April 9, 2012 at 1:20 PM ET
Cold beer is cherished around the world, especially during the warmer months of the year. Frosty mugs and insulated sleeves known as beer koozies do the job well enough. But why not top off your suds with frozen beer foam instead?
Now, thanks to the clever folks at Japanese brewing giant Kirin, you can. They’ve figured out how to create frozen foam and dispense it on top of a beer like a person filling a cone with soft-serve ice cream. Gizmag has the details:
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.
The beer is said to have a creamier taste and texture due to the frozen foam than regular beer in an icy mug. As the foam melts, it won’t dilute the beer with water as regular ice cubes would because the foam itself is, of course, beer.
For those hankering to get a pint of the brew, a visit to Japan is in order. Ichiban Shibori Frozen Draft is currently available in Tokyo and will be served countrywide this May.
No word yet on when the soft-serve beer foam will be topping brews outside of Japan, but the Australian market might be willing to give the suds a try. "The most important characteristic of beer (there) is that it must be very cold," notes British beer writer Pete Brown in Three Sheets to the Wind.
John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. To learn more about him, check out his website and follow him on Twitter. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.