[intro-text size=”25px”]What could possibly be better than beer and ice cream? Ice cream flavored beer? Sure. Well New Belgium brewing and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream have teamed up to do just that. While Ben & Jerry’s is known for their outrageous combinations of ingredients and flavors, and New Belgium is known for their critically acclaimed Fat Tire Amber Ale amongst other year round brews, it’s not the first connection that comes to mind, but nonetheless they made it happen and with good reason.[/intro-text]Although this brew is sure to please craft beer consumers all around the country it also stands for a cause. Both companies are “B Corporations”, or beneficial corps, that are held to performance standards, one of which is their impact on the environment. This particular collaboration will focus on the Protect Our Winters program to help combat climate change, an awareness issue both companies are passionate about. But enough about the responsible stuff, let’s get to the beer.
Ben & Jerry’s provided the salted caramel brownie ice cream side and New Belgium provided the brown ale side, aptly named the Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale. Set to release nationally on November 2nd, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a 6 pack and taste this mad-scientist creation. Below is my review based on the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) scoresheet categories. I will review it as both a brown ale and a specialty beer. I will however leave out assigning numerical values to each category.
Aroma: Malt focused, with dark crystal malts (caramel/burnt caramel) at the forefront. Toasty/biscuit malts to follow creating a well balanced aroma. Hop aroma low, typical of a brown ale.
Appearance: Borders on brown, almost an intense ruby red when held up to light. Clarity is excellent. Head retention medium-low (poured from a bottle, full, into 16oz pint glass).
Flavor: Dark crystal malts control the first impression, shortly followed by toast and biscuit flavors and slight sour-dough bread like notes (not to be confused with sour off flavors or intention). Roast malt characters and chocolate profile are medium to medium-low (chocolate being on the lower end) but present and tend to linger with the appropriate hop bitterness. Salt flavor is very low to not present at all.
Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full, typical of a brown ale. Malty and rich with slight astringency from roasted malts. Would have liked more carbonation.
Overall Impression: I was expecting a burst of sweetness to hit the nose, but was pleasantly surprised. I was also expecting a salty, sweet mess but was pleasantly surprised again. Sometimes experimental/over-the-top beers can be just that, out of control, but this beer held its ground and I enjoyed it. I had another bottle for good measure and to check it sessionability. It’s safe to say I would have one after another. Overall, based on BJCP scoring guide, this was an Excellent brown ale. The roasted malts could have shown their face a bit more, as well as with carbonation (which could have been the pour). As far as a specialty beer, I would rate it Good, while missing on some marks. The name tells me salted caramel brownie brown ale, but the salt was almost non-existent and the chocolate was a bit too restrained.
If you’re dying to try this beer and you see me on the streets, please don’t beat me up, I’ve probably already consumed the short supply I was given. You’ll have to wait until the 2nd of November to get your paws on some. But when it does hit the shelves, make sure you don’t pass up on a tasty brown ale and of course a good cause.