Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

June 23, 2014 at 8:13am

Beer Here: Beer Float Social and a busy Wednesday

Beer Float: Is this level of decadence even legal? There should be a secret codephrase, at least.

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One of my favorite memories of my Lakewood childhood was Career Day at Oakbrook Elementary, instead of sitting in on the physician's lecture or learning about animals from the local veterinarian, I helped a classmate's mom make root beer in a giant garbage pale. In my memory, the root beer tasted roundly sweet, like cane sugar soda does - I don't remember Mrs. Laakso dumping corn syrup into the concoction. After each of us took turns stirring, the principal - who also must not have cared much for the medical arts sessions - arrived with frosty (glass! not styrofoam!) mugs each with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The joy from our little room was far greater than those listening to heartbeats in the next room. Of course, those inspired by the stethoscope probably play gold every Wednesday and have a receptionist.

Along with carhops and car-bound family meals, having a root beer float seems like an equally bygone-era idea - rich and sweet and heavy yet utterly wholesome, like putting a slice of cheddar cheese on your apple pie, or so I hear.

All of this is a pretty lengthy preamble to this New Beer Column submission - and thanks, if you've stuck around this long.

I graduated from Oakbrook, and root beer for that matter. I now prefer beer with my ice cream. Seriously, stop scowling. Unwrinkle your nose. It works, thanks to stout's coffee and cocoa undertones, which pair well with the creamy vanilla.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to beer floats: "Ooh, that sounds delicious," and "Ooh, I'd rather drink Purina pet food runoff." But despite a small cadre of haters, beer floats have been slowly dripping into the mainstream. Red Robin has been leading the charge, offering shakes made with Guinness and Blue Moon. Los Angeles hosts a Beer Float Showdown. Maritime Pacific Brewing Co. in Seattle has been serving Jolly Rogers Christmas Ales floats for years.

Beer can help bring some bitterness and dryness to an ice cream, which is traditionally sweeter than other desserts. It has this great functionality. But as artisan ice cream makers seek local ingredients that push the envelope, craft beers offer new dimensions, preferably a strong stout or fruity ale, such as Bourbon Stout, Raspberry Stout, Cherry Stout, Vanilla Stout, Citrasicle Orange Vanilla IPA, Cherry Ale, Raspberry Ale and Jasmine Green Tea Pale ... from Tacoma Brewing Co.

Tacoma Brewing Co. will team up with Tacoma's artisan Ice Cream Social for a night of beer floats Saturday, June 28. From 2-9 p.m., Ice Cream Social will plop a scoop of its chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, lavender, bourbon stout and non-daily coconut creations into parfait glasses. "Or pint glasses if I run out of fancy glassware," says Morgan Alexander, co-owner of Tacoma Brewing Co.

"The first time I had a beer float was at the ParkWay Tavern. It was on their Randall," says Alexander. "It was Southern Tier Brewing Company's Crème Brulee Imperial Milk Stout, which is so rich it's hard to drink a whole pint. Then the ParkWay added ice cream to it - so delicious. I knew then I wanted to hold a beer float night."

The darkest, most concentrated beers, such as stouts, tend to make the best base for beer floats as the water in beer tends to create icy textures, making it difficult to make a creamy ice cream with discernible beer flavors.

Ice Cream Social, which is scheduled to open Tuesday, June 24 on Sixth Avenue next to The Red Hot, began as a food truck, with the goal of sourcing locally.

"Ice Cream Social is all about providing the highest quality product to our customers. We believe the best way to achieve this is (by) purchasing local, all-natural ingredients," said Jamie Van De Wege, co-owner of Ice Cream Social. "Providing a consistent, high-quality ice cream also depends on the freshness of our ingredients. We can only guarantee this by sourcing locally as much as possible."

Besides beer floats, Alexander will run his delicious Broken Window IPA through a slushie machine. Someone will undoubtedly experience brain freeze that night.

For a little warmth, The Rolling Crust pizza guy will roll up with his portable wood-fired oven at 5 p.m.

Kim Thompson contributed to this column.

BEER FLOATS SOCIAL, 2-9 p.m., Saturday, June 28, Tacoma Brewing Co., 625 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.242.3370

BEER HERE

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25

Speaking of Tacoma Brewing Co., The Red Hot has ordered a couple of its kegs for its new space, which opens Wednesday, June 25. It will close at the end of today, spend Tuesday moving everything next door, and re-open at the corner of Sixth Avenue and North Junett Street.

Puyallup River Brewing and its Ale House (120 S. Meridian, Puyallup) hugs it out with visiting Narrows Brewing Co. over beers, giveaways and raffle prizes from 6-9 p.m.

Yo Sourheads! A Pucker Party will go down at Pint Defiance (2049 Mildred St. W., Tacoma) featuring special sour beer draft releases 5-7 p.m. Expect Oude Bruins, Berliner Weissebiers, Krieks, Sour Blondes from Petrus, Lost Abbey, Jolly Pumpkin, Cascade and many others.

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About this blog

Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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