Milk beer called 'Bilk' to go on sale in Hokkaido
Bottles of the milk beer drink "Bilk" are shown in Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido.
NAKASHIBETSU, Hokkaido -- A brewery here has succeeded in producing a low-malt beer with milk, after the drink was suggested as a product that would help use up surplus milk.
The drink, called "Bilk" will go on sale on Feb. 1. It reportedly has a fruity flavor that its brewers hope will be popular among women.
The idea for the drink was conceived after dairy firms threw out a huge amount of surplus milk in March last year. The son of the manager of a liquor store in Nakashibetsu, whose main industry is dairy farming, suggested the idea of producing the milk beer to local brewery Abashiri Beer.
The 31-year-old factory head of the brewery was against the idea, saying that fermentation would be difficult because of the high starch content in milk, but went through a trial and error process to produce the drink anyway.
Since milk has a low boiling point, the brewery took care to control the temperature during the boiling process so the milk wouldn't boil over. After they put beer yeast and hops into the drink and began the fermentation process, the beverage looked and smelled like tea with milk. However, when fermentation was complete and the drink cooled down, it had the same color as beer.
Since one-third of the drink is milk, the drink has been viewed as a good way to use up milk in the town. The drink got the thumbs-up from 30-year-old resident Kaori Takahashi, who took part in a tasting session.
"It's got a fruity taste, so it will probably go well with sweets as well," she said.
Each 330 ml bottle costs 380 yen. For the time being sales will be restricted to Nakashibetsu, with six liquor stores selling the drink. (Mainichi)