Ice cream and beer

Like a root beer float but with actual beer

I know, you can basically taste the pumpkin in the air right now. It is as if someone fired off a giant cannon filled with pumpkin spice the second September rolled around and now pumpkin flavor has permeated every nook and cranny of existence in New England.

Doesn’t matter where you turn: pumpkin.

I went to take the kids out for ice cream last week at a local spot and I know it’s hard to believe, but there was pumpkin ice cream on the menu. (And it’s quite good, OK?)

Full stop, though: This isn’t a story about pumpkin beer.

This is a story about the magic that occurs when you pair ice cream with beer. I’m not talking about beer-flavored ice cream. We’ll get to that at some point, too, I’m sure, but I’m talking about an ice cream float with beer.

This is a thing you can do. In fact, this is a thing you should do.

Am I saying you should take your $22 four-pack of some highly coveted double IPA and make ice cream floats with the beers? No. I’m not saying that and I feel like it’s more your fault that I had to say that.

This is where a malty beer is going to shine. Something like a Guinness would, of course, be spectacular, but you shouldn’t feel limited to that. I do want you to think about porters and stouts if you decide to go down this path — or a roasty, toasty brown ale, such as Kelsen Brewing Company’s Paradigm Brown or the Flapjack Maple Double Brown Ale by Henniker Brewing Company.

You can get creative. Have some fun with it. I love coffee stouts and porters and so I will take The Roast by Henniker Brewing Co. or or the Narragansett Coffee Milk Stout and pair them with coffee ice cream. Hello. That just makes sense to me and my taste buds appreciate it.

Same goes for chocolate lovers. Grab a Chocolate Milk Stout by Great North Aleworks or the Black Cat Stout by Portsmouth Brewery and pair them with vanilla or chocolate ice cream, or coffee ice cream, for that matter.

Milk stouts, which are a little sweeter and smoother, are another great choice for beer floats. Take a Left Hand Milk Stout and pair it with some quality vanilla ice cream. That same approach would work with drier stouts, like the RVP by Great North Aleworks or the Granite Stout by 603 Brewery.

I haven’t tried it but I see absolutely no reason why a bourbon or rum barrel-aged stout wouldn’t work here, like the RIS Bourbon Barrel by Stoneface Brewing Co. or the Zwart Bos by Throwback Brewery.

Really, it’s up to you. Think about the flavors you like in a beer (and in ice cream) and make some of your own magic. You’ll never go wrong using vanilla ice cream as your base, but coffee and chocolate ice creams can add a different dimension, especially when paired with a similarly chocolate- or coffee-flavored brew.

For that matter, take some of that pumpkin ice cream I mentioned and pair it with a pumpkin porter and, well, now we’re talking.

Procedurally, the process is simple. Take a frosty mug and fill it with the ice cream of your choosing. I mean, not the whole way but pretty close. Then, simply pour the beer — very slowly — over the ice cream. Grab a straw or a spoon or both and enjoy.

What’s in My Fridge
Subhunter Imperial IPA by Flight Deck Brewing (Brunswick, Maine)
This is an aggressive beer at 9.1 ABV, but it doesn’t drink like that. It even says that it’s “dangerously drinkable” on the can and that is 100-percent accurate. This is a really nice imperial IPA that is a little more malty than you might expect. This is one to seek out. Cheers!

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