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North Phoenix brewery rolls out nitrogen beer system for AZ Beer Week

PHOENIX — It’s Arizona Beer Week and one brewery in North Phoenix has a whole new way of serving up their brews.

North Mountain Brewing Company near 7th Street and Dunlap is the first in Arizona to try a new product called NitroBrew.

“We put (the beer) in this little can, we charge it with nitrogen and it replaces a lot of the carbon dioxide with nitrogen bubbles,” said Rob Berkner, the owner and head brewer.

That has a unique effect on the beer by giving it a smoother and creamier taste Berkner said.

Adding nitrogen to beer is not a new thing. Companies such as Guinness are well known for producing nitrogen beers; however, having a system that allows a brewery to add nitrogen to any beer on tap in small quantities and then serve it at a customer’s table is new.

“We can serve it right in front of you and that way you get the cascading effect,” he said. “It’s really visually stimulating or what I’ve termed, the ‘lava lamp’ of the beer world.”

The canisters the beer is placed in look similar to steel coffee pots and have a black cylinder on the lid. After a beer is poured inside and the lid is fixed, the cylinder on top is connected to a line that feeds in the nitrogen, Berkner said.

“You push it in, you push the button and it feeds the nitrogen in,” he said. “Then you have to shake it around a little bit and it is ready to serve in about 30 seconds.”

What comes out is a lathery foam that fills the entire glass and as it begins to settle it turns back into liquid that is ready to be consumed.

The company that invented and sells the NitroBrew system is based in Chandler and is currently working to continue to gain new clients.

Berkner said he has been experimenting with the system for the past few weeks and as part of Arizona Beer Week decided to finally roll it out to customers.

Producing nitrogen beers is not a cheap endeavor and even the relatively simple and small NitroBrew system is an investment of more than $1,000 for Berkner and the North Mountain.

However, Berkner said it does put his brewery in a unique position within the growing craft beer marketplace in Arizona and helps provide his customers with a unique drinking experience.

“It’s definitely about stepping out and having fun and trying new things, and seeing what people react to,” he said. “Anything that you can do right now that sets you apart and gives you a creative edge, it’s definitely a good thing.”