Bar Tending & Beerspectives
by Matt Martinkovic
Brewsearch & Development -
Nik's Wunderbar - Whitehouse Station NJ
I've been in the beer business for a long time in various capacities.  My favorite is bartending
since I get to talk to people about my favorite subject - beer.  Over the years I've  been asked
many different questions but there have been a few common ones.  I thought I'd take this
opportunity to put my answers in writing to a few of  the ones I get most often.  Here we go:

What are pilsners, ales, lagers, etc?
“Beer” refers to any fermented beverage made from grain. Lagers and ales are the two
families of beer, distinguished by the type of yeast and the temperature of fermentation.
Lagers are fermented at cooler temperatures by so-called “bottom fermenting” yeast. Beers
in the lager family need to be conditioned—or “lagered”—somewhere cool for a number of
weeks before they are ready to drink. Ales are fermented at warmer temperature by
top-fermenting yeast strains, and are ready to drink sooner.

How many calories in beer?
There are about 150 calories in a 12-ounce serving of standard beer, the same amount as
those little pots of fruit yogurt dieters like so much. I know which is my choice: when I want a
cold one after work, I don’t mean a cold yogurt. A light beer will contain about 100 calories.
Some hefty styles such as barleywines contain about 300 calories. Remember: it’s
not really the beer, it’s what you eat with the beer that adds the pounds.

What's actually in beer?
The basic ingredients of beer are malted barley, hops, water and yeast. Some brewers
add wheat, oats, rice, or corn—the last two, in particular, are used by the big brewers to
create a lighter flavor and save costs. By the way, if you’re allergic to wheat, look for beers
that explicitly say they are made only from malted barley (“malt”), hops, water and yeast. Or
look for beers that say they are brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot, or the “Bavarian
beer purity laws of 1516,” which stipulates the use of the same four ingredients.

My girlfriend other doesn't like beer, how can I convert her?
When she says she won’t drink beer, the kind of beer she won’t drink is probably the
standard light lager that dominates the market. There are over seventy defined styles out
there: persuade her to try a wheat beer, or a Belgian ale. If that fails, tell her that until
recently, brewing was the province of women: she owes it to her gender to like beer.

How long will beer stay fresh?
The average beer has a shelf life of 3-6 months, tops -- before quality begins to degrade.
However some beers like  barleywines, imperial stouts, Belgian strong ales, lambics, and old
ales do well with aging.  Here at Wunderbar we make sure our beer is the freshest available.

Why do you serve different types of beer in different styles of glasses?
Taste is really smell, and different glasses can capture aromas differently. Furthermore,
different aromas may be more or less present dependent upon temperature, and a glass
may be crafted to be held a particular way (gathering more or less heat from your hand).
Also, has a mature side. Scientific studies show that the shape of glassware will impact
head development and retention which is significant to your drinking experience.

Well, that covers a few of the questions.  I'll answer more in the future.  By the way, fell free to
send me one here at BeerNexus or just ask next time you're here at Nik's Wunderbar.


And don't forget my friends at the  Northside Lounge,
100 Brooks Boulevard, Manville, NJ 08835     908-722-7712
Matt Martinkovic is not only a recognized beer authority but a well known ecological writer whose
work has appeared in the The American Midland Naturalist (University of Notre Dame) among other
industry publications.  He also has been an agricultural consultant on, of course, the growing of hops.
Questions and Answers
To all my readers and friends, please stop in and say hello to me at my new home, the great
Nik's Wunderbar,    It's an exclusive Bavarian beer hall and beer garden focusing on
German dishes and German brews. The staff wears traditional Bavarian dress too!
454 Route 22 West Whitehouse Station, NJ 08888
For Matt's latest Wunderbar Newsletter click HERE