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Eat & Drink

Frozen beer arrives in Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / April 22, 2014

Polar Beer TorontoPolar beer, a frozen version of draught that's wildly popular in Japan, has arrived in Toronto. Kind of like a soft serve version of your standard pint, these beers are served colder than usual and come topped with a curled frozen foam that resembles the retro-styled ice cream product. More than just a visual flourish, the foam has a lid-like effect, which prolongs the period that one's beer stays cool (most estimates put this at around 30 minutes or so). It helps that the beer starts out at around -5C before a special blade is used to whip air into its natural head.

Brought to Toronto by DK Squared Inc., local iterations of polar beer are typically made with Sapporo (Kirin's version is popular in Japan). At present, it's available at Don Don Izakaya, Nome Izakaya, Kintaro Izakaya, and Tsuki Izakaya, though there are plans to increase the number of establishments at which it can be found as the warm weather arrives. I tried one at Don Don, and was surprised at just how sturdy the foam is. While the blade whips the foam considerably, it stayed frozen during the 20 minutes or so that I consumed my pint.

Craft beer fans will likely scoff at the lack of flavour, but I suspect this will actually serve as plus for prospective drinkers. This is about as easy-drinking as beer gets, and it seems a natural fit for patios given its cool-temperature properties. Yes, it's all a bit gimmicky, but not as a packaging ploy. Polar beer has a certain novelty to it that's likely to give it legs in the local market this summer.



smrtt / April 22, 2014 at 03:25 pm
Why not just leave a tall can in the freezer?
thrillho / April 22, 2014 at 03:50 pm
Pai will be doing this with delicious Thai beer, Singha as well
smrttr replying to a comment from smrtt / April 22, 2014 at 03:50 pm
Because it would explode.
W. K. Lis / April 22, 2014 at 04:25 pm
I can expect the MADD & temperance people to be against this.
Remy replying to a comment from W. K. Lis / April 22, 2014 at 04:41 pm
Nobody likes drinking a semi-cold beer, which is why many people opt to (whether consciously or subconsciously) drink their beer faster than they normally would, lest the chilled beverage be rendered not-so-chilled.

Alternatively, a "Frozen Beer" stays colder for longer, and one could argue that this might encourage more controlled beer-drinking habits - something MADD et al might be interested in supporting.
mura / April 22, 2014 at 04:44 pm
so i am guessing this is more expensive then just normal beer? so i am paying more for foam and actual less beer? ... lol
Brent replying to a comment from smrttr / April 22, 2014 at 04:50 pm
I used to throw a room temperature bottle in the freezer for a while to cool it quickly. On occasion I would leave it a little too long and I would get a beer slushie. (I do this less frequently now after one time leaving it in more than a little too long and having to clean a bunch of frozen beer in my freezer. Even if it doesn't explode, if it is too frozen the beer ice will block the opening.)

Obviously it is a delicate balance. Just long enough = delicious beer slushie. Any longer = frozen beer and potential mess in freezer.
@frostytopbeer / April 22, 2014 at 05:03 pm
Hi folks, just to clear things up. The foam is not meant to be consumed by itself although you can if you wish. The foam slowly melts into beer over the 20-30 mins and so it does not dilute the flavour of the beer at all but keeps it tasting full and cold the entire time.


kyle / April 22, 2014 at 05:42 pm
I tried it, but I cannot justify paying more for it. i rather get another fresh pint or pitcher of beer. not worth the money
Alvin / April 22, 2014 at 07:58 pm
Its not about the money folks. If thats your prob, then stay home & buy your beer at the LCBO...on a side note, I'm boycotting The Beer Store for their aim to control the market!
Beer school 101 / April 22, 2014 at 09:05 pm
You can freeze beer at home I do it all time. you can open the can or bottle or pour it in a glass first if your worried about the expansion,once you figure out how long it takes you can keep the cans closed. Obviously you don't want it frozen solid like an ice cube or its not drinkable. Often it takes about 20-30 mins and the freezing happens as soon as you take it out of the freezer and the fresh air hits it, it crystalizes in seconds.

I prefer a good mug of beer in the freezer. If its frozen right in the can or bottle if it freezes too much you can't get it out of the small spout until it thaws..
wendy / April 22, 2014 at 10:06 pm
OMG Rob Ford is at the Raptors game!!!!!
gay guy replying to a comment from wendy / April 22, 2014 at 10:38 pm
Did you see how uncomfortable he was in his seat?
Spike / April 23, 2014 at 03:41 am
I've thrown my pop into the freezer whenever I've bought pop from the supermarket due to it being as warm as fuck most of the time. There's a delicate balance between leaving it in and it becoming frozen slush, or leaving it in too long and it becoming a bottle-shaped ice cube.
Hammy / April 23, 2014 at 07:12 am
Or you can order a beer "iceberg".

Take any beer of choice and top it with lime slush (which many bars will have on-hand for making margaritas).

Again, it's not for beer purists... but it is a great patio drink!
flib replying to a comment from wendy / April 23, 2014 at 07:51 am
F off.
Jim Smith replying to a comment from Remy / April 23, 2014 at 10:41 am
Except beer drinkers that prefer the drinks served at proper temperatures. The ice cold beer phenomena is driven by the blah macro-lagers that need to be served cold to cover up their horrible taste.

Plenty of beers are far more flavorful at a lower temperature. Drinking an Imperial Stout ice cold is like mixing a fine scotch with cola.
PK / April 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm
This is also available at Crazy Wings @ Yonge/Finch. If I remember correctly, overpriced at $8/pint.
Jackie 42 / April 23, 2014 at 05:54 pm
To each their own. Please also remember, Sapporo sold in Canada is no more Japanese than the pope is - brewed in Guelph; disguised & priced as an import. (Oh, and Tree Brewing's (Kelowna) is listed at The Beer Store as an Import. D'oh!
Remy replying to a comment from Jim Smith / May 31, 2014 at 07:51 am
Fair point aside from one important detail: the Frozen Beer Foam maintains the coldness of the beer at exactly draft temperature, not colder.

If your pint arrives in-hand at 5 degrees, the Frozen Beer Foam will keep it at 5 degrees for 25 minutes. Similarly, 10-degree-beer will stay 10 degrees.

It has an effect similar to a beer insulation sleeve with the added bonus of sealing in beer carbonation and having that delicious ice cream texture (which is undeniably an awesome summer perk).

I've tried it and it's pretty cool. (pun intended)
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