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An American Nitro Stout

An American Nitro Stout

February 21, 2012 1

Left Hand Brewing has decided to take America back – one pour at a time. They want United States beer drinkers to declare independence from imported stouts. After 2 ½ years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in R&D, Left Hand Brewing Company debuted in a bottle to over a thousand people, & the world, on the 37th Floor of the Grand Hyatt during the opening night of the Great American Beer Festival, September 29th, 2011. But they weren’t just satisfied with one party in Denver.  They are taking it the streets to bring this beer to your town.

“We’ve had solid success with Milk Stout Nitro on draught, so we thought we would give our fans the option to take it home, too”, said Mark Sample, Left Hand Brewing Company’s Production Manager, and one of the brains behind the project.

“Customers have really taken to Milk Stout on nitro. They’ve supported us around the country in bars & restaurants – psyched to have a nitro stout that’s made right here in the US,” said Chris Lennert, VP of Operations for the brewery. “Now we’re happy to offer Milk Stout Nitro in 6pks for them to take home.”

Dark & delicious, this beer will change your perception about what a stout can be. Pouring hard out of the bottle, Milk Stout Nitro cascades beautifully, building a tight, thick head like hard whipped cream. The aroma is of brown sugar and vanilla cream, with hints of roasted coffee. The pillowy head coats your upper lip and its creaminess entices your pallet. Initial roasty, mocha flavors rise up, with slight hop & roast bitterness in the finish. The rest is pure bliss of milk chocolate fullness.

Now that the folks at Left Hand have started rolling out the beer nationally, arriving soon in Boston, Arizona and who knows where next?  Certainly it will be coming to your town soon.

So far the beer has only been released in Colorado, Illinois and Texas but already the beer drinkers are lining up to sample and purchase this beer.  There is no reason not to expect other states to embrace this beer as quickly as the first three did.

We had the opportunity to get several questions answered from the folks at Left Hand including the proper method of pouring this beer to ensure that we get exactly the creamy goodness we want.  Here is some information from our Q & A session.

Q: Where do you get your nitrogen?
A: We use only local, organic nitrogen that has not been fed any GMOs.

Q: Do you use a special bottle?
A: The bottle is specifically designed to release the beer as you empty it.

Q: What does the n2 do for you?
A: Nitrogen forms small densely packed bubbles which create a beautiful head on beer. Nitrogen bubbles are also less resistant to breakage in the atmosphere, because our atmosphere is mostly nitrogen. This lends itself to long lasting, visually stimulating head.

Q: Why does it cascade?
A: It is due to the friction on the side of the glass. The bubbles on the side of the glass have to fight with the friction of the glass surface. The bubbles in the center rush up the middle and then get pushed to the side by the bubbles behind them. This causes a downward flow on the sides of the glass as they cannot flow up they flow down into the center and out.

Q: What made you decide to do this?
A: Our Milk Stout Nitro bottle is designed to replicate our draught product that has been so successful. We love drinking our beer in our bars and restaurants, but wanted people to have that same experience at home.

Q: When do you add the nitrogen?
A: It starts in the brewhouse with designing the beer. We also take specific steps during fermentation, filtration and packaging to end up with the nitrogenated beer.

Q: How do you get the nitrogen into the beer?
A: Very carefully with tiny tweezers. (Editor’s Note – I think this is their way of saying that this is a proprietary method and it is none of our business, just be happy the nitrogen gets in there…but I may be reading too much into that.)

Q: Why don’t you use a widget?
A: We found that due to the unique physical properties of our Milk Stout, the development of a widget would be an unnecessary waste of millions of pounds, er… dollars.

Q: Why is it necessary to “pour hard?”
A: In order to force the nitrogen out of solution in the beer to create the desired head. This is similar to using a restrictor plate on a draft nitro faucet.

Q: Whose idea was this?
A: It was a total team effort. It didn’t take long for the whole company to buy in as we strived to become the first craft brewery to put nitro beer in a bottle.

Q: What about regular (CO2) Milk Stout 6pks?
A: We will continue to brew and package Milk Stout 6pks. We have found that some customers prefer Milk Stout carbonated with CO2, which is more effervescent, where others prefer Milk Stout Nitro for its silky smooth creaminess. Why deny our fans either one?

There you go, straight from the horse’s mouth.  If you still have more questions about this first ever step for American craft beer, including “How to Pour the Perfect Pint”, go to www.milkstoutnitro.com. Otherwise, get out there and try the beer when it comes to your town.

Chuck Noll
Chuck_noll@yahoo.com
Cave Creek AZ
@beerphoria

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One Comment »

  1. Matt March 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Great interview with Left Hand regarding this mysterious brew. Thanks!

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