What’s the go with Nitro?

Now it’s no secret that I’m a big, big fan of Parallel 49 Brewing Company, specifically their Ugly Sweater Milk Stout.  In fact thanks to an awesome friend who let me take a sip of his drink last winter at the Alibi Room, that was the stout that made me start drinking stouts.   Enter the N2 Milk Stout.  Hang on, it’s nitrogenated?  Excuse me for going all girly but this sounds vaguely like something out of The Fast and the Furious… Are we super charging our beers now? I had to find out and Graham With, the head brewer at Parallel 49 who also led the R&D team in developing their N2 series graciously filled me in with the story of their goods.  


Parallel 49 N2 Milk Stout

BB: Nitrogenated beers, it seems like a new “trendy” thing but the method has been around for a while hasn’t it?

Nitrogen beers have been around for at least a few decades as I can tell. Guinness is the most well known for having their beer nitrogenated.  The idea is to recreate the effect of cask beer in a more manageable way. The nitrogen gives a creamy texture to the beer while giving less prickly bite that carbonated beers have.


(Graham also suggests reading this article from the Brewers Association that discusses Nitrogen beers here.)


BB:  What are the advantages of nitrogenation rather than carbonation? 
The biggest advantage to nitrogen is changing the mouthfeel of a beer. It also helps to avoid some of the fizziness that some consumers dislike when is comes to beer. Nitrogen beers will tend to make you less “burpy”.  (BB: Note to men out there, we like less burpy!)


BB:  Does it change the taste of the beer?
It changes the mouthfeel of a beer which is a critical component of the taste of a beer. It leads to a creamy, sometimes velvety, mouthfeel without the carbonated bite.  Since less carbonation is leaving the beer, aroma can seem a bit muted as opposed to a carbonated beer. For our nitrogen beers, we try to make up for the lower aroma by increasing the amount of flavour in the beer.


BB:  Can all beers be nitrogenated?  
Any beer can be nitrogenated but certain styles would suffer from the effects of nitrogen. Most Belgian styles of beers are higher in carbonation to lift all the heavy esters off of the consumers tongue. If these beers were produced as a nitrogen beer, they would end up feeling pretty heavy on the palate.

Video courtesy of beermebc.com

BB:  Over the weekend my friend was drinking your N2 Series Milk Stout and awkwardly demonstrated the “proper” way to pour it.  Is there a special method to pouring a nitrogenated beer from a bottle?
We are a unique product, which is a nitrogen beer that is packaged in a bottle.  In order to have the big creamy head and cascading bubbles that are characteristic of nitrogen beers, the bottle is fully inverted and poured vigorously into the glass. This helps all the dissolved gases dissipate out of the beers and form the thick, dense head.


BB:  Do you have any more N2 series planned?
We have recently launched our second beer in the N2 series. It is our N2 ESB (Extra Special Bitter) and is Pacific Northwest take on the English Bitters drank in the historic pubs of England.


Parallel 49 N2 E.S.B

Parallel 49 N2 E.S.B

Want to learn more about Parallel 49 and their nitrogen beers?  Why don’t you head over to Parallel 49’s tasting room at their brewery and you can taste the newest member of their N2 series, the E.S.B.  Note:  The N2 Series Milk Stout and E.S.B are now available at speciality and BC Liquor stores.  For a complete list of stockists click on the 49 finder on Parallel 49 Brewing Co website.


If you happen to get your hands on a bottle of the sweet stuff, fear not, the pouring instructions are on the side of the bottle.  Await and behold the cascading, bubbling beauty my friends!



 Parallel 49 Brewing Co

   1946 Triumph St
   Vancouver, BC V5L 1K5
  Open from Noon – 9pm Sunday through Wednesday, Noon – 11pm Thursday through Saturday

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *