In a quiet corner of the Deschutes Brewery Tasting Room in downtown Roanoke, Steffon Randolph describes a key commonality between nitro beer and nitro coffee: little bubbles. When nitrogen is infused into either of the dark and deeply-flavored drinks, it triggers the formation of small, dense bubbles.
“That’s what creates that creamy head of foam on the top of both the coffee and the beer,” Randolph says. “It’s a whole different mouthfeel, it can bring out sweetness and a lot of great texture. It’s a fun sort of thing.” At the moment, Randolph himself is a little like a nitro bubble, passing back and forth between the two worlds of beer and coffee.