Brewing, Cideries & Spirits  February 2, 2024

Left Hand eyes warm-weather drinkers

LONGMONT — Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing Co. has carved out quite a niche for itself over the past three decades largely on the back of its renowned Milk Stout Nitro. But while drinkers laud the 6% alcohol-by-volume stout for its chocolatey creaminess, darker beers tend to take a backseat to lighter, crisper varieties as the weather warms. 

In an effort to appeal to summertime sensibilities, Left Hand is rolling out its new Belgian White Nitro. While it’s already available on draft at Left Hand’s tasting room in Longmont, Left Hand RiNo Drinks & Eats in Denver and at select retailers, Belgian White Nitro will be “hitting the market for real in the spring … as the weather starts to warm up,” Left Hand co-founder Eric Wallace told BizWest. “… Some accounts keep powering all year long with (orders for Milk Stout), but some don’t. We would like to be able to give them something that moves a little quicker for the warmer months.”

Left Hand has had success with lighter brews in the past, namely Flamingo Dreams Nitro, a blonde ale brewed with raspberries. 

Re-releasing Flamingo Dreams isn’t feasible “because raspberry (harvests) have been decimated by fire and heat” in areas where they’re grown in the Pacific Northwest, Wallace said. “So it’s going be a couple of years until that’s an option again. Those of us who have raspberries in our beer have either swallowed a huge cost increase or raised our prices or discontinued” brews that include the fruit as an ingredient. 

Belgian White Nitro “was our answer to that (ingredient-sourcing challenge) — let’s try to come up with something that nobody else is doing.”

Nitrogenated beers are made with a lower-carbonation brewing style that attempts to mimic European beers hand-pulled from a cask. The process can result in a smoother, creamier and snappier pint. 

Left Hand is taking its successful nitrogenization approach and applying it to the Belgian white style of beer, typically made by combining wheat malt with barley grist. “Coriander and orange peel are fairly traditional ingredients from the old-school Belgian witbiers,” Wallace said, and both are used in the Belgian White Nitro.

“It’s a lighter beer at 4.8%, but it has a lot of complexity,” he said. “It’s got some malty flavors to it, but it’s also quite fruity … while the nitro gives it a really soft mouthfeel.”

Belgian White Nitro was developed over a period of about 18 months by Left Hand head brewer Gary Glass, who formerly served as the director of the American Homebrewers Association.

“He’s got some serious bona fides, so having him here running brewing is really cool,” Wallace said of Glass.

THe Belgian White Nitro formula was based on one of Glass’ old homebrewing recipes. 

“At Left Hand we’ve always been on the forefront of nitro innovation and regularly explore new recipes and flavors to pilot,” Glass said in a prepared statement. “Belgian White Nitro offers people the refreshing and familiar flavors of a Belgian-style wheat beer enhanced with the addition of nitrogen. The result is a beer that pours with a cascading effect, creating a silky mouthfeel like no other. We’re very proud of this beer and are excited for others to experience it.”

LONGMONT — Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing Co. has carved out quite a niche for itself over the past three decades largely on the back of its renowned Milk Stout Nitro. But while drinkers laud the 6% alcohol-by-volume stout for its chocolatey creaminess, darker beers tend to take a backseat to lighter, crisper varieties as the weather warms. 

In an effort to appeal to summertime sensibilities, Left Hand is rolling out its new Belgian White Nitro. While it’s already available on draft at Left Hand’s tasting room in Longmont, Left Hand RiNo Drinks & Eats in Denver and…

Lucas High
A Maryland native, Lucas has worked at news agencies from Wyoming to South Carolina before putting roots down in Colorado.
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