I couldn’t figure out how I was going to celebrate National Ice Cream Day… I mean, I love Ice Cream but I wasn’t sure what the typical “beer person” tends to do on a day like today. Should I just shun my favorite summer time refresher in lieu of the creamy treat that we are celebrating? Of course not. We have to figure out how to give both of them their fair shake – and maybe even elevate them both beyond what they are together.
The Brass Tap is the perfect place to tackle a challenge like this, finding the perfect beer and ice cream pairings. They have a selection of local taps that is unrivaled, and it gives us a lot to choose from when looking for beers that will go well with ice cream. General Manager Ian Torok sat down and scoured the taps to let me know some of his best pairings that he could come up with.
Before we get into the specifics though… we need to figure out what makes these pairings work (or not work)
Pairing Beer With Ice Cream
When you pair up your beer with ice cream, always keep in mind intensity. Unlike food, in my experience, trying to contrast an intense flavor with softer flavors doesn’t tend to work as well. We’re looking for harmony between the two.
I tend to lean towards sweeter beers… nothing too crisp, or to bitter to clash with the off the chart sweetness of ice cream.
It seems obvious, but often it is as simple as looking for flavors in a beer, and then looking for ice cream that mimics or contains those same flavors. When you put the two together the flavor you chose will shine!
Most importantly, though… experiment, and have fun with it. You can’t be wrong when you’re experimenting – that’s the whole point of it!
The Perfect Beers To Pair With Ice Cream
- Ian – Fifty West’s Tastee Whip ICA – This only makes sense… the beer was designed to taste like a delicious cone of ice cream, after all. The brewery used pecans and bourbon vanilla beans to create the sweet and creamy flavor that goes so perfectly with the ice cream.
- Gnome – Fifty West’s Wee Heavy Bevy – Pairing up a big, bold, sweet Scottish Wee Heavy with a bowl of vanilla ice cream makes a lot of sense to me. The sweetness of the two hits perfectly together, and the vanilla pulls flavors out of the beer that I would never find any other way.
- Ian – Fifty West’s Coffee Please, Nitro – This beer is brewed with local coffee beans from Madeira. The naturally cream and smooth brew compliments chocolate ice cream wonderfully.
- Gnome – Braxton Brewing – Dead Blow Tropical Stout – If you can snag this on nitro for the pairing… you should do it, the creaminess works with the ice cream amazingly, and the chocolate roastiness makes the pairing more than a one on one sweetness battle between the two beers.
- Raspberry Sherbet
- Ian – MadTree’s Boysen The Hood – This is an unfiltered Belgian wit, with notes of cloves, berry and lime. The nice tart finish compliments the raspberries perfectly.
- Gnome – Fibonacci Mulberry Grove – This isn’t a fair pick… but yesterday’s release at Fibonacci of their Mulberry Grove (a fruited sour) made me think about how fantastic it would pair with a raspberry sherbet. It’s not packaged, and isn’t going to last long at the brewery… so bring yourself in a pint of ice cream to try this before it’s gone!
- Lime Sherbet
- Ian – March First Dry Hopped Lime Cider – This is just as refreshing as it sounds. There is few things that will be better while sitting outside on a hot day, the cider is infused with real lime peel which gives it that citrus kick that lifts it up.
- Gnome – Fifty West’s Ocean City Gose – Saltiness, and some strawberry rhubarb… with lime? Yeah… this is a pairing that seems to be destiny from the get-go. Refreshing for a hot day doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Give it a Try!
If you’re looking to try any of Ian’s picks for yourself – you know where to go… The Brass Tap, of course! Like I mentioned earlier, they’ve got a KILLER local beer tap selection, and plenty of options for you to try your own pairings to see what you can come up with.