mean for you? You should keep your beer cool but not cold to thread the needle between longevity and optimal serving temperatures. The less time your beer spends at room temperature, the better — so get it into a beer cooler or your refrigerator as soon as you get it home.
Myth #3: Beer in Bottles Lasts Longer Than Cans
Though many people prefer the feel of a bottle in their hands and on their lips, it’s actually a less secure way to store your beer for the long haul. An aluminum can doesn’t let any light into your beer, which you now know is the cause of the dreaded skunked beer. Brown bottles handle the light issue somewhat, but clear bottles won’t help you store your beer long at all unless you are very diligent about keeping it in the dark.
Likewise, cans provide a more complete seal to keep out the air. A bottle with a cork does a little better than a capped bottle, but both have the tiniest space through which air can seep, while a can is fully sealed until you crack it open. Why does this matter? Oxidation leads to stale beer. Oxidized beer tastes like cardboard or vinyl unless you happen to have a dark, strong ale that actually tastes better when aged. Barleywines might be your best bet here if you want to experiment with aging beer, but most store-bought beers age poorly.
Keep Your Beer At The Optimal Temperature
Getting beer at the right temperature is one thing. Keeping a beer at the right temperature for a long period of time is something else! KegCold keeps kegs cold, pouring brews at a low of 34 degrees for 2-3 days. KegCold comes in three sizes: 1/2 & 1/4 Keg Coolers (2 in 1), 1/6th (Sixtel) Keg Coolers, and Can Cold. They’re reusable so get yours today!