Sweet Action: I scream, you scream, is there beer in your ice cream?
Last year, Sweet Action used brews from Great Divide, Breckenridge, Fort Collins Brewing, Ska, Avery and New Belgium. This year it will take on a similar challenge as part of Denver Beer Fest, which started Friday and runs through September 19.
It's an awesome concept in theory, but beer and ice cream can have a touchy relationship. Stouts, for instance, are the perfect accompaniment to vanilla ice cream, while raspberry-flavored beers go great with chocolate.
But what about hops? Well, that combo doesn't work quite as well. Here are Sweet Action's six current beer ice creams, along with a comment on each:
Maple Pale Ale Made with St. Lupulin from Odell Brewing St. Lupulin is a great beer, but in ice cream, I just couldn't get past the hops. While the sweet maple notes were nice, the ice cream tasted kind of the way a half-finished bottle of beer smells in the morning: full of good memories, but a little stale.
Brown Ale Chip Made with Ellie's Brown Ale from Avery Brewing This one was a good ice cream, but actually could have benefited from a little more beer in it, I think. Nevertheless, it was tasty. Good chips.
ESB Oreo Made with Dry Dock Brewing's HMS Victory ESB A remarkable creation that didn't seem like it should work -- and yet it did. There was just enough beer flavor from the ESB, and somehow it complemented the Oreos perfectly.
Double Chocolate Stout Made with Chocolate Stout from Fort Collins Brewery A rich, chocolatey ice cream. It was hard to tell where the beer began and the ice cream stopped. This is a good thing, though a little more beer flavor would have been okay.
Smoked Porter S'mores Made with Great Divide's new Smoked Baltic Porter Yum! This was the clear winner for me. The subtle smokey porter notes from this unusual and delicious beer were carried out with just the right touch to make a creamy, flavorful treat. I would eat this ice cream any time of year.
Cherry Kriek Made with Strange Brewing's Cherry Kriek Similar to the Maple Pale Ale. Needed a lot more cherries.