Summer Trend Alert: Craft Beer Ice Cream
A rising trend in craft beer and artisanal ice cream inspires a new generation of foodies as this unlikely pairing churns out a delectable treat.
Ben and Jerry’s, take your clever Schweddy Balls ice cream and move aside. This SacFoodie has bravely tapped into this summer’s cool rising foodie trend: Craft Beer Ice Cream.
You read that right. Beer and ice cream combined into one delectable frozen treat. Normally when people think about beer and ice cream combinations, they conjure up visions of root beer-inspired floats. Now, foodies are taking it to the next level with beer-flavored concoctions. As a craft beer enthusiast and ice cream lover, I was naturally intrigued.
I caught up with the founder of Frozen Pints Ice Cream out of Atlanta, Georgia (name withheld to protect his day job until the company officially launches this summer) for the scoop behind this delicious concept.
Tell me a little bit about Frozen Pints. What inspired you to get started?
I came up with the idea about two years ago, and it actually was an accident. We were having a barbecue, and a friend of mine happened to bring over an ice cream maker. We’re all craft beer geeks, so of course we had some solid brews around. One thing led to another, and my buddy actually spilled his beer right next to the ice cream maker. I was drinking one of my favorites at the time, I saw it happen, and it just kind of clicked—why not pour it in and see how it turns out? = The first batch came out pretty tasty, so I picked it up as a hobby. Fast forward a few months, and I realized that I was actually onto something and decided to go at it full blast. I’m a craft beer fanatic, and I finally found something I can work on that I really love.
How long have you been in business and where are you based?
We first took Frozen Pints to the public last May, sampling at beer festivals in the Atlanta area (we’re based in ATL). It was a huge hit, and we’re going to be rolling out an official launch this summer, so it’s a very exciting time for us!
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
I don’t think I can pick a favorite flavor—I love them all. But Vanilla Bock was our first…
Beer and ice cream can seem like an unlikely pairing. Why do they work together so well?
Yeah, you’d think it would be kind of an odd combo at first. But craft beers tend to have very sophisticated flavor profiles, and the key is to pick the correct ones. We try to derive as much of our flavor from the beer as possible, and we only add other ingredients when we think it will pair well. If you balance it right, the sweetness of the ice cream blunts some of the bitterness in the beer, which lets the deeper flavors shine through. We also leave the alcohol content in our product to really get that beery feel—it’s quite unique.
Is this a rising trend? Why do you think so?
You see it in the rise of artisanal ice cream, and you see it with the huge growth in craft beer, but really I think it’s a bigger trend where people are seeking more sophistication across all different types of things they eat (and drink).
How would you describe the taste of beer ice cream?
Tough to put into words. All of our flavors are distinct, so you can’t really pin down the specific taste of beer ice cream. It’s exactly the same as if someone asked you to describe the taste of ice cream. Suffice to say, we’re combining two of the greatest things that exist—you know it has to be good.
For someone exploring beer ice cream at home with an ice cream maker, what are some expert tips to get started? Key ingredients?
Without question the beer is the most important component. You can’t make good beer ice cream from just any old beer—it needs to be flavorful and unique. I’d say take a trip down to your local craft beer spot and get a handle on some different flavor profiles.
Any other advice?
Go for it! Life is about pursuing your passions to their fullest extent. For us, that’s beer ice cream—and we can’t wait to finally get it out there.
Inspired by his advice, I dusted off my ice cream maker tried this simple Beer Ice Cream recipe from the Los Angeles Times. After much debate (do I dare go for the tart limbic or more classical with a dark porter?) I figured the smooth chocolate and vanilla flavor profile of Lincoln, Calif.-based Knee Deep Tanilla Porter would provide the perfect building blocks for my ice cream.
The resulting product was creamy and delectable and full of chocolate, coffee and vanilla tones. I was surprised at the richness and the depth of flavor. Had I not made the ice cream, I would not have guessed that beer was an ingredient.
(Pro tip: don’t skip the straining step in this recipe. The cooking process causes proteins to coagulate leaving tapioca-esque lumps that need to be removed for a smooth result.)
So, brave reader, after my successful run at this unlikely combination, I encourage you to give the concept a try. Let us know what you think in the comments below.