Black cherry ice cream with your brew? Get the scoop on beer floats

Story and photos by Valentina Silva

The 2nd Annual Beer Float Showdown, hosted by Food GPS, went off at Verdugo Bar in Glassell Park this past Sunday. Admittedly, the whole beer-plus-ice-cream concept was a little baffling at first, but I can now say I love beer floats!

Simmzy’s Cherry Pie (pictured above), the prettiest of the bunch, was my first float of the evening. It was sort of a revelation since when I first heard about the contest, all I could imagine was stout with vanilla ice cream. Simmzy’s opened my mind by using a cherry Lambic called Brouwerij Verhaeghe Kriek, which was on the lighter side, giving it a soda feel. The ice cream was black cherry brown sugar with lots of tart cherry chunks. I took their advice and let the snickerdoodle garnish soak up the beer—surprisingly awesome.

Float number 2 was the Lime Surprise by Tony’s Darts Away, a vegan bar/restaurant in Burbank. Made with an icy vegan lime sherbet, which was scooped into a half lime, this entry was the most refreshing of the group. The beer was 100% organic Acai Berry Wheat from Eel River Brewing Co., spiked with a lime salt that gave it a margarita vibe. I was into how milky the drink became when the sherbet melted.

Ladyface Alehouse went seasonal with a Weizenbock, their own house-made Oktoberfest ale. The dark, rich beer worked well with their Intoxicated Cherry & Callibault Chocolate Ice Cream with brandied cherries. Ladyface achieved bitter/sweet contrast, adding porter reduction and beer brittle topping. When it all blended together, it tasted like a Yoo-Hoo, in the best way.

The last float of the night was also my favorite and the WINNER! I’m not much of an apple-cinnamon fan, but Boneyard Bistro disarmed me with their Floris Apple Ale/salted caramel-cinnamon ice cream combo. The ice cream was made by Drunken Udder and included Maker’s Mark, which added some warmth to the flavor and made it the most complex float of the showdown. The green apple garnish was a nice touch visually and it also soaked up the ale pretty nicely.

Valentina Silva is a regular contributor writing about food and restaurants. You can also find Valentina’s reviews and stories on her new blog, Eastside Food Bites.

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