Beer Japanese style: made from milk

TOKYO - Great news for beer and milk lovers: A liquor shop owner in Japan's largest dairy farming region has stopped crying about local spilled milk and started making beer from it instead. "We came up with the idea after hearing about surplus milk," said Chitoshi Nakahara, head of the Nakahara liquor shop on the northernmost island of Hokkaido.

Milk consumption has been declining steadily in Japan, and Hokkaido disposed of nearly 900 tonnes of milk last March due to over-production, according to the Japan Dairy Association. Nakahara's new brew, "Bilk" -- a combination of "milk" and "beer" -- is about 30 per cent milk. It also contains hops, and the production process does not differ much from that of regular beer, he said.

His shop started selling Bilk, which apart from a slight milky scent looks and tastes like ordinary beer, on February 1 after spending about six months developing the product with a local brewer. Bilk is only available at six local shops or by mail order, but Nakahara is currently out of stock due to heavy media attention.

Don't worry if you can't get hold of any, though: Nakahara also sells beer brewed from another major Hokkaido product -- potatoes.


A report (2016) from one of our clients wandering about Japan

I have been researching decent beers in Osaka, and I don’t mean those gushing from ice cold carbonated fonts. We are talking real ale.

Let me tell you about the Q Brick bar that offers 13 draught beers plus 100 or more bottled beers. It’s a small bar hidden down a side street and couldn’t accommodate more than 30 patrons without a lot of jostling.

The beers I tried, and you have to accept my prevalence towards IPAs and Stouts were mostly of that ilk. They were superb.

House IPA (draught) brewed by Shigakogen Brewery; rich flavour of malt and hops, very ‘chewable’ scored 4

Matsue Herun Zeus Bitter (draught); a very hoppy session beer that tasted rather thin after the House IPA. I should have drunk this first scored 3.5

Minoh Beer Stout (draught); distinctly chocolate but a very thin beer for a stout, it should have had more body scored 3

Asahi Stout (bottle); a distinct surprise given that the brewery produces mostly lagers. According to the bar owner this is a beer few know about. It was his last bottle. It had a very distinct roasted chocolate flavour, needed to be drunk and savoured slowly. scored 4.25

There is quite a beer craft industry in Osaka and the beer community produce a glossy monthly magazine of which I have a copy.

All for now. Back in Melbourne for a while from Saturday.