Hey Ho, Nitro!

Guinness, a nitro pushed Irish stout, has a rich creamy texture that becomes a staple this time of year. But what exactly makes it feel that way? Surprisingly, it has a lot to do with the way it’s poured and you don’t have to travel overseas for the experience.

Nitro beers have primarily nitrogen pushing the beer through tap lines, while other beers rely on mostly CO2. It’s believed that nitro beer was created to emulate cask beer which is unpasteurized, unfiltered and naturally sugar carbonated. Cask ales offer a smoother, more subtle drinking experience than force carbonated keg beer. CO2 can produce a sharp bite and is very active, making the experience aroma forward while a nitrogen poured beer will deliver subtle aromatics and deeper flavors in a silky smooth body.

Long Island brewers have now begun to distribute some of their beer with nitrogen added. This year, to compete with the black inky stuff from Dublin, Long Ireland Beer Company has released their 4.8 percent ABV Hooligan Stout. This beer has an enthralling cascade as it settles in the glass with notes of coffee, chocolate and roasted grain swirling over the palate. Blue Point Brewing Company, now owned by Budweiser parent corporation ABInbev, has also gotten in on the nitro game with their fluffy and rich Armchair Nitro Stout. Breaking from the stout trend is Ice Breaka Winter Warmer, a spiced and fittingly warming winter seasonal from Port Jeff Brewing Company.

Most area bars will be pouring Guinness if you want to try a nitro beer this St. Patrick’s Day. However, we have a couple suggestions if you want to sample something local or different from the norm. BBD’s in Rocky Point has one of the best nitrogen pushed line ups going right now. If you are in Nassau check out the Black Sheep Ale House not only for their nitro lines but also hand pumped cask ale. This year instead of reaching for a beer dyed green or that old Irish standard go for something produced here or expertly poured at a Long Island pub. Sláinte!