Our Innovation this month results from a combination of passion, experience and science.
Meet Murthy Tata, Ph.D. During the 1990s, while working as a product development specialist for what was then Miller Brewing, Tata fell in love with nitrogenated beers. In 1997, he developed a process allowing Leinenkugel to sell a kegged nitro beer called Creamy Draft. But he noticed that nitro beers often would taste different from place to place, partially because nitrogen is sensitive to variations in temperature, pressure and changes in gas composition.
That’s why Tata created NitroBrew, an on-site device that turns any style of beer—from Stouts to Pilsners—into a nitrogenated brew within moments, giving it the rich, creamy head and silky mouthfeel of a beer poured right off a nitro tap.
The NitroBrew system has just two components, a small charging station and a covered, stainless steel pitcher, or kettle. The beer is poured into the kettle, which is then plugged into the charging station that’s attached to a gas supply: nitrogen or a simple natural air compressor. After about 90 seconds, the beer is infused with nitrogen, carbonation is reduced, and it’s ready to serve. The bartender simply needs to move the beer around in the kettle for a few seconds to further incorporate the gas before pouring it slowly into a waiting glass. It will pour the way a good nitro beer should, with beautiful bubbles moving up the sides of the glass to form a thick, meringue-like collar. Bartenders can also change the beer’s flavor by adding essences like juniper berry, orange, ginger or even rose.
The NitroBrew system can be used again and again, and one charging unit can accommodate up to six of the kettles. ■