Sometimes you deserve a treat, and I can’t think of something better on a balmy summer’s evening than the magical pairing of ice cream and beer.
In this case we had about a scoop-worth of homemade Ginger-Vanilla ice cream left over from the holiday weekend (recipe below) and a couple of beers that we thought would match the ice cream: Stone Brewing’s Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans and Dogfish Head’s Chicory Stout. We went with the stout since the ice cream was flavored pretty strongly vanilla and we were concerned it would overpower the porter’s vanilla notes.
There are as many ways to construct a beer float as their are beer fans-tuned-soda jerks, but our preferred method is to add a single scoop of ice cream into a fairly small quantity of beer. A half of a bottle tends to work well with a generous-sized scoop. The other trick to the endeavor is getting the relative temperatures of the beer and the ice cream right. The beer, preferably a stout or porter, should be relatively warm; above 50°F, and the ice cream shouldn’t be straight-from-the-freezer-hard. You want a pliable confection that will easily begin to melt into the beer.
Pour the beer with enough vigor to form a head, then simply add the dollop of ice cream to the glass, topping off with a little more beer and enjoy!
Have you tried any beer floats? What are your favorite beer and ice cream flavor combinations?
Ginger-Vanilla Ice Cream
- 1.5 cups half-and-half
- 0.5 cups heavy cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 oz. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 TBS. freshly grated ginger
(Makes about 1 pint)
- With a sharp pairing knife split the vanilla bean in 1/2 lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the back of the knife.
- Add to the half-and-half and cream.
- Bring the dairy and vanilla bean to a bare simmer over medium heat.
- In a separate bowl whisk the yolks until they lighten, then whisk-in the sugar gradually.
- Remove the dairy from the heat just as it begins to simmer.
- Temper the egg mixture with about 1/3 a cup of the hot dairy, whisking vigorously and continuously to prevent the eggs from curdling.
- Add the hot dairy, one ladle at a time, to the eggs and never stop whisking.
- Once 1/2 of the dairy has been added to the eggs this way add the eggs+dairy mixture back into the remainder of the hot liquid. Whisk constantly.
- Return the mixture to low heat and add the ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until it reaches 165-170° and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Strain the liquid into an air-tight container and let sit on counter for 20-30 minutes.
- Stir-in vanilla extract and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (overnight is even better).
- Turn in your ice cream machine, and let the finished ice cream harden in the freezer for 2-3 hours before attempting the beer float.