Nitro Beer vs Cask Beer
The creamy mouthfeel and drinkability of cask and nitro beer is being sought out by craft beer fans across the country. The experiences that these beers create are interesting and unique, especially since they’re often only available for a few hours. Their are many similarities and differences between nitro and cask beer, but that’s makes them so intriguing to craft brewers and enthusiasts.
Matt Canter, Certified Cicerone® and member of the Anchor Brewing marketing team, recently took to the Anchor Brewing Blog to discuss the growing popularity of these two beer styles in “Nitro vs Cask: How Are They Different?”
“When a beer poured through a standard CO2 tap system is compared to the same beer served on a nitrogen system, you’ll have a much different sensory experience. The same thing can be said for nitro vs cask beers: aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, bitterness, and maltiness all shift.”
For Canter, the nuts and bolts of cask and nitrogenated beers comes down to two things: temperature and stability.
“Nitro beers are served at a colder temperature than cask beer, usually between 44 – 52°F, depending on a given establishment’s nitro setup. Sometimes a beer will be served slightly warmer, but not near the 55° you would expect from a cask. Finally, beers intended to be served on nitro can be shipped much more safely than casks, so you can find beers from regional and national brewers in your hometown that are served on nitro.”
“Cask beer is the more delicate of the two. A beer served from a cask is typically unfiltered and is carbonated from the same vessel it’s served from: the cask. That means that as soon as your local pub taps a cask, it’s really only good for about 48 hours because one of beer’s mortal enemies—oxygen—interacts with the beer right away and starts to affect the flavor. Cask beer can sometimes be perceived as “flat” due to the lack of CO2 in the process.”
For craft beer enthusiasts, homebrewers or beer beginners, the worlds of nitrogenated and cask beer presents many new experiences and opportunities to greater appreciate craft beer.
Ben Zeller is a homebrewer, beer and food enthusiast, certified beer server and is the current Craft Beer Program Intern for the Brewers Association. He is also a new father, skier and currently a student at MSUD, anticipating graduation this December. He hopes to learn as much as he can during his time with the BA and continue his career in the craft beer world.