Friday, December 11, 2015

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry's New Belgium Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale

My hometown and the city I currently reside in, Asheville, NC, has been dubbed Beer City. USA on multiple occasions since the poll first took place back in 2009. Since 2009, multiple big operation craft beer manufacturers have come to join the wide-array of small-scale breweries that are littered around Asheville. The most recent recognizable name to make the move to North Carolina was New Belgium. They've expanded their operation to include a brand new production facility, bottling facility and tasting room mere minutes from my apartment. So when we heard Ben & Jerry's was doing a beer-infused collaboration with our new neighbors, we were ecstatic.

We were first informed about the pint above via Freezer Find submission from a Florida Publix in early November. Despite our excitement and close proximity, it took us over a full month to track it down here in North Carolina. This limited batch of Ben & Jerry's New Belgium Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale consists of New Belgium Brown Ale Ice Cream with Fudge Brownies & Salted Caramel Swirls. The only other beer infused ice cream I've reviewed was a local Asheville collaboration between The Hop (a local creamery) and Altamont Brewing Company (a local small-scale craft beer brewery) which brought us the A-rated, base-only flavor of Altamont Red & Black IPA Ice Cream.

As soon as we opened removed the top from this pint of Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale, we knew we were in for a treat. The large gob of salted caramel swirl, bits of brownie, and light colored base made for a glorious looking first layer and at 250 calories per serving (1,000 for an entire pint) we knew the mix-ins would be dense from top to bottom. The aspect we were most intrigued about, the New Belgium Brown Ale ice cream, did not disappoint. This new base brought together a little sweetness, a little saltiness, and just enough of the brown ale to let the taste of hops as well as the chocolate and caramel undertones come through. The result was the ideal foundation to feature the two heavy-hitting mix-ins Ben & Jerry's chose for this creation: a thick salty caramel swirl and the famous brownies from Greyston.

We've seen these luscious, soft and chewy brownies in Ben & Jerry's classic flavors such as Chocolate Fudge Brownie and the now-not-available Brownie Chew Gooder, but never have they went so well with ice cream until paired with the New Belgium Brown Ale ice cream. The salted caramel component, which was easily visible even before digging in, didn't let up until the very end. Each spoon we removed from the pint seemed to uncover more of the viscous swirl, which played very well with the other two ingredients. This creative collaboration is the epitome of why we love Ben & Jerry's and always will.

Where I Found It: Ingles Markets
Grade: A

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