When you turn 21 in America, you’re introduced to the indulgence of being able to legally drink anywhere and everywhere. It becomes a time of discovery, seeing what will eventually become your signature drink (for me at 24, it’s a properly-made Old Fashioned) or what will become the drink you cannot ever have again (vodka-cranberry, I’m giving you some serious side-eye). It was unimaginable that some of these drinks existed. I remember going to restaurants and staring at the drink menu in disbelief that drinks like mudslides and adult milkshakes were real. How was it possible to pair the often-harsh taste of alcohol, something not quite palatable to my then-inexperienced taste buds, with the sweet and creamy joy of ice cream? It seemed far beyond me.
Nowadays, incomprehension of alcohol and ice cream together are long gone. I see it often all over social media—sorority girls from my college days touting the “ultimate girls’ night treat” of wine ice cream, though I will admit I’ve never seen someone actually try it. I decided to branch out of my “drinks grandfathers enjoy” comfort zone and give myself a challenge: is alcoholic ice cream worth it? After a bit of research, I found that wine ice cream was harder to come by in Atlanta than that of the beer variety, so off I trekked to the nearest craft beer store to pick up two pints of ice cream. This seems to be a rather small market for indulgence right now. However, with Ben & Jerry’s partnering with New Belgium to make both a (non-alcoholic) beer ice cream and a (relatively alcoholic) ice cream beer, my Paste-qualified trendsetter-senses think this will be a pretty big thing soon.
Honey IPA and Vanilla Bock were my flavors of choice, both by local brand Frozen Pints. “Have your beer and eat it too”, their slogan cheekily announced. Into my freezer they went, finding their new home next to a frozen pizza, a fish-shaped ice-mold tay, and a half-eaten pint of (regular, all-ages) Ben & Jerry’s.
Before giving my review, please know I am not a big craft beer drinker. Yes, I do enjoy craft beer. Who doesn’t? But I am by no means a beer critic, like the panel of editors and beer-lovers who do our blind taste tests. However, I am a big ice cream eater, so take that as you may.
Both the Honey IPA and Vanilla Bock had a smooth, creamy texture, but neither had the flavor I was anticipating (and to be honest, hoping for). The Honey IPA (2.4% ABV) had much stronger of an IPA taste than I was expecting. It was dry and bitter, and (to my dismay) it felt as if the honey was more of an afterthought (though strangely it’s the first taste you’ll recognize). I once heard someone say, “I don’t like this beer, but if you like this kind of beer, you’ll love it.” That’s how I felt about the Honey IPA. If you like IPAs, I can almost guarantee you’ll like this beer ice cream. It’s very much an IPA flavor. If you are like me and are more attracted to the honey aspect, I don’t recommend it.
As for the Vanilla Bock (3.1% ABV), this was more my speed. I am a fan of dark beers and love vanilla, so I was excited to try it. However, it was much more alcoholic-tasting than I expected. Once again, the sweetness you expect from ice cream was heavily taken over by traditional beer flavor. Like I said for the Honey IPA, if you like Bock beer, and I mean REALLY like it, you’ll love this ice cream. But once again if you’re more interested in the vanilla portion of the title, you may as well go pick up a pint of vanilla ice cream and call it a day. At such low ABVs, the point of this ice cream is not to get drunk—it’s to enjoy the authentic beer taste in a less-traditional way.
Care to try it yourself? Here are five companies (online and sold in select stores) that make and sell alcoholic ice creams.
This is wine ice cream, available in select stores in several states and for purchase through a fairly-antiquated print-out form which you either email or fax. Flavors include Peach White Zinfandel, Cherry Merlot and Red Raspberry Chardonnay.
The brand I tried, is available only in Georgia right now at select stores. Other flavors include Brown Chip Ale and Peach Lambic.
The sister company to Frozen Pints. This is liquor ice cream, also only available in Georgia at select stores. There are four flavors, one of which, Mojito, is a sorbet. These have higher ABVs than the beer variety—no surprise, since they are liquor-filled.
This can be found in several of the United States in select stores, and they offer both alcoholic popsicles and ice cream. Popsicles come in varieties like Margarita and Cosmopolitan, with ice cream flavors like Brandy Alexander.
These liquor-filled flavors can be found in quite a few places in in the Northeast and in the Midwest. Right now they have some enticing holiday flavors like candy cane vodka martini and maple bourbon eggnog.
Enjoy your frozen boozies, everyone.