Suggest a beer on nitro and the mind’s eye will likely turn to a stout or porter.
The gas is synonymous with darker, roast-forward styles more than others in the spectrum of beer, and this is for good reason.
On the Drink Beer, Think Beer podcast Gary Glass, the head brewer of Left Hand Brewery, unpacks the mysteries and appeal of nitro pours.
The brewery, which is famous for its nitro milk stout and pioneered the technology that allowed for nitro pours at home without a widget, is constantly tinkering with beers that could receive the good gas treatment.
“It is a real challenge to come up with new beers that work on nitro,” says Glass. “Stout is an obvious one, but getting beyond dark, roasty beers, it’s hard to nail down things that work.”
“You have to understand that carbon dioxide is an ingredient, it changes the flavor of the beer, you’re adding carbonic acid. And when you take that away it just it does not taste the same. It doesn’t have that that brightness and the experience of the bubbles on your tongue.
I think it’s really important with something that’s bitter and hoppy to have that CO2 that goes with it. When you take that away, you’re taking away a really important ingredient.
So, I don’t think IPAs work particularly well on Nitro.
I have yet to have one that I thought was great. And I know Left Hand is has dabbled in it in the past. And I don’t think we’ve ever found something that really worked. I would never say never, because hopefully we will figure it out.”