Are you sitting down?
No? You say that you can’t sit down because you have no human features: you’re just a rhetorical device that I’m using as a way to write a blog post?
OK then. Stand. See if I care.
Look, here’s the thing. I’ve been with you from your beginnings. I saw you start out as a tiny movement, and what a fun and carefree way to start your life that was. Beer festivals, beer gardens, brewery tours, coupled with the exciting and boundless Internet made it an age of free love. It was beer geek Woodstock: a time and place where everyone could leave their mundane macro-lager lives and experience what it felt like to be alive – what it tasted like to actually experience good, fresh, complex, perspective-shifting beer. The anti-establishment renegades deep in our generation’s souls rolled around in the mud, assaulted our taste-buds with notes of pine, citrus, smoke, fresh grass, bourbon, coffee, chocolate, and ultimately started a revolution.
I was there with you the whole time. Really I was. I supported you throughout your adolescence, where, predictably, you acted out. You grew and grew and grew, not because it was necessarily smart to grow, but because you could. You became extraordinarily popular. You got all lawyered up. You sometimes sold out. To your credit, you still had your roots. You still collaborated in the spirit of innovation and camaraderie. But you were more protective. More buttoned up. More calculating and cautious.
And look at you now. You’re all grown up. And although you’ve made your fair share of missteps, and you don’t really need me anymore, I will continue to support you. Just the other night at a New Year’s Eve party I sipped selections from Tree House, Bell’s, Three Floyd’s, Element, and Deschutes. Everything I tasted was divine. I was beaming with pride*. But as proud as I am of who you are and what you’ve become, I need to talk to you about a decision you made that just recently came to my attention while on an otherwise humdrum stroll around the aisles at my local grocery store.
*and, as you might imagine, pretty lit up by 1:30AM
You see, Craft Beer, you’re now in my ice cream.
Please. For the love of God. Get out of my ice cream.
No. Don’t laugh. I’m being totally serious. Get the fuck out of my ice cream.
So you’ve struck up some kind of deal with Ben and Jerry’s to produce a “Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale” ice cream, made with New Belgium’s Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale, which is being marketed in the local package stores as well. It’s a win-win, right? Ben and Jerry’s benefits. New Belgium benefits (though they couldn’t have struck a deal with a Vermont brewery? Really?). Heck, you’ve even partnered up with a great charitable organization, Protect Our Winters, to help fight climate change. So they benefit as well. And, if POW can prevent all of the negatives that rapid climate change brings with it,** so will we and generations to come. All good things, right?
**although, to be perfectly honest, after the winter we had last year in Boston where we smashed all of the snowfall records with nearly 10 feet of the white stuff, I really don’t feel like protecting that bullshit.
It’s just that I have a feeling that this whole beer ice cream thing might not be so great. Look, I’m all for charity, and for people making what they want to make if others are willing to buy it. That’s how capitalism works (see…I knew that AP economics would come in handy at some point!). But beer in ice cream just, well, isn’t all that appealing. And it’s not very good.***
***What, you think I wasn’t going to immediately throw that baby into my cart? Who do you think I am?
So I decided to put together a tasting note for you, Craft Beer Ice Cream.
NOTES: Goofy-ass cow on the package, adorned in bright yellow ski hat, sunglasses, and a scarf. But the cow looks tiny compared to the glass of New Belgium beer and a giant brownie and piece of caramel.
STYLE: New Belgium Brown Ale Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Swirls and Fudge Brownies.
APPEARANCE: The ice cream is a light tan, the kind of neutral color you would pain the walls if you wanted to sell your place so as to not offend anyone’s tastes. Big dark splotches of brownie mixed in, with lighter brown streaks of caramel throughout.
HEAD, LACING, NOSE: None.
MOUTHFEEL: Feels good: like cold velvet on my palette. I mean, after all, this is Ben and Jerry’s. It’s super-premium fucking ice cream. They limit the aeration in this bad boy.
TASTE: Look, if you wanted really make ice cream beer and try to pull it off so that people might actually like it, Ben and Jerry’s did it about as well as humanly possible. The ice cream isn’t terrible. It tastes just enough like beer that you get that malty brown ale flavor, and the rest is pure sweet ice cream. The combination of brownies and salted caramel isn’t a bad one, as both of those compliment the beer flavor, but for me it ends up tasting too much like molasses. If you’re into molasses ice cream, then this is your cup of tea and I invite you to indulge.
DRINKABILITY: I let some of it melt and then spooned it into my mouth. It was drippy. And it tasted even more distinctly of beer (probably because the liquid was warmer than the solid…see, I knew AP Chemistry would come in handy some day!).
RATING: 1.5 Hops. As I said. It was a solid attempt, and it’s a great cause. I encourage you to support worthy causes. And I encourage you to continue to support craft beer. But until someone proves me otherwise, please, please, please, Craft Beer: stay out of my ice cream!