When New Belgium Brewing and Ben & Jerry’s recently announced their collaboration on an ice cream-flavored beer, the collective tsking mother that is the Internet reacted…poorly. I, on the other hand, reacted pour-ly. As in, I instantly craved beer poured over ice cream.
Beer and ice cream is a natural pairing. The creamy sweetness of ice cream with a properly matched coffee stout or chocolate porter? Duh. But a beer float or a beer milkshake can go from sublime to subprime fairly quickly. Here are the dos and don’ts of the frosty-beer-dessert world.
DON’T pick a beer that will compete with the ice cream. A hoppy IPA will body-slam the ice cream into submission. DO pick a beer that complements the ice cream. Something with fresh-roasted coffee notes or cocoa nibs added will really set off the ice cream and make for a satisfying experience.
DON’T use a high-end, complex beer in your milkshake or float. Stouts are great for beer smoothies, but using a stout like Deschutes’ The Abyss would be a tragedy. Save your rare, pricey bottles for special-occasion slow sipping with friends. DO select a great table beer for your frosty treat. The idea is to get a beer that’s palatable enough to drink on its own, but won’t feel like a waste if you pair it with ice cream.
DO use vanilla ice cream. You will be tempted to use salted caramel gelato or black cherry sorbet. DON’T do this. Trust.
Beer experts, I’m sure you already have a good idea of what brew you’ll be blendering into a stout shake. But for the neophytes, DO use any of the following beers to make a banging summer cooler: Stone’s Master of Disguise Imperial Golden Stout (tasting notes: coffee, cream, white chocolate), Smog City’s Coffee Porter (dark-roast coffee, dark chocolate), Maui Brewing Company’s CoCoNut Porter (toasted coconut, vanilla), or Left Hand’s Milk Stout (roasted malt and sweet cream). And DON’T forget the whipped cream.