New York City. Home of Brooklyn Brewery, Good Beer and McSorley’s Old Ale House. So why, as a craft beer enthusiast, did I drink a near year-old Kolsch (not on purpose) and a Guinness when I was sitting in essentially a king’s throne at a Yankees game?
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.
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.
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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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.
What’s the first rule of the Internet? Don’t invite someone you meet online over to your house. Okay, I broke the first rule of the Internet. And since he didn’t kill me, and my wife somehow didn’t kill me, my Mom will surely kill me if she reads this post. But I’ll die a happy man because I made new friends and drank PLINY this weekend!! All this is explained in detail below.
Offline Meets Online
In the beginning…
Over the last few months a connection between Bryan, Oliver and I had formed. Having Twitter open all day at work was probably the cause of this. During this time we’ve had numerous blog posts mentioning each other and always talked about having a meet-up. When I got the thumbs up to host this month’s Beer Club at the Buffalo Wing Factory, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to have one. I asked Oliver to host and invited Bryan to join who made the long 6+ hour trek up to where I am in Virginia to stay with me.
Let me take this chance to apologize to Oliver. Over the past several weeks he’s received at least three emails a day from me talking about Beer Club and my worries about everything related to it. But after way too many emails, phone calls and lots of daytime GChat conversations, we finalized our outline and ended up getting nearly 4x the amount of people that came to the last Beer Club.
Beer Club consisted of five rounds of two beers, tasted blindly, each paired with a talking topic, small course and trivia question for the 23 attendees.
- Beers: Three Brothers Great Outdoors Pale Ale and Ommegang Scythe and Sickle
- Food Pairing: Blacked chicken and bacon salad with a peppery Parmesan dressing
- Topic: American vs. Belgian Brewing
- Trivia Question: Traditionally, in what kind of building was Belgium beer brewed?
- Beers: Flying Dog Dogtoberfest and Starr Hill Boxcarr Pumpkin Porter
- Food Pairing: Kerrygold Dubliner cheese
- Topic: Seasonal beers
- Trivia Question: What state is the Great American Beer Fest held in?
- Beers: Natty Greene’s Buckshot Amber Ale and Anchor BigLeaf Maple Autumn Amber
- Food Pairing: Spicy Honey BBQ Buffalo Bites
- Topic: How beer gets its color and SRM
- Trivia Question: What ingredient gives beer its color?
- Beers: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale and Great Lakes Nosferatu
- Food Pairing: Mushroom and Swiss burger slider
- Topic: How beer gets its alcohol
- Trivia Question: True/False – Alcohol is an ingredient in beer?
- Beers: Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout and Guinness
- Food Pairing: Vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup
- Topic: How and why Nitrogen is used in pouring beer
- Trivia Question: What other beer is typically poured using Nitrogen? A) Sierra Nevada Pale Ale B) Sam Adams Boston Lager C) Fosters: Australian for Beer D) Boddingtons
Our winner, who got all the blind tastings and trivia correct and had to win in an extra trivia tiebreaker round was Jason, a longtime Twitter follower. Nice job, man! Jason, Scott, David, Larry, Mike, Tim, Mark, Colleen, and the other first-time Beer Club goers I really hope to have you back! Fingers crossed, I’ll be hosting another one in December or January where we’ll be drinking all the winter seasonals.
Thanks, Oliver for all the Beer Club pictures!
Here’s a quick Pliny overview if you don’t know what (or who) it is. Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist who was the first guy to write about hops. He died on his ship trying to save a friend of the family in Pompeii after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Some 2,000 years later, Pliny the Elder is one of the most sought after beers in the world. BeerAdvocate has it as #3 (with Pliny the Younger at #2) overall. It’s brewed by California’s Russian River Brewing Company and is nearly impossible to find on the East Coast.
Drinking Pliny the Elder is on my Impossible List, a list of challenges I work to accomplish everyday. My friend Dan invited me to a local wine and craft beer bar where he presented me with the allusive beverage. I can’t think of a way to repay him for this.
Anything with hype like Pliny usually doesn’t live up to their expectations. I knew going in that this beer wasn’t curing any diseases or giving me superpowers. Nonetheless, it’s a pretty damn good beer. I’m not even the biggest IPA fan and Pliny, a DIPA, went down so easily for me. It’s very florally with some citrus notes and not overpowering at all at 8% ABV. It’s a beer that I say you need to try at least once even if you can’t get it less than three weeks after bottling like Dan did.
We also tasted Russian River’s Blind Pig, an IPA, which also gets splendid remarks from drinkers. It wasn’t nearly as good as Pliny the Elder though. Dan nailed it when he called it a “Diet Pliny.”
Regardless, I had a wonderful time. The empty bottle of Pliny the Elder is ready to be proudly showed off in my man room. The next day while I spent 5+ hours staining my deck, all I was thinking about was Pliny.
Next to check off my Impossible List is the Cicerone Certified Beer Server Exam. I’ will have this done by the end of November. If I don’t I want to make a vow that I’m not allowed to drink any beer until I do. I took a practice test and it looks like I still have some work to do with some off-flavors and my styles. Any help, resources or insight would be much appreciated.
What’s on your mind? Have you met online beer-friends before? What was your experience with Pliny the Elder? Any help you can give me with the test?