A guest post for Omnified by Hana and Hugh Eckermann
Twenty years ago, on a hot summer day, I invited my boyfriend on a paddle boat date. I was equipped with cold Pilsner Urquell bottles and Boston cream doughnuts. The combo made him raise his eyebrows (if not question my sanity): Beer and doughnuts?
Today, however, pairing beer with sweets and desserts is nothing out of the ordinary. On the contrary, many brewers have started experimenting with pushing the boundaries of what defines “beer.” On a summer day like that, two decades ago, beer lovers might have gulped down a cold beer and ice cream lovers might have indulged in a few scoops. But what if somebody loves both, like me? These days, there’s a solution: beer slushies or beer ice cream.
Some of the first breweries to explore the idea of combining beer and ice cream were Buxton (UK) and Omnipollo (Sweden). It prompted the beginning of a whole series and new genre of beers: raspberry or lemon meringue, double vanilla, Texas pecan ice cream beers, just to name a few.
If you’re reading this and still skeptical of this culinary curiosity, I’ll guide you through the journey. Below are four steps that can help you work your way to becoming a beer ice cream convert.
A frothy frozen top of slushie beer on the same beer in a liquid form. Amazing. It tastes like an iced coffee with an ice cream float on top. Refreshing and creamy. The slush is slowly falling through the cold beer and creates beautiful patterns and images, usually poured into the beer directly from the slush machine tap.
Pictured is the Buxton/Omnipollo Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Beer and the Texas Pecan Ice Cream Beer with the same beer slush float.
If you don’t want to bother with the beer in its liquid form, go for the pure slushie. Awesome! The delicate balance of coffee, chocolate or fruity beers work great as slushies. Sip with a straw or enjoy the icy treat full of wonderful flavors and you will never want the non-beer slushie again.
Pictured is the Buxton/Omnipollo Lemon Meringue Ice Cream Beer Slush and the Texas Pecan Ice Cream Beer Slush.
Now for a serious step forward – actual ice cream in beer. The only master in Berlin I know is Flavio Fontanive, who is turning the beers of the Berlin brewery Straßenbräu into real ice cream masterpieces. What is it? It smells like ice cream, it looks like ice cream, it tastes like ice cream…and yet – Timo Thoennissen from Straßenbräu had to confirm to me that I am actually eating ice cream with four percent alcohol. It is a pure beer ice cream, in this case made from “Beerengarten” (in English, Berry Garden) beer. It slowly melts into the beer and creates a creamy and absolutely delicious foam. I could spend a whole afternoon here eating this ice cream over beer treat.
Pictured is the Beerengarten beer with Beerengarten ice cream float.
The final step on this culinary journey: pure beer ice cream. The first bite of silky and creamy lemon flavor is deceiving: Is this actually beer? What is it that Timo said? Four percent alcohol? I cannot have too many of those! (Even though I really want to.) Instead, I switch to a non-alcoholic ice cream with blueberry, thyme and lime – delicious – and immediately think: This would be such a great Saison beer. I have to ask Timo right away. If they can brew it, that would be the perfect way to close the ice cream beer cycle.
Pictured is the Lemongrass Wit Beer Ice cream (Straßenbräu and Flavio)
Photos by Hana Eckermann