Bar Tending & Beerspectives
by Matt Martinkovic
Brewsearch & Development -
Nik's Wunderbar - Whitehouse Station NJ
Thought I'd say a few words in this month's column about one of the more popular non-stout
dark beer varieties that you can find out there.  It's Köstritzer Schwarzbier from Germany.  
The word literally ‘black beer’. While it does retain some of the malty flavors of a dark beer it
has a crisp and sweeter finish associated more with lagers. It’s full rich color is actually
misleading considering how light it is and I feel is a better entry point than a Guinness for
those trying out dark beers for the first time.

A schwarzbier retains the things a novice beer enthusiast may know from the big name
American pilsners and lagers that they are familiar with drinking. With a 4.8% ABV it is
very drinkable and comparable in alcohol content to other lager and pilsner offerings.

Some of the big name breweries offer a version of dark lager as well including Heineken and
San Miguel, but these offerings all tend to hover around molasses flavored sweetness.
Needless to say you should not end your search here;  these can be a good entry point into
dark beers before venturing off into the exciting unknown tastes of dark beers.

Another point of familiarity may be a wheat beer. When more roasted malt is added to
the mix you get a dunkelweizen or ‘dark wheat’ beer. A great example of this is the
Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel.  It's very popular and very drinkable; it's alway a
big seller when we have it on here at the Wunderbar. With beers of this type you’ll get the
well known clove and spice taste of a wheat beer with a nice balance of roasted flavors.
Beers in this style (dunkelweizen) tend to have a nice rich and sweet flavor without being
overpowering and retains a medium body. Be sure to try this style next time your here.

Black IPA/American Black AleIPAs are all the rage in the American craft beer scene
and spreading worldwide. The rise of the IPA and its ever increasing amount of bitterness has
made it the most popular beer style in the USA.  Now it's also an international favorite as IPAs,
Double IPAs, and even Triple IPAs are being made by craft brewers the world over.

If you are familiar with the citrus, bright taste of an IPA you may be surprised to hear that
there are some dark beers that combine this with the flavor of roasted malt and even coffee.
The effect may be a little strange at first, but there are some beers out there that combine
these two tastes quite well. Enter into the world of Black IPAs.  Trust me, it's a special treat.

Well that's it for now.  The world of beer awaits.  And remember, there are more styles
and kinds of beer than wine!  Even better, you'll get to experience them all here at Nik's
Wunderbar since we're on a mission to bring the best and most variety of beer into the state!


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.
Dark Beers
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!  When you come in
be sure to sign up for my free newsletter.  And tell them you saw it here on BeerNexus!
454 Route 22 West Whitehouse Station, NJ 08888
For Matt's latest Wunderbar Newsletter click HERE