Would you like some nitrogen with your beer? If you’re not sure, you’re probably not alone. Despite the many diverse roads America’s craft beer scene has led drinkers down, nitrogen beers are still a relative rarity—most often seen in Guinness. But Sam Adams is hoping that swapping the gas in their brews could be the next hot trend, releasing a line of nitro beers on draft and in specially designed cans.
Whether or not you like nitrogen beers, they certainly are different than your standard carbonated affair. To hear Sam Adams describe it, they talk about carbonation bubbles leading to “more pronounced acidity” and “texture.” Taste-wise, I often find nitro beers have similarities to cask ales because of this lack of carbonation bite, though the nitrogen still gives the beer a substantial head and creamy mouthfeel.
The lean toward creaminess is one of the reasons the best known nitro beers—such as Guinness and Left Hand Milk Stout—are stouts. That makes Sam Adams Nitro Coffee Stout probably the most obvious of their first three nitro offerings. The other two are a Nitro IPA and a Nitro White Ale. It also probably explains why, of Sam’s three introductory nitro beers, the Coffee Stout is the most drinker-friendly—though the Nitro IPA certainly isn’t bad and actually makes for a nice change of pace on the palate, which I guess is the whole point.