In the beginning, the concept of craft beer was just plain confusing.
“You want to make something other than a lager?”, they said. “You’re planning on adding all of those hops?”, they scoffed.
As the industry gradually found its footing, new phases and trends started to emerge. For awhile, the majority of beer drinkers had no idea what the combined letters of I.P.A. stood for, but they eagerly ordered ‘em up at their local watering hole. Then the industry entered a funky Sour phase that challenged brewers’ creativity— along with the stomach lining of craft beer consumers. And somewhere in between the introduction of the double dry-hopped IPA, and the inception of Crooked Stave, the first nitrogenated beer was born.
The “nitro” in nitrogenated beer refers to the type of gas used in the carbonation process. Most beers are carbonated with a dominating percentage of carbon dioxide, which creates those mesmerizing bubbles that dance up the sides of the glass filled with your favorite pilsner. Introducing more nitrogen in the carbonation process creates a smooth and velvety texture with a distinctly creamy head.
The nitro beer trend had a pretty quiet start, but has since gained an avid following and appreciation— thanks in part to the innovative folks at Left Hand Brewing Co. In 2011, after years of experimenting and producing nitrogenated beers, Left Hand made a push in total nitro beer domination by becoming the first American brewery, and first craft brewery, to bottle a nitro beer without the use of a widget, making the beer style more accessible to craft beer drinkers outside of the tap room. The brewery’s popular Milk Stout Nitro has been charming palates out of the tap and from a bottle ever since.
This Saturday, November 15th, Left Hand is throwing a big bash at their brewery to not only celebrate the art and advancement of nitro beers, but to also celebrate their milestone twenty-first birthday. Just like any twenty-first b-day bash, Left Hand is busting out all of the stops and if you haven’t already snagged a ticket to this event, here are five reasons that you should probably stop what you’re doing now, and get on Left Hand’s Nitro Fest/21st Birthday guest list today.
1.) Twenty-first birthdays are a time to go all out and get a little crazy, and Left Hand’s big birthday bash is no exception. If you’re a guest at the big party this weekend, expect to taste 21+ exclusive nitro beers from some of the top breweries across the country. And of course, what birthday party isn’t complete without circus acts like fire spinning, aerial acts, juggling, contortionists, and burlesque? And with any good party, expect to hear live music and to be fed tasty hors d’oeuvres from Haystack Goat Cheese, Frontiere Natural Meats, and Happy Cakes Bakery.
2.) Nitro Fest is the first beer fest of it’s kind, making the event the place to find the most diverse array of nitro beers in one place at one time. If you’re a fan of nitro beers— this is definitely the event for you.
3.) Left Hand brought home some serious hardware from this year’s Great American Beer Festival, earning silver medals for their Milk Stout and Black Jack Porter, which they’ll be serving nitro versions of at the fest, along with Sawtooth Nitro, Wake Up Dead Nitro, Safety Round, and the smooth, coffee-centric specialty brew— Beer Week Sauce.
4.) If the craft beer industry had an actual dress code, it’d be flannel shirts and bushy beards. But Left Hand is twenty-one now, so they’re making their big bash a swanky affair. Cocktail attire is requested and guests are encouraged to “dress to impress”. So this is your chance to say “you clean up nicely!” to all of your favorite craft beer friends.
5.) These five words: “Free Beer For a Year”. If you’re not planning on dressing in cocktail attire, you better be planning on dressing like one of Left Hand’s beer labels for the event. If you do, and your beer-label costume is selected as the winner, your winnings will be the sweet, sweet taste of beer for a year. That’s beer for a whole year, people. (Get some inspiration for your creative costume here: http://lefthandbrewing.com/beers/.)