Trendy Nitro beer emerging as beer industry’s new frontier

By @diplomatist10 on
Men drinking beer
Men drink beer at a restaurant in Hanoi July 20, 2009. Reuters/Kham

The quest of all brewers to showcase new frontiers in beer to satisfy change-seeking beer drinkers has the answer in trendy nitro beer. Unlike the common place beers that ooze out carbon dioxide as the fizz, nitro beer, as the name suggests, has nitrogen for the fizz with its smaller bubbles for a creamier beer.

Transformative beer

“Changing from carbon dioxide to nitrogen is absolutely transformative,” noted Jim Koch, founder of Samuel Adams beer and chairman of Boston Beer Company.

“The two will give you different flavors. It is a much more dramatic change in flavor than changing the hop variety," he vouched.

What adds to the thrill of sipping Nitro beer is its challenge and complexity in bottling. So, drinkers can take it from the tap. By now beer drinkers are familiar with cans and bottles that use plastic nitro widgets to release gas as the beer gets opened with a thunderous hissing sound.

New line of Nitro beers

Very soon a fascinating line of nitro beers is being unveiled by Samuel Adams, by early 2016, reports CNBC. The new variants will include white ale on draft and hoppy IPA, coffee and stout. They will be released in cans that are enabled with nitro widgets. The distribution is expected to begin in February.

Samuel Adams played with hundreds of different recipes before finalising three variants. It made big investments in the infrastructure to support the new nitro line, Koch added.

“We've had to put several million dollars of special equipment in just to fill these widget cans properly,” he said and added that it took two years and several million dollars to effect the changes to the canning line.

Soaring popularity

For the sophisticated beer lover, nitro beer’s bubbles create a cascading effect that is simply enchanting. That feeling was high in the air at the recently held Left Hand Brewing Nitro Fest in Longmont.

The highlight of the event was the beer list, which was amazingly diverse—with no monopoly for stouts and porters for a special nitro treatment. There was great variety - blood orange ale, kriek, dunkel weiss, Belgian dark strong, winter ale, red ale and plenty of IPAs.  A glance of the list below will prove that.

  • Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
  • Boston Beer American Kriek
  • Dark Horse Sarsaparilla 6
  • Deschutes Jubelale
  • DogFish Head 90 Minute
  • Empyrean Carpe Brewem Barrel
  • Flying Dog Bloodline
  • Founders Oatmeal
  • Green Flash Ristretto Cosmic Black Lager
  • Lagunitas Hazelnut Cocoa
  • Left Hand Brewing Bittersweet
  • North Coast Old Rasputin Russian
  • Surly Coffee Bender American Brown

Nitro Fest just completed the second edition in 2015 November and is looking forward to the coming year. It is the only all-nitro beer festival in the US where an average 40 breweries and plenty of not so known beers fill up the event that is evolving fast.

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