There has been a deliciously creamy boom in the micro brewing industry, and it’s all thanks to the Fast and the Furious movie franchise. In those piston-pumping, tire-screeching masterpieces, nitrous-boosts fueled the heroes to victory and ushered in a new era of nitrogen-based brewing.
I’m kidding. Paul Walker has as much influence in nitro brewing as I have in international diplomacy relations.
The majority of beers are brewed and pressured with carbon dioxide, giving the beer it’s sharp and crisp taste. When a beer “goes nitro,” nitrogen is substituted for carbon dioxide in the carbonation process, affecting the overall flavor and balance of the beer. Brewers use nitro to create a creamy, full bodied product with an enhanced fruit bouquet and a thicker head.
The bulk of nitro beers on the market fall into the Stout and Russian Imperial Stout categories. The thick flavor of stouts lends itself well to nitro brewing and pouring, as the flavors in the beer begin to blossom with that extra nitro kick.
Perhaps the most well known example of a main stream nitro beer is Guinness. The famous stout is identified by its thick, creamy head, and its unique pouring process. To pour a Guinness, fill the pint halfway, letting the nitro bubbles settle, then pour the rest of the pint.
The popularity of Guinness and the complexity that nitro delivers has inspired micro breweries across the country to brew their own batches. Here are a handful of breweries that are going Paul Walker with nitrogen.
The folks at Left Hand Brewery have improved an already delicious Milk Stout by adding nitro. But they haven’t stopped there, recently adding the Wake Up Dead Nitro and Sawtooth Nitro to their arsenal.
Berkshire Brewing Company has released five different nitro beers, with the Coffeehouse Porter being on tap year-round. The brewery is also working at giving some of their other beers the nitro treatment, so stay tuned to see what they will offer on tap at their location and around the country.
Sierra Nevada dipped its toes into the nitro end of the pool, creating Knightro Stout with plenty of good feedback. It was only brewed once, but its popularity might prompt Sierra Nevada to create more nitro beers.
Sixpoint Brewery has a limited release of Otis Stout, an oatmeal stout that uses a nitro pour to give it a creamy texture.
Yards Brewing Company in Philadelphia uses a nitro pour for its Love Stout. The dark, chocolaty, malt heavy beer has the creamy head that nitro beer enthusiasts are looking for.
The “Double B” recently introduced a nitrogen version of its popular Vanilla Porter, making the already smooth beer go down like pure velvet.