Ask Mr. Wizard

Beers dispensed with nitrogen


Kevin Keehn • Laguna Hills, California asks,

I’d like your thoughts on beers dispensed with nitrogen. I get in frequent arguments with members of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale). The latest controversy is in regard to nitrogen. I quote, “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.” I’ve had some beers dispensed with nitrogen in the Pacific Northwest that I thought were fantastic. Dry hopped, probably not pasteurized. Is there a scientific explanation to why nitrogen removes aroma, flavor? Or, are these people just ill informed?

  Wizard relies: Although I have been known to do my fair share of trash talking, I tend to avoid jabbing with groups that are vigorous in their support of brewing tradition.
Response by Ashton Lewis.