Cherry Garcia, Schweddy Balls, Economic Crunch, Dastardly Mash…and New Belgium Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale? Beer and ice cream – together? You bet!
Ben and Jerry’s recently decided to graft a little craft beer into their ice cream. Concurrently, New Belgium offered to the beer drinking community their Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale. This is not the beer lover’s version of a root beer float. It’s ice cream with beer flavor and it’s beer with flavors familiar to an ice cream aficionado.
Fun, huh? But, Is it successful? Let’s discuss.
First, the beer. If you have no idea that this is supposed to impart feelings of sitting in an ice cream shop on a summer day, you can love this beer for simply existing as a really good beer. I’m a big fan of American Brown Ales. If you are new to the craft-brew scene, brown ales are usually noted for their dark brown color (obviously), low to medium bitterness, and a rich, toasty, caramel (or chocolate, toffee, etc) flavored malt. Knowing that, there is no denying that the Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale exemplifies that classic American Brown Ale style. More importantly, it’s quite tasty; The sweet, toasty, caramel malt comes through rather prominently and pleasantly and it’s accompanied by a bit of earthiness. However, I don’t taste much salt or chocolate. In fact, I’m not sure I would have even noticed any chocolate if I wasn’t looking for it. So, if you are looking to taste a sundae in your beer, it may disappoint you. On the other hand, If you are seeking a quality, flavorful brown ale that’s exceptionally easy drinking, you found it.
Now let’s talk about the ice cream. That’s another story altogether. It’s delicious and the beer flavors are indeed noticeable. In fact, I kept thinking I was doing something wrong, akin to a kid looking at a National Geographic for all the wrong reasons. I mean, I’m eating a food product that’s part of the American lexicon. Ice cream socials, first dates, and family outings — this is what ice cream should be, right? It’s the essence of innocence. Nonetheless, this ice cream has beer in it..and it’s sublime! Maybe it’s wrong, but it’s sinfully good. For a beer guy that wants some ice cream, this is one to try. I would go into the complexity of the flavors, but outside of noting that it “pairs well with a waffle cone,” I can’t really say much. I mean, I’m a beer guy. So, I honestly can’t tell you anything beyond the fact that it was great. I tasted the beer, and I found that combination to be very cool (pun intended).
Now, I know what you are thinking: “Did you mix the two, Matt?” Well, of course. The result? It was awful. I basically ruined my ice cream and beer at the same time. Take it from me, that is not a good idea. I’d just assume pour chocolate milk on my grilled cheese.
The collaboration is more than just a fun idea, New Belgium is renowned for their philanthropy, commitment to community, and sustainability. This particular project with Ben and Jerry’s involves contributions to the Protect our Winter project, or POW. The POW’s “mission is to engage and mobilize the snowsports community to lead the fight against climate change. [Their] focus is on education initiatives, advocacy and community-based activism.” If protecting the climate resonates with you, you can feel good about buying this beer and help support a cause.
Then again, if you aren’t one that worries about such matters, you can just drink the beer and eat the ice cream because it tastes good. No one said it had to be complicated. As we say here in the Sommbeer community, “We don’t take beer too seriously.”
Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale Factoids
Calories: 188 ABV: 6.3% IBUs: 14
Make sure to check out Matt’s blog A Pint of Chicago as well!
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