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Like beer in the sunshine

Summer is coming! The town is overcrowded, everyone wants to be outdoors. But as soon as the temperatures start to rise, you hear the voices of the first incorrigible moaners. I need to cool down! Hop into the lake? Possibly. An icecream? Please. A nicely chilled beer? Bring it on.

These are all excellent options for cooling down. But for the adventurous and dauntless among you, who are always willing to try something new, I have an alternative suggestion: beer icecream. This is actually just what it sounds like: a mixture of beer and icecream, since if beer is a superb choice for cooling yourself down, and so is icecream, why not both of them together?

“Where am I going to get my beer icecream from?” you are doubtless wondering. Well, you have two options – Option One: you stroll into an icecream parlour and buy a scoop. Option Two: you take action yourself and make your own (don’t worry, you won’t be needing any specialised cooking skills).

It’s too much trouble rattling the pots and pans yourself, nor do you feel like doing the dishes afterwards? Then Option One is the right choice for you! After all, exotic icecream flavours have long since ceased to be rarities. Next to caramel-seasalt and lemon-basil, beer icecream is in good company. Since out-of-the-ordinary icecream flavours are all the rage at present, it isn’t even all that difficult to find an icecream parlour that offers a beer flavour. For the Regensburg residents among you, for example, the obvious choice is the “Stella” icecream parlour near the Stone Bridge. For this article, of course, I bravely and self-sacrificingly volunteered to test it in person, although I normally prefer the classical flavours like chocolate, raspberry or stracciatella.

But – the beer icecream didn’t taste bad at all! Not something I would want to eat every day, but definitely worth a try. Especially as an appetiser before or as a dessert after visiting Regensburg’s twice-yearly fair, as recommended by the makers.

If that’s too boring for you, or you’ve already tried Option One, and are now looking for a challenge, here is Option Number Two: home-made beer icecream.

And here, too, you have a choice again: creamy gelato from the icecream-maker or an easy-peasy ice lolly. There are plenty of recipes. But since most of you probably aren’t going to have an icecream-maker at home, I’ll just give you the simpler variant: a lolly, or what the Bavarians call a steckerleis.

“What works with water, milk and juice, can’t be bad with beer!” is the watchword for this pilot project.

The basic idea is essentially to mix beer with lemon or lime juice and a bit of sugar or agave syrup. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Here, too, of course, I boldly tested it myself:

As the beer, I used a normal light ale. When it comes to the lemon juice, you have to be a bit careful, otherwise it’ll end up tasting too sour, but you can solve that with some added sugar. For a visual effect, I also put a small slice of lemon in the mould; after all, the eyes “do some licking” as well! Then stick it in the freezer compartment and wait.

For the daredevils among you, there’s also an advanced variant: beer icecream in combination with fruits! Here, you purée some fruits of your choice (berries are good, for instance), mix them with some syrup and beer, and freeze that too.

I contented myself with the beginners’ variant, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. My first home-made beer icecream was in fact wonderfully refreshing, and didn’t taste at all bad either – rather like a shandy (which isn’t all that astonishing with a combination of beer, lemon juice and sugar). Unfortunately you couldn’t see the slice of lemon at the end but at least it was a tasty and sour surprise!

My verdict: as a party gimmick, the beer lolly is an excellent idea, but in the long run I would say “Stick with the day job”, and prefer a quite normal icecream (home-made or from the icecream parlour) and then a nicely chilled beer from my favourite brewery afterwards.

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