It’s Not Often You Get Carded Buying Beer-Flavored Ice Cream

Frozen Pints, an Atlanta manufacturer, sells seven beer ice creams with more than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume, which in Georgia is considered an alcoholic product and can be sold only to people of legal drinking age.

1x1.trans It’s Not Often You Get Carded Buying Beer Flavored Ice CreamFrozen Pints has a Peach Lambic with 1 percent alcohol, and a Vanilla Bock with 3.1 percent alcohol. “It’s not often you get carded for buying ice cream,” said Ari Fleischer, a founder of Frozen Pints. Fleischer came up with the idea for the dessert after a friend accidentally knocked a beer over near an ice-cream maker.

In the “Dining and Wine” section of The New York Times, Lucy Burningham reports on an ostensibly unmatched new trend: beer-flavored ice creams and floats, from a number of small dairies around the country.

Burningham notes other companies joining the trend include Salt & Straw, which has developed a six-pack of beer ice creams. “Five of the scoops do not contain any actual beer but instead use ingredients deconstructed from beer, like malts, lactic acid, yeasts and hops.”

Burningham asks readers to imagine ice cream made with Belgian-style Tripel ale and apricot jam; a three-hops ice cream with chunks of upside-down cake baked with candied pineapple, tangerine zest and hop leaves; or a scoop of vanilla floated in a creamy milk stout.

1x1.trans It’s Not Often You Get Carded Buying Beer Flavored Ice CreamThese ice cream beers are an extension on an old theme combination like rum-raisin ice cream. But craft beers offer new dimensions, said Jeni Britton Bauer, the founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio.

“Beer can help bring some bitterness and dryness to an ice cream, which is traditionally sweeter than other desserts,” she said. “It has this great functionality.”

When Jeni tossed pecans, cashews and Spanish peanuts in cayenne, rosemary, brown sugar and salt, and roasted and added them to an ice cream made with Sue beer, a special beer made with smoked-cherry-wood malt by the Yazoo Brewing Company of Nashville, the result was Yazoo Sue With Rosemary Bar Nuts, which is now a best-seller at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

Jeni tried boiling beer to reduce it before adding it to ice cream but said the heat destroyed desirable flavors. Now she adds unaltered beer to the ice-cream base just before freezing.

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream in San Francisco creates a line of beer ice creams which are made by reducing each beer by half before adding milk and cream, according to the owner and chef, Jake Godby. “When the base is done, I might add a little more beer if I think the flavor needs to be more pronounced.”

Burningham points out the beer and ice-cream blend isn’t always harmonious because the water in beer tends to create icy textures, making it difficult to make a creamy ice cream with discernible beer flavors. So the darkest, most concentrated beers are the best candidates for beer ice cream.

Tyler Malek, the head ice cream maker at Salt & Straw in Portland, Oregon, worked with local brewers to “deconstruct, then reconstruct” specific beers into ice creams using a variety of malts, lactic acid, a partly fermented beer, yeasts, a bourbon barrel and whole and pellet hops.

“We’re pushing the limits of what you can do with ice cream and food in general,” Mr. Malek said.

Spence Cooper
Inquisitive foodie with a professional investigative background and strong belief in the organic farm to table movement. Author of Bad Seeds: A FriendsEAT Guide to GMO's. Buy Now!
Spence Cooper
Spence Cooper

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