Power Hour: Nitro Beers

Power Hour is a new segment where I will spend exactly one hour answering a question or writing about a topic. It can be on beer, writing, myself, anything. You can submit a question anytime by leaving it at the bottom of a post or sending it privately to me here.

Start the clock! It’s time for another Power Hour. In one hour I will answer a question/write about a topic and post it. Questions about what? Anything. I’ll stick to beer for the most part but I’m game to answer any questions you have on life, writing, video, etc.

What are Nitro Beers?

When kegged beer is poured from a tap it is carbonated on the spot through CO2. This is true for 99% of kegged beer (the typical beer you get off a tap at a bar). However, N2 or Nitrogated beer (Nitro beer) is starting to grow in popularity. Instead of CO2 the beer is carbonated with N2. The most famous Nitro beer is Guinness. Nitro beers are much creamier and have less of a bite to them. They coat your mouth leaving you wanting more. You can usually spot the Nitrogen taps by the downward-facing black plastic (I think plastic) nozzle the beer flows from instead of the angled metal tap head.

What I enjoy about Nitro beers is that they are different from your typical ales. They aren’t quite at the level of Sours in terms of weirdness but it’s always fun to try something different. Heck, trying a Nitro beer might make for a good Beer Mission if you’ve never had one before.

My Nitro Beer History

Nitro beers typically are Stouts, but they don’t have to be. Stouts tend to be creamier to begin with so why not accentuate that attribute? Who wants a creamy pale ale?

That’s what I thought until last week when I had my first non-stout Nitro beer, Nitro Pale Ale by Founders at Glass Half Full. It was amazing. I never thought a light, hoppy beer would taste good with the consistency of a liquidy milkshake. Go find some!

Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout is another great one to try. If it wasn’t for my deep love and history with Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout I’d have to say Left Hand’s Nitro Milk Stout is my favorite Stout (and may be beer). At a beer club I hosted a few months ago this beer was very well received, even by non-dark beer lovers.

Speaking of Duck-Rabbit, did you know that if you look at their logo you can see a duck AND a rabbit? I didn’t know that until today and my mind was blown!

Nitro beers are growing so that Left Hand is trying to trademark the term. IMO it’s a term describing the beer, like a style or brewing method therefore it should be free to use by all. But playing devil’s advocate I don’t think another brewery could come along and brew a 60 Minute IPA even if they brewed it the same way as Dogfish Head.

A couple Nitro beers to try would be Guinness (of course), Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout and Founder’s Nitro Pale Ale. I have heard great things about Left Hand’s Wake Up Dead Imperial Stout Nitro but haven’t had a chance to try it out yet.

To sum up, Nitro beers use N2 to carbonate their beers instead of CO2. They are not beers you drink while watching professional wrestling. Wasn’t there something to do with Nitro and pro wrestling some time ago? Was it a show? That would be a lot funnier if I knew the reference. There are some great Nitro beers to try and they aren’t all Stouts. Nitro beers are growing at a fast rate and don’t be surprised to see more and more of them. Go seek out some Nitro beers!

As always these Power Hours are written, formatted and posted in one hour. That means I’m going to leave out a bunch of information. That’s where I need you! Share what you know about Nitro beers. What Nitro beers have you had that were good? Which ones were bad? What Power Hour topics do you want to see in the future?

Thanks as always for reading! I deeply appreciate any comment, like, share that you give this post or anything here on Short On Beer. If you’d like to never miss a new post or update you can subscribe to the email list at the bottom of this page. Cheers!

For more information on Nitro beers, Craftbeer.com has a good, quick writeup here.

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Power Hour: What is craft beer?

Power Hour is a new segment where I will spend exactly one hour answering a question. The question can be on beer, writing, myself, anything. You can submit a question anytime by leaving it at the bottom of a post or sending it privately to me here.

Start the clock! This is the first Power Hour. In one hour I will answer a question and post it. Questions about what? Anything. I’ll stick to beer for the most part but I’m game to answer any questions you have on life, writing, video, etc.

Why? Well as I wrote about earlier this week I’ve been having a hard time just writing and posting. It’s not writer’s block. Maybe it’s laziness. Who knows? Hopefully this will get the words flowing and help you out at the same time.

If you have any questions you want answered simply leave it below in the comments section or send it privately to me here.

One last comment before getting started. I could probably write thousands of words on an individual question but I’m limiting myself to one hour. 60 minutes. 3600 seconds. The rest is up to you. Help me answer these questions by filling in the gaps and leaving your thoughts in the comments section.

On with our first question and it’s a big one!

What is craft beer?

The first post I ever wrote on Short On Beer was about how I didn’t know what craft beer is. That was on a very Meta level. While I’m still figuring this out emotionally (mentally) I’ll try to answer this question with some facts.

The Brewers Association defines craft beer as, “An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional.” They go on to define small, independent and tradition. Cool. So what does that mean?

Simply put, craft beer is beer made by breweries that aren’t AB InBev (Bud), MillerCoors (Miller and Coors) or other large companies. Beer brewed by them is usually called macro beer.

This begs two questions. First, what is different about the beer? Second, what about the breweries owned by these large companies?

Side Note: I kinda feel like I’m on an episode of 24 trying to get all this done in one hour.

What is different about craft beer from macro beer?

Isn’t all beer brewed with water, hops, yeast and malt? True. However certain breweries (including some craft breweries) can add adjuncts (mainly corn) to their beers. They do this to lower production costs and “sweeten” beer.

Macro breweries are infamous for doing this. Craft breweries, for the most part, shy away from this method of brewing. Adjuncts are not healthy for you. It is filler. Think of McDonalds. How great does that Big Mac taste? That bun and other ingredients are loaded with fillers and those fillers taste good to your brain. The same happens with beer. Beers like Bud Light and jam-packed with these enhancers that trick our brains. We are indoctrinated into a world against bitter beer.

Craft beer is known for brewing with real ingredients. Drink better, live better.

Are breweries that are bought by macro beer companies still craft?

Yes and no.

Big beer companies continually try to acquire growing craft beer companies. Recently Blue Point from New York was acquired by AB InBev. Before that Boulevard from Kansas City was bought by Duvel. One of the more famous acquistions is Goose Island by AB InBev.

To me, it’s entirely up to you whether or not you still want to consider these breweries as craft breweries. I have visited Blue Point before and after the “takeover” and it was still the same people, in the same tiny dark tasting room, pouring the same beers.

It took me awhile to start drinking Goose Island as I labeled them a craft beer enemy. I had my first BCBS recently. 5 stars, for sure. I’d trade organs to get more.

Time for writing is just about up! I have a ton more to say, and I’m sure I’ll add some thoughts in the comments section but there is only a few minutes to get this online and formatted to make the one hour deadline. Heck, I thought of this at 2:50pm today and look what’s we’ve made. This has been a blast! I hope to keep doing this…let’s say once a week? How does that sound?

What do you think about Power Hour? Good idea? Do you have any questions you want me to answer?

Lastly, I want to know what you think craft beer is. Share your thoughts below!

I hope you enjoyed Power Hour. Make sure to sign up to receive email updates at the bottom of this page so you never miss anything on Short On Beer!