Friday 18 September 2009

Beer Floats

I’ve attempted a couple of beer floats before but never had anything 'wow' inducing. I think my problem is that I just want to drink the beer and eat the ice cream separately, rather than risking a strange looking mess in a glass and ruining two perfectly good treats. But I am curious, you see, about things like this.

It’s one of those frequently recurring topics on the forums of RateBeer and BeerAdvocate - What’s your favourite beer float? – and it always gets me thinking about which beers could work with which ice creams.

Following a post from Boak and Bailey, I made myself a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and vanilla ice cream float. It’s one of those ‘beginners’ floats that I’d wanted to try for a while now. I suspected that the full, rich body of the beer (you need it full and rich or it might all get a bit cold-soupy and insipid) would be perfect for the ice cream as it melts into the darkness of the stout, leaving a sweet, creamy, fun treat.

The result was good. To begin it was all beer and little ice cream, which only succeeded in pointing out the hop bitterness and adding an unwelcome carbonation, but as it melted together things got a lot more interesting. The roasty, chocolatey beer swirled with the ice cream into a great beery dessert, leaving it thick and smooth, cold, rich, slightly boozy and just a little naughty. But it has to melt first, or it’s just a stray ball of ice cream in your beer, and that’s just a little odd to begin. And share it too, beer and desserts are both made for sharing. Of course, the other option is to scoop out the ice cream into a bowl and pour a little beer over the top, that works wonderfully too.

Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout and vanilla ice cream was a good combo, but I think there are better ones to be had. Hops are pretty much a no-go, causing such a tremendous accident that it’s just not worth bothering, instead a strong coffee stout could be excellent with a milk chocolate ice cream, Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout and vanilla would be another good one, as would BrewDog’s Tokyo, with or without the *, and with vanilla ice cream. Or what about using beer ice cream in a float? RipTide ice cream, perhaps.

Does this kind of thing float your boat or is it a waste of good beer and good ice cream? Have you had any good beer floats? What do you think would make a good one?


  1. Waste of good beer! You going fluff Liam? If so, I'll have to change your name to Margaret or Penny!!!!

  2. Got to agree with the Sausage. Beer flots? Just, frankly, a load of shite.

    If you want ice cream - fine. If you want beer - fine. If you want both together, just say "NO" to yourself.

    Too much of this beer and food tasting stuff is just poncy pretence and beer floats are a good example of this.

  3. I dont even like Coke ice cream floats. Beer floats just sound plain wrong to me and I don't want to like them. Sorry mate.

  4. As try as I might I can't get this to sound like a good idea

    Ice cream I like, beer I like and putting them together to make beer flavoured ice cream I like but beer floats....nope, just can't see it,

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  6. Glass houses Kristy. You were pushing beer cocktails not so long ago.

    Hops go with everything Mark. There's a hoppy beer float waiting to be invented.

  7. Yeah, this is a real classic combo:
    if you do it in a shot glass, you can get it to look like a mini pint of Guinness.

  8. Right, I'm going to give it a go. Looks and sounds like fun to me!

  9. Sorry Barm I wasn't very clear!

    No glass houses, this isn't something that I would like but anything, beer floats or beer cocktails, that makes people see how versatile beer is a good idea just this one isn't for me

  10. Never made a beer float, but my wife and I did make Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout ice cream once. It was oh so very delicious.

  11. At Hubert Keller's The Burger Bar, he has five beer floats, two I loved: Blue Moon with strawberry ice cream and Lindemans with vanilla, two I really liked: Höegaarden with raspberry velvet ice cream and a dunkel with chocolate, and one that was decent: Guinness with coffee ice cream.