Wrecking Bar beer is brewed on a 7 barrel (BBL) system in the accessory warehouse at the rear of the property. The system consists of mash tun, brew kettle, 9 fermenters ranging from 3.5 to 30 barrels, and seven serving tanks. In addition to the 7 BBL system, a 2 BBL pilot batch system is used with the smaller conical fermenters for specialty brews. From the serving tanks, beer is pumped to draft beer towers at the bar in the brewpub. Up to 15 taps and 2 casks will be on service at any one time, although for Wrecking Bar anniversaries and other special events, there are often close to 30 beers pouring simultaneously!
The styles brewed will run the gamut from light to dark and hoppy to malty. An example of typical offering would be:
• Kolsch, Blonde Ale, or Light Lager
• Wheat Beer
• Amber Ale
• Porter or Stout
• Pale Ale, IPA, or Double IPA
• Belgian Ales such as Pale, Dubbel, Tripel, Quad
• German styles such as Dunkelweiss, Roggen, or Bock
• Imperial Stout
• Specialties such as Smoked or Wood-Aged Beer, or sour beers
• Cask Ales
You may be a beginning or novice beer drinker, right? How often are you confused by terms such as ABV, IBUs, hops, body, etc.? Please read these short blurbs that hopefully help take away some of the confusion.
Alcohol by Volume (ABV) – simply the alcohol percentage of the beer.
Most American “macro beers” are about 5 to 5.5% ABV. In Georgia, the maximum ABV that a beer distributed for sale can contain is 14.0%. All styles of beer can be represented within 14% ABV. Age tends to “mute” the alcohol character, meaning that some aged strong beers can be deceptively strong.
International Bittering Units (IBUs) – usually referred to as the amount of bitterness in a beer, but more precisely is the measure of the hop content in the finished beer. More hops typically lend to more bitter beers, but there are other factors that weigh in on the perception of bitterness than just IBUs. A pale ale with 70 IBUs will likely appear to be much more bitter than an imperial stout with 90 IBUs; since the stout has more malts and body to balance the hop bitterness. So instead of looking at IBUs, here at the Wrecking Bar we have a cool “bitterness” graph to guide you instead.
Hops – one of the four main ingredients of beer. The flower cone of a the humulus lupulus vine, and what gives beer its bitterness.
When beer is made, hop alpha acids dissolve in boiling beer as it is made. The more hops, the stronger the hops, or the longer the hops are in the boil, all yield a more bitter beer. Hops added towards the middle to end of the boil generate a hop flavor without adding as much hop alpha acids and therefore yield lower IBUs. Hops added at the end or during fermentation (dry hopped beer) generate only aroma and have the same characters as the flavor hops. Dozens of varieties of hops can be used to impart citrusy, grassy, herbal, earthy, piney, flavors.
Body – technically defined by the level of residual sugars that were not fermented out of the beer. Often it is a character of beer that is overlooked but is probably one of the bigger determining factors of whether someone likes a beer or not. Factors such as mouth feel, heaviness (not related to color of the beer), and maltiness all play a part in the perception of body.
Most pale American “macro” lagers are very light in body. In fact, it is possible for the Light American Lager style to have a specific gravity less than water – which means it technically would float on top of water!! The Guiness-style Dry Irish Stout is often confused as a “heavy” beer by many beer drinkers, when in fact it is one of the lighter bodied styles around. A “Black and Tan” or Snakebite is made with this style on top of a light ale or cider, and notice that the dark beer floats on top.
In general, beers with less than 1.010 Final Gravity (FG) would be light-bodied, 1.010 to 1.016 medium-bodied, and above 1.016 full-bodied.