Outer Range Brewing Co. debuts beer ice cream
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Beer isn’t just for drinking. Not only can the beverage be used to enhance the flavors of more savory dishes like stews, batters and breads, but it also can transform into a refreshing dessert. Frisco’s Outer Range Brewing Co. has new beer soft serve ice cream that marries its unique offerings with the cool treat.
However, this isn’t simply a stout float that has a scoop of vanilla ice cream sitting in a pint glass. The brewery has a special Below Zero soft serve machine that uses a liquid nitrogen mix to freeze the alcohol — which has a lower freezing point than water — and give it the right consistency. Brewery co-founder Lee Cleghorn first had it at Mikerphone Brewing in Chicago a couple of years ago, and then his wife and co-owner Emily Cleghorn had it at breweries in Florida over the past year.
“A lot of breweries do beer slushies, but this was the first time I ever tried beer soft serve,” Emily Cleghorn said. “As opposed to a slushy that’s kind of icy, we were really into the texture and tasting of it feeling like actual soft serve,” Emily Cleghorn said.
The two then decided to order their own machine to bring the soft serve to Summit County one flavor at a time. The mix to make the ice cream is dairy free, but so far Outer Range has used only kettle sours that are made with lactose. The brewery started with The Bright Side from its recent Spring Fling party that was brewed with passion fruit, raspberries and white peaches.
Following the trial run, the flavor changed to Mama’s Pank Drank that contains dragon fruit, banana, guava and passion fruit in honor of Mother’s Day. The goal is to now have the ice cream available for the foreseeable future, and Outer Range has already ordered about six months worth of mix.
Emily Cleghorn said the sours will likely be the norm as the fruit-forward profile tends to translate best to ice cream. Don’t expect an India pale ale in a cone, even though that’s one of the brewery’s specialties.
“We are anticipating a lot of demand for it as it gets warmer, so we are ready,” Emily Cleghorn said. “The real limitation is just the beer. … We might experiment later on, but we know this tastes good, so we’re going to go with that for now.”
One thing to keep in mind while cooling off with a cup of ice cream is that it is alcoholic. The alcohol by volume is the exact same as the beer used in the machine — it isn’t diluted or cooked off in any way — meaning Mama’s Pank Drank ice cream is 6.6% ABV.
Knowing that ice cream is popular with all ages, though, Bird Craft — the fried chicken restaurant inside the brewery — is dispensing soft serve sans alcohol. Outer Range’s ice cream costs $7 in a cup or a sugar cone, and it comes with free sprinkles. Emily Cleghorn said they will eventually switch to cake cones. Meanwhile, Bird Craft’s ice cream is $6.
I didn’t get the chance to try The Bright Side as an ice cream, but Mama’s Pank Drank ice cream had a tart berry flavor. In terms of texture, I found it more like sorbet than a creamy soft serve. The banana flavor comes through at the end to help round it out.
In the glass, the drink is much brighter in color and flavor. It’s more sour than the ice cream, and I also tasted a fair amount of guava that I didn’t encounter when frozen.
On the other hand, Bird Craft’s soft serve is traditionally creamy with a rich coconut flavor. It is topped with a combination of toasted coconut, butterscotch crunch and puffed rice to add texture.
Jefferson Geiger is the arts and entertainment editor for the Summit Daily News and managing editor for Explore Summit. Have a question about beer? Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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