Beer Snob: Ice Cream Sandwich
More and more craft breweries are joining forces with bands or artists or restaurants to produce specialty beers. Those of you in the Washington DC area may be familiar with the brewery DC Brau. DC Brau has produced two beers in collaboration with the popular ska band The Pietasters. The Hanson Brothers (yes, those Hanson Brothers) teamed up with Mustang Brewery to create a pale ale called Mmmhops (I promise this is true) so it wasn't so unusual to find a brewery teaming up with an ice cream company to try and make one of the greatest possible combinations of all time: brown ale and and salted caramel brownie.
New Belgium Brewing out of Fort Collins, CO is widely known in the beer community. Even if you are someone who drinks even the smallest amount of craft beer then you are probably familiar with New Belgium's most famous offering, Fat Tire. Fat Tire became so popular so quickly when it was finally released in the Washington DC area that many people thought that was the name of the brewery. Fat Tire teamed up with a small artisan ice cream maker named Ben & Jerry's to produce Salter Caramel Brown Ale. If you have never had a Ben & Jerry's ice cream I suggest heading out to your local craft ice cream store to pick up a pint of their popular flavors like chocolate, vanilla, or butter pecan.
When I saw this bottle I was hoping to get some very strong salted caramel brownie tastes from the beer. I was pleasantly disappointed when I started drinking and found that this was only a delicious brown ale. I know I have shared my love for brown ales before during the beer snob saga so I won't bore you with my long standing joy at having a brown ale touch my parched lips. This beer was only a good brown ale. It is weird to describe it that way because I love a good brown ale but when you see the combination of salted caramel brownie and brown ale you are almost expecting a spoon full of ice cream to be served with the beer. From that perspective this beer did not deliver. I'm sure if you try real hard you can taste the cocoa and caramel but that would be the case for any well made brown ale. This is just a good brown ale. Some of the comments in Untappd indicated that the brownie flavor came through as the beer warmed. I didn't get that at all I just got a better brown ale flavor as the beer temperature rose to its optimal level.
Don't get me wrong, I really like this beer. It was a well balanced brown ale that at 14 IBUs was virtually absent of bitterness and went down very smooth. However, if you are looking for an alcoholic ice cream in a bottle then this is not the beer you are looking for.
P.S. My favorite Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor is Chubby Hubby because it tastes wonderful and perfectly describes me (I just referred to myself as "hubby" which means I deserve to be punched squarely in the crotch).