Nitro beers are typically associated with Guinness but have been known to make its way into other forms of beers such as ales and IPA. The term “nitro” refers to the use of nitrogen instead of carbon dioxide as the primary agent of carbonation. Sam Adams has ventured into the nitro beer market before and it looks like they are doing it again. If you are a fan Guinness Draught and all the creamy aspects of the beer, you should give Sam Adams nitro beers a try.
Nitrogenated beers offer a greater complexity compared to ones that are carbonated with carbon dioxide. Because nitro beers have a fuller, creamer quality, they are typically reserved for chocolatey beers such as stouts. When it comes to drafts, the beer is forced through four tiny holes before it hits the glass. This produces the cascading effect on the sides of the glass and a rising liquid in the center to create the head of beer. Canned beers employ a special widget to release the nitrogen when opened.
Nitrogen does not always enhance the flavor of beers in a positive way. Sam Adams tested the method with about 100 different beers and found that with the Boston Lager the nitro treatment blows up the flavor profile rendering it most unappealing. After testing, Sam Adams created a lineup of three beers that will be part of their Nitro brand. Samuel Adams Nitro White Ale, Samuel Adams Nitro IPA and Samuel Adams Nitro Coffee Stout will be available in 16-ounce cans which actually hold 15-ounces of liquid. The extra ounce of space is reserved for the nitrogen widget.
There are special instructions on the can explaining how to pour the beer into a glass. The most notable difference is the recommendation of the hard pour. Instead of tilting your glass at a 45 degree angle to minimize foaming, it says to pour the beer straight down the middle from the top to enhance the cascading effects.