Photo: Joshua M. Bernstein
At first, beer and ice cream seems an off-putting combination -- not unlike drinking orange juice after brushing your teeth. And I'll admit, Budweiser mixed with a scoop of Rocky Road sounds nauseating. But when done properly, like carefully pairing a stout's roasty character with chocolate, beer and ice cream create a divine dessert -- the bar by way of the freezer aisle.
During last weekend's Great American Beer Festival, Denver's Sweet Action Ice Cream joined in the boozy fun with the Denver Beer (Ice Cream) Fest: six unique flavors concocted with Colorado beer. So on Thursday, after tippling a couple lunchtime martinis at Le Central, I poked into the pub, er, ice cream shop and sampled the mash-ups.
H.M.S. Victory ESB, Dry Dock Brewing
The amber ale's bready, toasty flavors were a great match to the Oreos. The slight crunch provided a nice contrast to the creaminess.
Double Chocolate Stout
Double Chocolate Stout, Fort Collins Brewery
The stout seemed to get lost in the ice cream. Though it was creamy and flavorful, I would've liked to have a more profound roasted, chocolaty profile.
Smoked Porter S'mores
Smoked Baltic Porter, Great Divide
Uh, yum. The cool, creamy take on the campfire treat -- marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers -- gained a delicate, smoky complexity from Great Divide's porter.
Maple Pale Ale
St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale, Odell Brewing
Hops and ice cream seemed like an incongruous combination, but this oddball was my top pick. It was fragrant and refreshing, with the maple syrup providing some sweet balance.
Cherry Kriek, Strange Brewing
This was too sour and yeasty, with the cherry flavor fairly muted.
Brown Ale Chip
Ellie's Brown Ale, Avery Brewing
Who knew? Chocolate chips were seemingly tailor-made for this nutty beer with brown-sugar notes.
Would you mix ice cream with beer? Spill it in the comments.