Nitro Cold Brew, the official coffee sponsor of ArtPrize, hits the streets

Riddle me this. What looks like a dark beer, tastes like a stout, is served cold out of keg but is not a beer? Give up?  

Well, it's not much of a riddle, especially since Nitro Cold Brew is gaining traction and brand awareness quickly these days, but it is worth noting that in Beer City, U.S.A., there's a new beverage in town and it is not a craft beer.

Kirby Watson, president of Direct Trade Coffee Club, says the nitrogen-infused, cold brewed coffee is a phenomenon and is quickly trending throughout the country. Watson says he was personally inspired by the nitrogen coffee movement in Austin, TX, and he felt there was an opportunity to do the same thing in Grand Rapids.

He says the brewing process is fairly complex but the end result is worth the time and effort. "The nitrogen gives it a nice creaminess, he says. "The people who taste it say it is a bit like a stout. A creamy stout." Watson says the product is caffeinated so it can serve as an afternoon or evening "pick me up" but it also has about half the acid of hot brewed coffee, serving a market for coffee lovers who aren't able to enjoy the beverage because of the acidity.

Watson says his cold brewed coffee will be a viable product throughout the year and adds a better option to 'last call". "We think people will drink this all year round" he says. "We envision people drinking it at bars as the last drink of the night."

Introduced just over 10 weeks ago, Watson says you can find the product at Hall St. Bakery, Wealthy St. Bakery, Long Road Distillery, Lyon Street Cafe, Bartertown and the UICA.

And thanks to a very unique distribution model, you can also find Nitro Cold Brew being served from a series of specially outfitted trikes in downtown Grand Rapids during ArtPrize: "We built up four trikes and we will be rolling around ArtPrize throughout the event. Just flag us down."

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor
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