Boozy ice cream treats have been a thing long before the recent fad of Not Your Father’s Root Beer floats (just ask the character Doc in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row). Before we get into a big discussion about whether or not NYFRB is even a beer, let me say up front, that is not what this post is about. This post is simply about floats made with craft beer.
The story goes that the original ice cream float was invented by Robert McCay Green in 1874 when he made the serendipitous decision to use ice cream in his sodas when he ran out of ice. Some of the most common varieties of ice cream floats are root beer floats, coke floats, and Boston Coolers; and in Australia and New Zealand ice cream floats are called “spiders”. Thanks to creative mixologists and at-home beer & ice cream lovers, beer floats have earned a spot in today’s culture.
As a lover of craft beer and a lover of ice cream, I’ve been mixing the two for quite a long time. The question I’ve always been faced with is: Is it in poor taste to mix an artfully-made, quality craft beer with ice cream? I have friends that strongly protest fruit garnish for beer and beer cocktails horrify them – so the idea of tainting their beer with ice cream is something they turn their nose up at. On the contrary, I also know brewers and other members of the industry that love these decadent treats, and even promote their beer to be used in this dessert. Personally? I don’t feel guilty indulging in the craft beer float, but I do keep the below guidelines in mind:
Guidelines for Making A Craft Beer Float:
- Respect the craft. Craft beer is an art form. Before diving into a beer float, drink the beer by itself the way it was created to be consumed. Explore the flavor and nuances of the beer, and respect that this beer is someone’s art.
- Complement the craft. If you drive a luxury car, you put premium gas in it. If you drink craft beer, don’t put cheap ice cream in it! Find a quality made, carefully crafted ice cream to go with that quality made, carefully crafted beer! I personally recommend Love’s grass-fed dairy ice cream or Graeter’s handcrafted French pot ice cream – but look around for other craft ice cream in your area. Additionally, make sure you are using beer styles and ice cream flavors that complement each other. My favorite combination tends to be vanilla ice cream with dark, malty beers (my personal favorites usually include notes of burnt caramel, toasted malt, espresso, and bourbon!)
- Pour with care. When the carbonated beer hits the ice cream, it’s a recipe for overflow. Pour slowly and carefully, and prepare to slurp up the excess! Enjoy!
How do you feel about the combination of craft beer and ice cream? Are you a fan of craft beer floats? What is your favorite beer/ice cream combo? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!
In addition to my post from last week: Hops, Coffee, and Beer – Oh my!, here is a video by The Dump Buckets about the same launch event at Scarlet Lane Brewing Company celebrating the release of two delicious beverages: Tiberius Centurion IPA and Tiberius Dry-Hopped Sumatra.
And yes, I am one of the people being interviewed. Cheers!
Yesterday my husband Luke and I attended a launch event at Scarlet Lane Brewing Company celebrating the release of two delicious beverages: Tiberius Centurion IPA and Tiberius Dry-Hopped Sumatra. Local craft beer AND local craft coffee? Yes, please.
While we both enjoy high-quality handcrafted beverages, we each have our niche. In our relationship, Luke is definitely more the coffee person. He has his own small-batch roaster, organizes cuppings, and is very specific about which of our multiple brew methods he chooses to use for each coffee. I, on the other hand, am the beer person. To discover this event that catered to both our likings was just plain exciting!
Tiberius Centurion IPA is a Double IPA by Scarlet Lane Brewing Company. It clocks in at 8% ABV and 100 IBU (hence the “centurion.”) As far as Double IPAs go this one is quite approachable, especially for IPA fans ready to take it up a notch. Despite the high bitterness, it maintains balance with a sweet malt backbone and fruity esters. The esters are especially apparent in the nose of the beer – a lot of banana notes sneak through the spicy hop bouquet. The ABV is high enough to give you a pleasant warm mouth feel, but the flavor is so well balanced you don’t get that heavy alcohol taste present in so many Doubles. If you are looking for a Northwest dank style Double IPA in the heart of Indiana, I highly recommend checking Tiberius out.
Tiberius Dry-Hopped Sumatra is a hopped, medium roast coffee by Tinker Coffee Co. I’ve never heard of dry-hopping coffee before, but as a self-proclaimed hophead and coffee addict I was excited to give it a try. The hopping process they used involved resting the green (pre-roasted) coffee beans with whole hops for about 3 weeks prior to roasting, and then resting the roasted beans with hops 3-4 days more. The most unique part of the coffee was definitely the smell. The roasted beans and (more subtly) the brewed coffee gave off a heavy aroma of hops – very floral, earthy, and green. My palate was not tuned enough to pick up flavor complexities because I made the mistake of drinking the beer first, but I definitely picked up on some citrus towards the back of my mouth. The sample of the coffee I had seemed a little watery, but we bought a pound of it to play with at home. This was such a neat idea, and it was fun seeing the beer-coffee collaboration work the other way. If you love hops and coffee, make sure you check out this Sumatra!
Tiberius Centurion IPA and Tiberius Dry-Hopped Sumatra are both brought to you by the Horizon hop. I love seeing local, cross-industry collaborations, and had a great time at this event. It was a delightful way to spend a rainy Saturday! If you are interested in trying either beer or coffee, check out Scarlet Lane Brewing Company or Tinker Coffee Co. Additionally, I believe there is another release event celebrating both beverages January 15, hosted by The Sinking Ship.
Cheers to the Indianapolis coffee and beer scenes!
Have you had either/both Tiberius Centurion IPA and Tiberius Dry-Hopped Sumatra? Do you enjoy these kind of events? Share with me your thoughts in the comments below!