Mmmm ... Bilk!

Milk stout contains no milk, but it does have a dash of unfermentable lactose (milk sugar), which adds silkiness and sweetness. Cream ale doesn't even have lactose. But bilk? A Japanese concoction containing that wholesome bovine goodness. Seriously:

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.

The news is now 18 months old, so you may be familiar with bilk. But it escaped my notice and maybe it escaped yours as well. Anyone tried it?

(I'd have called it "meer," personally, but you know the Japanese.)