Monday, November 16, 2015

New Belgium Brewing Company Teams Up With Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream To Make A Special Flavor Of Beer: Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale; And This Is An Article About Drinking That Beer And Subsequent Impressions

The title says it all, folks. I can see how it might be confusing, though. "This is an article about drinking that beer and subsequent impressions." I'm not drinking subsequent impressions, I'm following the AP style guide for headlines. What I'm actually doing is drinking the beer, and then using written word to describe my opinion about what I tasted. Now that we've cleared that up we can start drinking beer!

New Belgium Brewery is a brewery in Fort Collins Colorado who has been hitting the beer aisle hard with a frequently alternating line-up of delicious and creative beers. Ben & Jerry's is a Burlington Vermont ice cream company that has been hitting the ice cream aisle hard with a frequently alternating line-up of delicious and creative ice creams.

Isn't ice cream a weird thing? Like, not the food itself which I guess is also kind of weird if you think about it, but I mean loyalties and allegiances to ice cream brands based primarily on geography. It's like people pick a brand from around where they grew up and that's the best ice cream in the world and every other ice cream sucks and can't compare and my ice cream is definitely worth $5/scoop--you just have to try it. See, didn't I tell you it is the best? Anyways. I hope I don't get listeria from this beer.

So my understanding of how beer is made is that they boil some grains in water and add some hops and yeast and wait. Basically. Based on that knowledge, I can only assume that this beer was made by boiling salted caramel brownie ice cream and adding hops and yeast and waiting. Until I hear otherwise, that is how ice cream beer is made. I read something on the internet about homebrewers brewing beer with Gushers fruit snacks. Anything is possible.

You know, it just now occurred to me that I should have bought a pint of the namesake ice cream to pair with this beer and/or make an ice cream float. Maybe next time. Instead, I paired this beer with the traditional and time honored favorite: pizza. It was not ice cream pizza either.

The only photographic image I created of this beer is the lead image. You can see it is very dark with a light head. Oh, btw you guys, I'm not a professional beer taster--just an enthusiast--and I forgot to follow the Look, Smell, Taste, Feel, architecture of food/drink reviewing. Forgive me, I was excited. I acted as a lowly consumer. (I'm writing this later, and am out of beer).

So you can LOOK at its darkness. Such a dark appearance for a brown ale. It is nearly the color and shade of brownies.

And I SMELLED it because I have a tendency to smell whatever goes into my mouth. Part of that is biological, anyways. But I didn't smell it with intent. Consequently, I can't really comment on notes that I noticed. The overarching aroma, probably, was of chocolatey beer.

As for TASTE, well, I definitely tasted it. First of all, it didn't taste like ice cream. I don't know what I expected. But that's good, because I bought beer and not ice cream. And also at first, I was a little disappointed in how much it tasted like beer and none of the sweetness I anticipated came through. After more sips, though, my tongue began to discover the flavors beneath the malt. Flavors like chocolate, salty caramel, vanilla. So it is strongly a malty beer first and then you get some of the ice-cream-like flavors underneath. Mostly the chocolate/brownie flavor. There is also a bit creaminess to it.

That creaminess is not ice-creaminess. It's more like a smoothness. Like a silk sheet on top of a tray of brownies. Um, can we get a tray of brownies in here, actually? So, mouthFEEL: creaminess. But it is also surprisingly light and doesn't leave a heavy film in your mouth. Which, ITAHO (in this author's humble opinion), makes this quite sessionable. At 6.25% alcohol by volume it's not going to knock you off of your yule log. Being so easy to drink, though, it may lead to problems with "liking" things on facebook that you might not have otherwise liked, if you get what I mean.

OVERALL a solid entry into the novelty beer category. Would I pick it up again? Yeah maybe if I were with someone else who hadn't had it yet. I'm not going to have X's on my calendar counting down to next year's release date or anything. Heck, will they make it again? It might be a one-time-only beer (and you know how much that makes my FOMO rage). Besides, I don't even have a paper calendar. It's such a poor investment. You have to get a new one every twelve months. But at the same time it's such a commitment--like, what theme do I want to see images of all year long? Yeah so, it tastes good and is easy to drink for a dark beer (I consider this more of a dark beer than a brown ale) and has a decent abv and only cost $8.99 for a sixer. What else are you looking for?

Additionally, profits from sales of this beer go to the "Protect Our Winters" group fighting climate change. Allegedly. So you can thank me for being an activist eco-minded individual who cares about this planet and its inhabitants. Although, I kind of don't like winter. It's so dark and cold. You know like it's 6PM and it feels like midnight and it sort of shuts down your desire to do anything that involves being outside of your blanket. Maybe I should litter the bottles after consuming as sort of a carbon-offset-offset. The stillness is nice though. I like the stillness of winter. And the icy atmospheric clarity. Okay, I will recycle.

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