We've seen plenty of innovative ways to keep beer cold in recent months, with everything from a refrigerator with a built-in blast chiller to a can that cools itself at the push of a button. But these have all involved cooling the beer's container, leaving the liquid inside to warm up at the same rate as any other beverage. That's why Japanese beer maker Kirin has gone a different route, and developed a method for cooling the beer directly and, more importantly, keeping it chilled for much longer. The company's new Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft stays at a low temperature thanks to a specially-developed machine that dispenses a topping of frozen beer foam like soft serve ice cream.
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To make the topping, regular Ichiban beer is frozen to -5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) while air is continuously blown into it. It's kind of like when a child makes bubbles in their drink, except inside a blast freezer. Once the topping is placed onto regular, unfrozen beer though, it acts as an insulating lid and keeps the drink cold for 30 minutes. A side effect of this process (or bonus, depending on how you like your beer) is a creamier taste and texture for the beverage overall. Best of all though, it doesn't dilute the beer's flavor as it melts, the way ice would.
Kirin is currently previewing the Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft in Tokyo, but plans to launch the drink in the rest of the country in May. Unfortunately, no word yet from the company on how that frozen beer foam would taste on a waffle cone.
You can watch the video below to see how it's prepared, but don't expect much more than what looks like ice cream being poured over beer.