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Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro

Where in Town: Magruder’s, 5626 Connecticut Ave. NW

Price: $12.49 for a six-pack

Game On

I’ve spent a lot of time playing arcade racing games, so when I saw my first beer “on nitro,” I thought it would be more intense like a nitro-supercharged engine. Just the opposite. Without going into the chemical physics of solubility and gas diffusion, let’s just say that nitrogen has a silkifying effect on beer. Nitrogenated brews, as opposed to carbonated ones, have a softer mouthfeel, taste less acidic, and boast a creamier, more stable head. Beermakers in the British Isles have been using nitrogen for almost 100 years and started putting it in six-packs via plastic gas-filled “widgets” in the 1980s (like the ball in a can of Guinness). In a feat of science, Colorado’s Left Hand Brewing has figured out how to bottle with nitrogen without a widget. Beer magic!

Smooth Hoperator

Left Hand’s Milk Stout was no bore before, and on nitro, it’s even better. Cocoa and burnt flavors from its dark roasted grains come forward first, followed by a wave of sweet cream thanks to the use of lactose sugar. Magnum hops help give the 6 percent-alcohol brew a bitter finish that entices the next sip. Throughout, the beer’s ultra-smooth texture inches it closer to chocolate milk than you thought a beer could get. To experience the visual marvel—a cascading waterfall of fine bubbles—pour the entire bottle straight into a glass immediately after opening it. Then proceed to drink until the finish line.

Photo by Tammy Tuck