Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Beer + Milk = Bilk

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 percent 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.

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