If you break a beer ice-cream float down to its individual ingredients, depending on the beer, you end up with something that resembles breakfast cereal. You've got your grains, and dairy, and flavorings, and your sugar — always sugar. And just like it's awesome to start the day with a truckload of fructose, craft breweries say it's fine to finish with some. (Plus, the beer is probably better for you in the vitamins, fiber and antioxidants department.)
A beer float is easily pulled off at home, and there's a great article on Serious Eats (bit.ly/1uP2UcQ) that features various cicerones dishing on their favorite pairings. You can do Wells Banana Bread Beer with white-chocolate ice cream; or Lindemans Framboise with dark chocolate ice cream; or my personal favorite of vanilla ice cream, Fernet-Branca, and Ska Brewing Co.'s Vernal Minthe Stout.
No matter what, you should avoid beers that carry a lot of bitterness, as the ice cream seems to accentuate that and make it suck. Also, don't be afraid to let the two melt into each other.
But there are times when you want somebody else to make it, bring it, take it away and wash it — for around $5 to $10 — and for those times, we present these four spots. Wait until the liquid marriage frosts over, clink spoons, and guzzle on, friends. And if it gets a little messy, well, it's summertime: Go get the garden hose.
The beer float may have found its champion in Great Storm Brewing Co. (204 Mount View Lane, #3, greatstormbrewing.com), which created a beer specifically to host ice cream. Its "very sweet" rum-raisin stout is made with milk sugar and fermented with dark brown sugar, oats and, of course, raisins. It's smoothed out further by being served on nitro, and features scoops of Blue Bunny vanilla.
Colorado Mountain Brewery (1110 Interquest Pkwy., 600 S. 21st St., cmbrew.com) takes its medium-bodied Monumental Stout — which it says "begins with a rich, roasted coffee bouquet and progresses through an array of milk and dark chocolate flavors" — and pairs it with Dreyer's vanilla-bean ice cream.
Amid the dark wood paneling and Gaelic accouterments at Shamrock Brewing Co. (108 W. Third St., Pueblo, shamrockbrewing.com), find a beauty made with the brewery's own Irish Porter, a sturdy beer made with caramel and chocolate malts and weighing in at 4.8 percent ABV. That's then combined with chocolate syrup, chocolate and vanilla ice creams from Shamrock Farms, a little heavy cream and some whipped cream. (Say "cream" again.)
Wild Goose Meeting House (401 N. Tejon St., wildgoosemeetinghouse.com) is willing to satiate your needs in whatever combination of beer and ice cream that it stocks. But the day we stopped by, the recommended order was pairing Josh & John's Oatmeal Cookie ice cream with Oskar Blues' coffee stout Bolivia Newton John. It arrived dusted in nutmeg, the ice cream oozing white streaks downward, Matrix-style.