Japanese brewer Kirin has developed a novel way to keep beer chilled for longer periods of time. It is currently testing the Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draught Beer in Tokyo, but plans to launch it across Japan by May.
The basic idea is to help the beer keep a cool head (pun definitely intended!) by creating a “cap” on top of the beer. The difference is that in this case, the “cap” is made of frozen beer. Thus, even as it melts into the beer below, it keeps it cool, without diluting it. This makes this technique better than adding ice cubes to the beer.
This technique supposedly keeps the beer chilled for up to 30 minutes. Naturally, the period of time for which the beer remains cold will depend on ambient temperature. But I suppose most beer drinkers would need no more than 20 minutes to finish off a mug of draught beer.
This approach to keeping beer cold is radically different from using insulating sleeves or frosty mugs. The “cap” of frozen beer foam is dispensed via a specially-designed machine. On the short video the company has released, the process looks exactly like soft serve ice cream or gelato being poured into a cone.
The magic sauce (err… beer) is made by freezing regular Ichiban beer to 5o Celsius, which is below 0o Celsius, the freezing point of water. As the beer is frozen, a stream of air is continuously blown into it. The air causes the freezing beer to acquire a creamy texture.