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    Friday, 11 April 2008

    What I Detest About Nitrokeg


    Of course I prefer my beer to be dispensed by handpump (without sparkler) or straight from the barrel with the assistance of good old fashioned gravity. This is natural beer served naturally. Adding gas to a beer is unnatural and unnecessary. It does nothing for the taste and even less for the aroma if that matters to you. Carbon Dioxide is bad enough, nitrogen is much worse.

    The biggest bugbear for me though is how long it takes to pour a bloody pint. I haven't done a scientific time trial but I will guarantee it takes less than a quarter of the time to pull my foaming pint of real ale than it does for Mr Old Duffer's pint of Extra Creamy Smooth to arrive. Waiting for my pint is bad enough at the best of times but when the delay is being caused by waiting for some crappy flavourless nonsense to be poured, I'm even more agitated.

    Still, I'm off to Coventry Beer Festival tomorrow. No gas there (except plentiful flatulence).

    11 comments:

    Whorst said...

    I've drank many beers that were dispensed with nitrogen that were amazing. Of course, these beers weren't John Smiths Smooth. If John Smiths actually used hops instead of newspaper, it might taste like something.

    If you ever come to the West Coast, let me know.

    Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

    I cant agree more, nitro is the best way to hide any aroma or flavour your pint might have.

    Whorst said...

    This will be a good debate. Explain to me the physics of how nitrogen hides aroma and/or flavour from a beer. Surely your experience is limited to John Smiths Smooth, Boddingtons, etc. Basically filtered, bland, English beers.

    Paul Garrard said...

    A couple of weeks ago I 'enjoyed' two pints of a Nitro-keg bitter. It was in an Indian restaurant in Bury(SE) with a curry. It was either that or lager. It actually worked better with the spicy food than lager does!

    Stonch said...

    This is another debate I can't engage in, because I haven't set foot in a pub that actually serves nitrokeg bitter for so long.

    It seems to me that the market for smoothflow bitters is largely restricted to Working Man's Clubs and "Fosters 'n' Footy" pubs these days - and at the rate those are closing, it seems the days of shaving foam heads might be limited...

    maeib said...

    I am not a scientist so cannot explain the physics, and it is true to say that British nitrokeg beers are shockingly bad. I would put Guinness and its bretheren in that category. None of these beers has any aroma to speak of.

    I spent today serving Greene King IPA Smooth at my wife's Nan's wake. If people were miserable when they arrived that beer should have made things even worse.

    Whorst said...

    The thing to mention here is that I've never drank a beer that tastes like John Smiths Smooth. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of shit lager to be found in my neck of the woods, that's equally as horrible. But, for one, JSS is filtered, pasteurized, and LACKS anything resembling hop aroma, flavor, or bitterness for that matter. Take that same wort and use copious amounts of luscious English hop varieties and just filter it without the pasteurization and you'll have something that tastes day and night to the original. My point is simple. Make a shit beer, and it doesn't matter what the dispense method is. My guess is that JSS is probably cheap to make. They probably use sugar as a malt stretcher and there's also probably other adjuncts used. Is the cask version really any better? I don't think so.

    Paul Garrard said...

    "because I haven't set foot in a pub that actually serves nitrokeg bitter for so long" - Really Stonch? The stuff is fairly ubiquitous in most pubs you go into these days, even those selling well kept real ale.

    Stonch said...

    Paul, not where I live - nitrokeg bitter is unheard of in pubs I choose to drink in (note the emphasis!). I'm not denying plenty of pubs still have it - I'm just suggesting that they're usually shitholes, and I don't drink in shitholes - Wetherspoons' alcohol outlets being a case in point.

    Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

    Whorst the thick head does do a good job of inhibiting volatiles from escaping the beer, it also does a good job of coating the palate making for a dulled 'smooth' drinking experience. Yes I'm sure there are some American beers that are packed with enougth character to cut through the nitro but really why dispense beer in a fashion that requires the flavours and aromas to struggle through?
    Some people love Nitro, fair enougth and good for them, but I would prefer it never came into contact with my beer. The worst is when a bar serves their beers under a nitro mix meaning everything becomes dulled and smooth.

    Richard said...

    Up wher I live - West/North yorskhire border we have several Sam Smiths pubs; and I believe there's a few in London, Cheshire Cheese, in Fleet St for one. Anyway, I met a mate at one I'd note been to before a few months back, and there was a pint of foaming bitter already waiting for me. It wasn't until I there a few weeks later and got there first that I realised it was from an electric pump. I'm pretty sure it wasn't a Creamflow-style dispense, and I'm not entirely sure of the difference other than it was a superb pint. That doesn't mean to say I'd go anywhere near the John Smiths/Boddingtons type muck.