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.

TWIB – Makeshift Irish Car Bombs and $13 Beers

Happy 1st Birthday Short On Beer

Today, January 9th, marks the first birthday of this website. It’s been a wild ride. I recapped most of it’s milestones last week here. Thank you so much for continuing to visit and share on Short On Beer. On with this week’s TWIB…

Here’s to 2014

On New Year’s Eve I hosted a few friends for dinner and drinks. I’d like to point out that originally it was supposed to be just drinks. But The V, which we booked in early December because they didn’t have a set menu, called two days before and said they decided to have a (pricey) set menu. So we cancelled the reservation and with it being this close to the NYE everything was already booked. My friends Jeff and Meredith grilled us up some filet mignon and everything turned out okay.

New Year's Eve with My Friends

New Year’s Eve with My Friends (Photo Credit: Mitch Witte)

Filet mignon seemed like a perfect pairing for Adroit Theory Lux, a bourbon barrel-aged wheat wine I’d been saving for a couple months. Here’s what I can recall since I was a few beers in at this point. Lux was boozy. In fact, that’s the majority of what I can recall about the beer. Boozy. It wasn’t particularly carbonated. It had a murky brown color and was flat out boozy. This beer wasn’t for me but feel free to try it for yourself. 9% ABVers like Lux usually aren’t. The other beer I’ve had from Adroit Theory B/A/Y/S, an Imperial Stout, was also a 9% ABVer. This was also quite hard-hitting.

I drank Lux and smiled as always. I learned that trick downing cognac after cognac with my father-in-law even though I am now a huge fan. Pledging might have been a factor in this trait as well…

I was then feeling quite good after a couple more beers including Lost Rhino HopStar, which I wasn’t a fan of either. I decided it would be a good idea to make Irish car bombs. However there was no Guinness or Baileys. I can’t tell you why but everything always seems like a good idea at 1:00am. That’s why I’m usually asleep by 10:00pm. Using a Trader Joe’s Stockyard Oatmeal Stout, some generic Irish cream liquor I had in the back of my fridge and of course Jameson I concocted this evil. Learn from my mistakes — makeshift Irish car bombs are a bad, bad idea (AMIRIGHT, LBS??). I lived with a minor headache in the morning but wasn’t feeling up to drinking again until Sunday when I met the $13 beer.

The $13 beer and Walter Mitty

Sunday I went and saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Their bar, Glass Half Full, is one of the best places, and my favorite places, to find an interesting or rare craft beer near me. Their prices fall in line for the most part with other bars/restaurants in the area. You’ll be paying $6-8 for most of their beers, which I don’t mind. That’s average to slightly above average and it’s worth it because they are good people and serve fresh beer out of beer clean and the proper glasses. However their board doesn’t list prices. This isn’t really out of the ordinary either. So when I order a beer that’s $13, maybe a little warning would be nice? What made it worse was that Mrs. Short On Beer was with me so of course I’m momentarily scolded for the purchase (-1 beer credit for frivolous spending). I’m cool with paying $13 for a beer. Just give me a heads up before pouring it.

It’s okay though. The beer was worth every penny. It was a Hugh Malone by Allagash Brewing. Hugh Malone is a Belgian-Style IPA. It had a rich, golden color with a thin bright white airy head. There was a constant strain of bubbles that floated up from the center of the glass, at least until the lights when out in the theater. Very good beer even after the buttery popcorn wrecked my taste buds.

As far as the movie went, I recommend it. There are a lot of special effects and you don’t notice any of them. Awesome VFX work and cinematography. My favorite part was the music. It has a kick-ass soundtrack including a bunch of songs by Jose Gonzalez.

New Conversations with Beer Bloggers

Have you checked out the CBB from the other day? We met Brad Westmar from the Craft Brew Crew. Brad and I talked about making YouTube videos, St. Louis beer, Trader Joe’s and more. Check it out if you haven’t already.

On Monday night I was able to record the next CBB with Doug from Baltimore Bistros and Beer. I’ll have that one up for you early next week.

One of the coolest parts about CBB is actually getting to see and hear these beer bloggers. I have no idea how guys like Nick McCormac, Tom Aguero and Doug would look or sound. It’s a blast to connect with people from all across the country (maybe the world one day) just through an Internet connection and a love of beer.

How was your week in beer? Try anything new or have an exciting story? Leave it below!

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TWIB – “Finally’s”

This Week in Beer (TWIB) is a feature where I’ll highlight some craft beers I had during this past week mixed with some related (and unrelated) thoughts. Yes, it’s a play on the name of the show This Week in Baseball which I grew up on and loved.

This Week in Beer is all about “finally’s” — finally drinking some elusive beers and meeting a big influence in my beer journey.

Pinecones in a Glass

Finally, my first Stone Enjoy By IPA!

Finally, my first Stone Enjoy By IPA!

A few days ago I received a tweet saying,

Needless to say, days later I was sitting at Glass Half Full finally enjoying my very first Stone Enjoy By IPA. Since I’m in suburbian Northern Virginia, some 2,700 miles from the brewery in Escondido, CA that prides itself on delivering fresh beer, I’ve had a difficult time finding this beer. Incredibly, Glass Half Full had the Enjoy By 09.13.13 on tap. So I ordered one up and indeed enjoyed the piney-goodness. I guess I like eating pine cones more than Tom Aguero.

I’ll buy you a round the next time Glass Half Full has some if you haven’t had one yet. Maybe I’m a sucker for the hype but it’s a beer every beer-lover should have at least once.

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TWIB – Talking, Studying, Mailing and Drinking

This Week in Beer (TWIB) is a feature where I’ll highlight some craft beers I had during this past week mixed with some related (and unrelated) thoughts. Yes, it’s a play on the name of the show This Week in Baseball which I grew up on and loved.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted a TWIB but that doesn’t mean craft beer has been quiet. Here are some recent happenings to me, my blog and the beer world.

I’m a Glass Half Full Kinda Guy

I finally got to sit down for a few pints at Glass Half Full Taproom in Ashburn, Virginia. It is a small bar inside the new Alamo Drafthouse movie theater. No movie ticket is required to enter and the bar is well worth going to even if you aren’t planning on seeing a movie. It has about 15-20 barstools and ten or so tables surrounded by a rugged wood decor.  The staff is highly knowledgeable about their beer. They have 32 taps of which most rotate regularly.
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