Thousands of years of brewing science still has not put some classic beer myths to rest. Let’s debunk them once and for all!

Myth #1: All Dark Beer is Heavy

Don’t be afraid of the dark! While a beer’s color can offer clues about flavor, color has little to do with “mouthfeel” – the way a beer’s weight and texture feel, literally, in the mouth. To understand mouthfeel, consider how skim milk feels and weighs on your palate compared to whole milk. While it’s commonly believed that dark beers feel thick, more like whole milk, this is a myth. Why not give a Schwarzbier or Dunkelweizen a try, both dark, German-style brews that are perfect for your deck.

Myth #2: Beer is Best Ice Cold

The truth is that extremely cold temperatures inhibit the flavor and aroma of beer. As well, pouring beer into a frozen mug often results in excessive foaming. Nobody wants to miss anything that these Colorado craft beers have to offer. If you’re serious about enjoying your beer, consider fishing those mugs out of the freezer.

Myth #3: India Pale Ale was Invented to Survive a Long Voyage

India Pale Ale, or IPA, is the most popular beer in the craft beer world – beer lovers can’t get enough of that strong, hoppy ale. However, the story that IPA was invented because beer couldn’t survive the trip from England to India is a bit embellished. Historical records show that many different types of beer were successfully transported to the colonies. In fact, beer was being shipped to India for decades before the term “India Pale Ale” started showing up on those casks.

While it’s true that extra hops and stronger alcohol content helped to preserve the beer for the months-long journey, IPA was not developed specifically for the trip. It is a good story, though.

You can enjoy your beer however you please. Look deeply and learn some really cool stuff, or just drink it on your deck with friends – but just because you’ve heard something, doesn’t make true.

What is clearly true, however, is that “Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.” That’s true even if Ben Franklin never actually said it.

Andy Sparhawk is a Certified Cicerone® (professional beer “sommelier”), a Beer Judge Certification Program judge, and the craft beer web manager for the Boulder-based Brewers Association.

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