Bar Tending & Beerspectives
by Matt Martinkovic
Brewsearch & Development -
Nik's Wunderbar - Whitehouse Station NJ
As you might know I've been in the beer business for many years.  As such, it's
important for me to stay attuned to all the new trends, methods, and styles.  And do we
ever have a lot of them. I guess that what makes my job so exciting, after all,  this
just about the most exciting time in the history of beer.  Here are a few interesting ones.

Dry Hopping
Hopheads have been enjoying the craft explosion as much as anyone, with double IPAs and
dry-hopped (or burst-hopped) beers taking the spotlight in the last two years. Adding more
hops to a beer doesn’t always make it tastier. You have to add the right kind of hops, at the
right time, to get the flavors you want. Dry-hopping is when a brewer adds hops after
fermentation (once the yeast has done its magic). Brewers’ preferences vary on when
to add the hops — either directly after fermentation or after they move the brew to a
second fermenting vessel. The liquid leaches off some of the oils from the hops,
producing a very aromatic beer without necessarily increasing the bitterness.

Bourbon Barrel Aging
Bourbon barrel-aging alters the flavor of a beer just as much. Brewers take a complete
beer and let it (age) in wood barrels that previously held bourbon. This process can
be done with rum barrels or wine barrels as well, and always adds new flavors to the
beer while often increasing the alcohol content.  For example, Old Rasputin from
North Coast Brewing (one of my favorites) goes from 9 percent alcohol by
volume to 11.5 percent for the BBA version.  

At one time sour beers were cult favorites that the general craft beer lover wouldn't touch.  
Now however these beers are gaining substantial popularity.  While brewers are by nature
obsessive about cleanliness, sours are made by intentionally introducing bacteria and/or wild
yeast strains into the beer, which then keep working their magic on the sugars in the beer to
produce the funky and/or sour notes the brewer is going for. By nature, sours are harder to
control and thus harder to make, so they’re not as plentiful as other beer styles.  Don't worry,
we get our share here at Nik's Wunderbar.  Be sure to ask me about them when you come in.

Imperial beers are big and bold, higher in alcohol content and usually stronger in
whatever flavor that beer or style is known for. An imperial IPA will be higher in alcohol,
and will be more hop forward. An imperial stout will be higher in alcohol, and will
have more sweetness or chocolate notes.

At under 5 percent ABV, session beers are easier to drink in quantity, and breweries are
making more of them, since the market is demanding them.  As such there are lots to choose
from. Session beers are a great option if you intent to spend a while at the pub.


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.
Beer Trends
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