Following publication of a recent column discussing beer drinking during the autumn and winter seasons, a fellow explorer asked if winter beers should be enjoyed at the same temperature as summer beers. We've discussed the proper temperature issue before, but I thought a short refresher - with some new info - might be valuable and (hopefully) interesting. Each style of beer has a recommended temperature at which it is best served and enjoyed. It all has to do with ingredients, the brewing process, and simple chemistry. In very short, and in the driest terms beers should be served as follows: Most premium lagers should be poured at between 42 and 48 degrees (This is all in Fahrenheit.) Most craft and quality ales should be served between 44 and 52 degrees. Stouts can be served up at 55 degrees. (This by the way is considered cellar temperature.) Barleywines, barrel-aged stouts, and almost all old ales should be only lightly chilled or served at room temperature. Now, and this is important, serving and drinking beer is a matter of personal taste. If you like all of 'em frosty cold - have at it! Be aware, however, that the reason beers are served at differing temperatures is because they have differing ingredients and brewing quirks that are highligthed by the suggested temperatures. Still ...back to the question about serving beer in the autumn and winter. I tend to appreciate the ales that are generally served slightly warmer than lagers. I quite appreciate a quality brew served in the British style which, as opposed to general opinion, IS NOT at room temperature. Our British cousins often drink their beer at cellar temperature - CELLAR temperature. That is to say, just a tad below room temperature. Cellar temperature IS NOT room temperature. The proof of that pudding is a simple experiment. Turn your home thermostat down to 55 degrees, tell everyone this is room temperature, and wait for the resulting revolt! Cellar temperature is cool, but not cold. This brings out all the best qualities of a finely crafted ale, and even can teach you new things about your favorite lager. All throughout the winter, and actually for a good part of the year, I store my beers (usually ales) in the mud room - not in the fridge. They stay plenty cool enough and don't plug up the food supply chain! Winter ales are delicious and revealing when served at cellar temperature (and actually not bad at all when served on a cold winter's night at room temperature). The fun is in the testing and experimentation. Try for yourself and see what can be discovered at differing temperatures. One thing is for sure, after a stint outside shoveling snow, a frosty cold beer is not what the doctor ordered, but a hearty, slightly warmed barleywine beer may be just the ticket. Enjoy. Amnesiac Double IPA Phillips Brewing Company Victoria, British Columbia,\u00a0Canada\u00a0 Ahhhhh ... thanks to the kindness of strangers, (who are strangers no more)! This wonderful bottle of brew was donated to The Cause by an explorer from the far Northwest who is well aware of the need for some hands-across-the-border education. Amnesiac is advertised as a Strong Beer or Biere Forte, and logs in at a hefty 8.5 percent ABV. It pours a delicious, clear, rich amber or gold color with a decent amount of foamy head that was relatively stable for a good couple minutes and then some. The first deep sniff yields a rich malty scent with a goodly citrus aroma that is staged well with a base of fresh hoppiness. There are some background scents of light fruits - maybe a touch of apricot. The malty caramel aroma is well evident. Amnesiac is crisp and clear tasting. At first wash the malts come forward but are exceptionally well balanced by an outdoorsy hoppiness. This is a touch piney, but offers up a boisterous hoppiness from start to finish. I would suggest this brew is in the medium-bodied range, with just the right amount of carbonation to enhance the crisp taste and aroma. Amnesiac is simply a good, solid brew - one you'd like there to be more of in any neighborhood. I suppose some IPA or Strong Beer lovers would like to see, taste and feel more hoppiness in this brew, but I think there is simply a great balance and the Phillips team are certainly catering to a larger group of beer lovers this way. I would most certainly pick up more of this for the fridge ...if I could get out to Victoria, B.C.! Samuel Smith's Organic\u00a0Chocolate Stout Samuel Smith Old Brewery North Yorkshire, England\u00a0 When I first picked up a bottle of this ... ambrosia ... My "Beer Guy" asked me if I liked Dove Dark Chocolate. I do. Oh. My. Gosh. I do. That's what you'll be drinking, he said. He did not lie! This is crazy good. Smith's pours a deep brown color - a borderline black. A surprising amount of coffee-and-cream head forms up top and slowly dissipates leaving a lacing that is more of a tease than it is 'residue.' The aroma smacks you in the back of the nose. It is chocolate. Deep, rich chocolate with some hints of coffee and a touch of cherry tossed in for good measure. There are some hazelnut hints in the background, but most everything is over-shadowed by the chocolate. The taste simply confirms what you discovered in scenting. Deep, luxurious chocolate. It's a little bit like drinking a piece of chocolate volcano cake! There is a certain spiciness at the back of the palate, but the chocolate tones and roasted malts carry the day in the most exquisite way. This is wonderful stuff. I would heartily suggest stocking up on a few bottles (or more) in anticipation of the holiday season soon upon us. This could well become a new Christmas tradition in your home.