When it gets hot and muggy, I generally lose my appetite for substantial meals, instead reaching for crisp salads, fruit — and ice cream, of course. It wasn't till last week that beer-flavored ice cream even crossed my radar, but apparently it's a big thing this summer! Have you tried it?
In The New York Times, Jeni's Ice Cream along with other national brands were profiled with a discussion of beer-flavored desserts. Says writer Lucy Burningham, "Inspiration for flavors can come from brewers, beers or the culinary world." In fact, a flavor of Jeni's that I have tried very recently — Yazoo Sue with Rosemary Bar Nuts — is made with a local beer (Sue) and spiced cashews, pecans and peanuts, which are folded in at the end.
San Francisco's Humphry Slocombe and Portland's Salt and Straw have beer-flavored ice creams as well. They all rely on slightly different methods of infusing the beer flavor into the frozen treat, but all opt for ultimate hoppiness.
What did I think about Jeni's beer-flavored ice cream? I loved it. I thought it had warm notes of honey and you could taste the beer in the most subtle of ways. (The bar nuts really pack a flavor wallop, so it's tough to focus on just the ice cream alone.) It's a natural choice when you think about it: on hot summer days, many people often reach for a cold beer to cool off. Likewise, an ice cream cone always caps off a summer evening — so why not combine the two?
Have you ever tried beer-flavored ice cream? What do you think of it?
Megan is a freelance writer and recipe developer. Her cookbook, Whole-Grain Mornings, will be available in bookstores nationwide Dec/2013. Megan also owns the Seattle-based artisan cereal company, Marge Granola.
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