In Honor of Fred: the Beer Float

Many of us who are fortunate enough to live in the same town with Fred Eckhardt know about his beer experimentations, particularly his pairings with chocolate. And among these, we know of the legendary beer float--a decadent mixture of stout and ice cream that highlights his annual Beer and Chocolate Extravaganza. This year's version was the 20th annual, and as usual, the largest response came to the beer float. In honor of this great achievement in the beer sciences, I have put together a little video for those who may not have been exposed to this particular strain of genius.

Beer Float
The variations on this theme are perhaps infinite, given the variety of both the types of ice cream and styles of beer. In Fred's version, it's usually a stout (if memory serves). One might successfully pair chocolate, coffee, or vanilla ice cream with stouts, but if you're going for a high-alpha stout, you want to avoid vanilla. In my recent experimentation, a rule of thumb is that sweeter beers tend to work better than hoppy ones (I found great success with Black Butte Porter). Hops have a very different type of bitterness than coffee or chocolate, and it clashes with ice cream.

This summer I may experiment with lambics and fruit ice cream, or perhaps a dubbel. Your mileage may vary, but regard all efforts as worthy scientific investigations. You may discover something surprising. Oh, and one other important bit of advice. Don't put the ice cream in first. Beer reacts with sugar and you get a glass full of foam.