The smooth, creamy texture of beers like Guinness, Bodington’s and Old Speckled Hen is due to the addition of nitrogen rather than carbon dioxide. Since nitrogen forms much smaller bubbles than CO2, the result is a silky smooth mouthfeel that has won over legions of beer drinkers the world over. The popularity of these beers and the unique sensation and flavors created by nitrogen has contributed to the growing trend among craft brewers to add nitrogen to their beers. Over the past few years more and more brewers have added nitro taps to their tap rooms and begun experimenting with the gas.
Nitrogen is largely insoluble in liquid, which is what contributes to the thick mouth feel. This effect is helped by a special piece of tap equipment known as a restrictor plate that forces the beer through tiny holes before it lands in the glass. That process causes the “rising” effect that is topped with the head. And it’s really only the bubbles on the sides of the glass that fall. Inside they are actually rising, as typically seen with a poured carbonated beverage.
Left Hand Brewing Company of Longmont, Colo. was the first American craft brewer to introduce a bottled nitrogen beer without a widget to dd the gas to the beer. On the first night of the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, Left Hand revealed Milk Stout Nitro in a bottle.
Just a few years later, Tampa brewing powerhouse Cigar City Brewing Company decided to begin a program dedicated to distributing a number of their brews for nitro taps. In 2013 the brewery issued a memo to its distributors that said:
We here at CCB have decided to place a focus on our draft nitro beers. We think the nitro adds a unique aspect to many brands. Our tasting room has two nitro taps and we want to get more nitro beers out into the market.
Since then, the trend has spread to many more breweries who have begun experimenting with putting all manner of beers on tap. Traditionally, beers that are predominantly malt forward have been served on nitro. These beers consist primarily of stouts and porters, but may also include malty ales like Boddington’s. But, as the trend spreads, some brewers are trying the gas with pumpkin ales, red ales and even IPAs to spectacular results.
The trend has become so popular that it has spawned nitro only beer festivals and even a new product that allows homebrewers to turn any beer into a nitro beer. Called NitroBrew, the new device allows beer-lovers to even turn store-bought brews into a smooth, creamy nitrogen masterpiece.
To learn more about the NitroBrew, read the press release below.
New York, NY — NitroBrew, an innovative new technology that nitrogenates any beer at the point of service, is now available to craft beer fans and home brewers at http://nitrobrew.com/shop/. An ideal Father’s Day gift, NitroBrew is the first commercially available product designed to bring nitrogenating technology into the home, enabling beer lovers to nitrogenate store-bought brews and hobbyist beer brewers to create their own nitro-style brews from scratch. In under a minute, NitroBrew turns any home-brewed or bottled beer into a sensational, silky nitro-style beer masterpiece.
Nitro-style beers are rapidly gaining popularity among beer connoisseurs and foodies for their smooth mouthfeel and well-rounded flavor. The nitrogenated beverage trend has also crossed over into cold brew coffee, which NitroBrew can also be used to nitrogenate.
“The precise balance of nitrogen and carbon dioxide in a nitrogenated beer changes dramatically during transportation and storage. Whether it’s bottled or kegged, it’s impossible for a brewer to control the quality of a nitrogenated beer after it leaves the brewery,” said NitroBrew inventor and 25-year beer industry veteran Murthy Tata. “My colleagues and I developed NitroBrew to deliver a dependable mix of nitrogen and carbon dioxide with every pour at the point of service, whether it’s a bar, a restaurant or at home.”
Each NitroBrew kit includes a kettle, a discreet charging station and a small air compressor. NitroBrew is easy to use, easy to clean, compact and takes up little storage space.