School is back in session, college and pro football is upon us, and in some places that means fall is right around the corner. Cooler weather, heartier food, sweaters (though we hear sweater vests are out this season), and a decreased need for cold beer. Here, however, we're getting hit by wave after wave of heat, and September doesn't mean much beyond more weekend hours spent indoors watching football. To help you beat the heat and kick your gamedays up a notch, we're prepared to share with you our latest discovery: beer popsicles.
If you ever turned juice into popsicles as a kid, you can probably imagine how to make beersicles. If you happen to have one of the plastic trays with deep wells and sticks to hold your popsicles, perfect. Just pour the beer in and stick it in the freezer. If you don't have a popsicle mold, a plastic cup with a spoon or stick in it will surely do just fine. You can cut a hole in a paper plate or use plastic to keep your stick upright in the freezer. But, really, why don't you have a popsicle mold? Where's your sense of fun and whimsy?
As for which beers to use, the possibilities are endless, though not every beersicle is created equal. We made several unfortunate choices before finding our groove. Let us first and foremost caution you against beers with too much alcohol, or beers that are overly bitter, because those flavors seem to be magnified by the freezing. Our first attempt was a mistake on both counts. We hoped the combination of pine flavor and roasted malt in Stone's 15th Anniversary Imperial Black IPA would make for a tasty frozen treat, but it turned out extremely harsh, with both the bitterness and alcohol even more pronounced than they are in the liquid version. Similarly, The Bruery's Marrón Acidifié, a quite sour Oud Bruin-style beer, sounded refreshing in frozen form, but again turned out extremely harsh and unpleasant. Bud Light, mostly a gag beersicle, was predictably gross. The freezing made it taste stale and even worse than its liquid counterpart.
Our first success came with Stone's Chocolate Stout. The collaboration brew is very sweet, and that translated quite well to frozen form. Though its ABV is on the higher side at more than 7%, the sweetness mostly covered it up. We made another solid beersicle with Lost Coast's Tangerine Wheat, a summer special that tastes almost exactly like orange soda. The tangerine came through and the alcohol didn't, and it was nice and refreshing. If you try these or similar sweet, low ABV beers and find them still too harsh, we recommend cutting your beersicles with simple syrup and maybe even lime juice, which should cool off some alcohol heat.
Thinking about beersicles got us brainstorming about other frozen beer combinations, especially considering the awesomeness that is the beer float. Milk shakes could be a nice treat, as could a bit of beer poured over ice cream, like an alcoholic affogato (perhaps with Speedway Stout or Beer Geek Brunch Weasel). Beer ice cubes in a drink could also add some interesting flavors, maybe stout cubes in an iced coffee, or even something strange like old ale cubes in horchata. Tried any of these? Feeling inspired to come up with your own combination? Leave a comment to spread the wealth.