It makes no sense to me why breweries are against freezing pint glasses. I think that there's nothing better than ice cold beer, and it seems in most ways the breweries agree. They try and cool beer lines, beer in bottles is always served cold, and some beer is bottled with labels that let you know when the beer is cold. So why are they so against freezing pint glasses, particularly when there are some great inventions out there that can freeze pint glasses in seconds? I think they should promote instead of being against it, so why don't they?
It depends on the beer style. Craft beers in general were not designed to be served at a near freezing (for water) temperature. Drink an IPA at 35 degrees and 45 degrees and you'll probably find the hop notes more pronounced at the higher temperature.
Here is a general guideline:
Very Cold: 35-40 degrees •American Adjunct Lagers (“Macros”) •Malt Liquors •Light or low alcohol beers
Cold: 40-45 degrees •Pilsner •Light-bodied lagers •Kolsch •Belgian Wit •Hefeweizen •Berliner weisse •American Wheat
Cool: 45-50 degrees •American Pale Ales •Medium-bodied lagers •India Pale Ale (IPA) •Porters •Alt •Irish Stouts •Sweet Stout
Cellar Temp: 50-55 degrees •Sour Ales •Lambic/Gueuze •English Bitter •Strong Ales •Baltic Porters •Bocks •Scotch Ales •Belgian Ales •Trappist Ales
Warm: 55-60 degrees •Imperial Stouts •Belgian Quads •Belgian Strong Ales •Barley Wines •Old Ales •Dopplebock •Eisbock
Freezing pint glasses is like using subwoofers in your Mini. It's too much of a good thing that drowns out the subtlety that is supposed to sell the product over and over.
Just because some beers taste better cold, such as lagers compared to ales, doesn't mean they taste better when they are nearly frozen at +1C. Our perception of flavour diminishes as something is cooled, and so beer tastes less sweet and wines taste more acidic as they get colder.
Breweries know this and they spend significant dollars to invent a beverage that has the maximum taste profile for the least amount of ingredient spend. Bringing that product out of its intended temperature zone and into numbness makes a Coors or Bud have almost no character at all.
I can also imagine that bars are going to be reluctant to cool their pint glasses and spend a lot of money on electricity when it makes the beers taste little better than ordinary ice water. The end result is a disappointing "freezie"-like experience that reduces the likelihood of someone ordering multiples of those over the course of an evening out, which is the ultimate benchmark for most bars.
While "Wayne in Yak" pretty much covers ideal serving temperatures, I would like to add some sensory information.
When you drink or eat very cold foods & beverages, the low temperature inhibits the operation of your taste buds and other olfactory tasting parts of your body.
Here's a quick experiment: taste a room-temperature soda/soft-drink Vs a refrigerated soft drink. The warm version tastes much sweeter. The sweetness of the beverage is calibrated for consumption at a low temperature. It's too sweet drinking it warm.
Sometimes on hot summer days, a cold & frosty beer is great. I wont disagree there. But the point is - if the beverage is too cold, you physically can't taste it very well.
This is why many establishments do not freeze their glasses. Just like steaks, soup and ice-cream, there's a specific temperature range at which the producer thinks the product is best.
In places where the ambient temperature is over 30C / 86F, then it makes sense to cool the glasses. But here the idea here is that when the beverage at temperature-X is combined with a heavy glass at temperature-Y, the final resultant temperature should be in that ideal serving range.