You may remember last January when 4 Hands Brewing Company announced a new variant during its annual release of the Madagascar series of beers. New was Madagascar in 12-ounce cans on nitro. Now, a year later, the brewery is set to release a new nitro variant.
“Be on the lookout for cans of Madagascar Ceylon Cinnamon Nitro landing on store shelves this week,” said the brewery on Facebook this week.
So, while nitro beer is not new, it is something I did not know much about. I asked 4 Hands Brewing’s Kevin Lemp for a little Nitro 101 lesson.
Brewing With Nitro
In its simplest definition, most brewing of beer includes pumping carbon dioxide into sealed containers of beer. It’s called forced carbonation. It’s what gives beer its bubbles, its head, and, well makes it beer. But, if a brewer substitutes C2 with nitrogen, the beer becomes a “nitro” and gives the beer drinker an entirely different experience. Think Guinness. Think about how creamy and smooth it pours with that frothy head, and how it just seems to move in slow motion.
A typical nitrogenized beer contains about 70 percent nitrogen and 30 percent carbon dioxide.
“And that was the point. 4 Hands did not want to just introduce a new variance, but rather we prefer to create experiences,” said Lemp. “We took regular Madagascar, which is brewed with a painstaking process, and looked at how we could take the flagship and be innovative and creative. We wanted to offer our customers a point of difference.”
The nitro experience is often described as “poetic,” giving the drinker an almost romantic experience when freshly poured from a nitro tap.
“Madagascar, will now get that cascading effect, and now will be lush and velveting,” said Lemp.