Milk beer: an imminent reality?

Posted on 9 May, 2018

The demand for innovation in the food industry has led to research into new flavours. If we were surprised by chocolate pizza not so long ago, now it’s time for milk beer, a concept as extravagant as it is attractive.

French milk beer

Already, back in 2005, the name of Marcel Besnard was making an impact. “Everyone thought I was crazy for trying to make a milk-based alcoholic drink”, he said at the time. His reasons for trying the experiment stemmed from the low prices and strict European quotas on milk. Both factors prompted him to consider other ways of marketing the milky beverage par excellence.

Besnard’s milk beer, which he named Lactiwel, is made from milk and malt. It contains 2% alcohol and is made using a fermentation process similar to that of traditional beer. Except that instead of brewer’s yeast, Besnard uses kefir yeast. The Frenchman has also developed a method to alter the saturated fat content of milk. With an initial annual production of 300 bottles per week, it was sold mostly at small stores, festivals and markets.

Following on from this idea, the North American Left Hand Brewing Company launched its Milk Stout in 2017, a toasted, dark beer. This new milk beer stands out for its sweet taste. The sweetness is achieved by adding lactose powder, which gives it an aroma with hints of white coffee. It is an unconventional beer and has won several gold medals, both in the United States and in Europe. Although neither this version nor the French invention of 2005 have achieved high market sales, the seeds have already been sown.


Milk beer from Japan

The Japanese company Abashiri has created a new milk beer baptised with the name of Bilk, combining the words “beer” and “milk”. This product is aimed at the female public. As regards its origins, it emerged as a response to the overproduction of milk on the farms in the land of the rising sun.

This milk beer is made using a process based on the effect of temperature on milk. Injections of hot air raise the temperature of the milk. Later brewer’s yeast and must are added and fermentation begins at that point. The drink takes on the flavour and colour of milk tea. When it cools, it acquires the final colour of the beer.

At present none of these milk beers can be found on the shelves of our supermarkets. They aren’t served in specialized breweries either, but the beginnings of milk beer are already here. It is now a question of observing the movements of the market to know whether it will succeed or not. The search for new flavours and the need to make the most of resources result in the creation of products that can be very surprising. If milk beer has attracted your attention, we suggest you combine it with biscuits made using artificial intelligence.

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