Do you remember the first time you had a root beer float? Cool, creamy ice cream bathed in effervescent sugary liquid...the collision of two things you could probably never get enough of. We rarely drink soda/pop/root beer these days, instead preferring a pint of hop soda but decided to make a compromise, keeping the hop soda and adding ice cream. Could we be successful in balancing our inner child and our adult preferences?
The first order of business was to browse through the store freezers, which turned out to be packed with a lot more flavors than they were back when we were kids, and pick up some flavor standards as well as other things that just sounded good. Gathering at our favorite haunt, filled with plenty of beers to select from, we sat down for a sticky good time of pairing. While some pairings were no-brainers - stouts, light or heavy, with both chocolate and vanilla ice cream - we also came up with some more creative and interesting pairings that we quite enjoyed. Take a gander.
The two most successful "ice creams" were actually sorbets - Open Nature lemon and raspberry - with the raspberry slightly edging out the lemon as Best Pairing with Beer. From the light Saison Dupont to the hoppy Georgetown Lucille IPA to the big, boozy Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) Bourbon Barrel Aged Chocolate Coffee Stout, these sorbets were a hit with the widest spectrum of beers.
Talenti Sicilian Pistachio Gelato
Pistachio ice cream surely existed when we were kids although it doesn't stand out as a top pick. Gelato is similar to ice cream and in this case the creaminess is complimented by the texture the pistachios. Whether the solid bits at the bottom of the glass are a bonus or a detraction is a personal matter. Intrigued by the possibility that this would be a flavor that wouldn't work well with any beer we found that in fact its nuttiness meshed well the hop profile of Georgetown Lucille IPA. So, too, did Culmination's take on a KBS-style beer, MCS (Multnomah County Stout).
Haagen-Dazs White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle
As the name implies, this is a rich, very sweet ice cream. Both Saison Dupont, a beer that we'd found to be a great pairing with Girl Scout cookies, and Wild Ride Tarty to the Party Peach Raspberry Sour helped to balance that sweetness. In addition, the subtle lemon in the Saison Dupont was enhanced when paired with the ice cream.
Tillamook Marionberry Cheesecake
Wild Ride Tarty to the Party Peach Raspberry Sour also paired well with this ice cream, with its tartness coming out at the beginning, the cream mellowing it mid-palate and the graham cracker crust bits adding a buttery finish to the experience. Founders big, bold KBS was our optimal dark beer with this ice cream.
Colombian Cold Brew Caramel
An intensely coffee flavored ice cream, it paired nicely with Pelican Tsunami Export Stout. The 7% stout is not of the sweet variety, instead being roasty. Paired with this ice cream, a slight, pleasant saltiness presents itself on the finish.
This type of pairing might not be for everyone but if you're feeling a bit adventurous, grab a pint from the freezer and a pint from the fridge, find a warm sunny place and indulge.