Pint-Makers Work Together on Cold Creations

News by | Dec 2016 | Issue #119
Salted Caramel Brownie was the first Ben & Jerry’s flavor recreated in a New Belgium Beer. | Photo courtesy of New Belgium

Pairing ice cream and beer is nothing new, but many breweries and ice cream makers are taking the concept a step further by collaborating and drawing inspiration from each other. New Belgium’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale, for example, the brewery’s second ice cream-inspired beer created with Ben & Jerry’s, hit shelves in October.

After tasting several flavors, New Belgium brewer Cody Reif was confident he could recreate Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in a beer. “When he started researching recipes for chocolate chip cookies, he realized they all shared three main ingredients: brown sugar, chocolate, and vanilla,” says Bryan Simpson, New Belgium’s media relations director. “From there it was a matter of tweak, taste, repeat until he had just what he wanted.”

The final golden ale has aromas of vanilla, caramel malts, and baker’s chocolate, with a fairly sweet taste and slightly bitter finish.

Other ice cream-inspired beers include Split Personality, a collaboration between Seattle’s Elysian Brewing and Bluebird Microcreamery and Brewery that’s reminiscent of a banana spilt; a series of four ice cream beers brewed by Buxton Brewery and Omnipollo that hit shelves in December; and Rocky Road Stout from Smuttynose.

First released in fall 2015, Rocky Road Stout was born from Smuttynose’s desire to use locally manufactured Marshmallow Fluff in a beer. “The ice cream flavors come from strategically [adding] the rocky road components at just the right moments,” says the brewery’s JT Thompson. “The Fluff goes in hot side, while the amaretto-oak and cacao go in cold side.”

Ice cream makers credit brewers for inspiring new flavors, too. In New Hampshire, Chris Perry designs new flavors of Chris’ Wicked Ice Cream around beers from nearby Kelsen Brewing Co., like his Double Battle Axe Sorbet that clocks in at 2 percent ABV and retains the Simcoe punch of the brewery’s hop-bomb Imperial IPA. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream in Columbus, Ohio, made an ice cream to pair with Stone Brewing’s Xocoveza Spiced Chocolate Stout. The result is Xocorosa, a chocolate ice cream spiked with jalapeño, smoked paprika, and rose.

And Denver ice cream shop Sweet Action uses beer from local breweries like Baere, Wit’s End, and TRVE for its Denver Beer Ice Cream Fest, held annually during GABF since 2009. Co-owner Chia Basinger says her flavors have evolved with the local beer trends. “Now that our partners are working more with Saisons, sour ales, and IPAs, it’s been a fun challenge to push our own expectations of what a beer ice cream could and should be.”