Has anyone ever told you "once a beer has been cold, you can't let it warm up."?
While I'm all for treating beer with respect, I just want to help anyone out who has been chastised for doing this. Truth is, it's not really a big deal (unless your are going to cellar your beer). Hoppy Beer is more sensitive to temperature swings but 1-2 times of cold back to room temperature won't effect flavor if you are are going to consume the beer in the next 30 days. Most hoppy beers should be consumed within 30-45 days after purchase anyway, because who knows how long it't been sitting at the store?
Yes, beer does like to be stored cold and it will last longer if it is stored at a steady cool temperature throughout its life. But buying it at the store refrigerated and then storing outside the fridge until you need it is not really going to harm the beer.
In fact, I'd guess that almost 90% of the craft beer you drink was stored at room temperature at the brewery, shipped to the distributor, stored in their warehouse (at whatever temperature that happens to be) and then transported to the store in a side loader truck (at whatever temperature it is outside) then brought into the store or restaurant and stored in a back room or basement THEN and only THEN it may finally get refrigerated for the first time in its life! It's at this point that people tend to get all worked up if you take the refrigerated beer and let it warm back up. While I'm not saying this is good for the beer, it's really not too bad either. It's worse for beer to have a QUICK temperature change, from cool to warm. Otherwise, it's really not going to make a noticeable difference to the beer unless you are going to store the beer for the long term.
Ok, before I get a flood of emails telling me I'm a fool, here are a few disclaimers...
Yes, a 30º temperature swing in 5 mins will definitely effect the beer's long term stability, and yes, beer prefers to be refrigerated and should be if you can.
But, this isn't just my opinion, here are a sources to back me up:
All I'm suggesting is, don't stress too much about this. I was recently camping and heard a couple arguing over this next door and you would have thought that the beer had to be poured out based on how upset this guy was! This could have been a case of just simmering tension and the beer was the last straw but, his re-action was a bit too dramatic given the slight transgression.
I'd argue it was more about him not wanting to wait for his beer too cool back down to drink in which case, I'm 100% with him I like a nice cool beer on a warm day!
What do you think? Do you disagree? Let me know by commenting below.