Ice-cream flavoured beer, oh my!

Muskoka Brewery’s President Todd Lewin

Written by Ed Hitchins

Muskoka Brewery’s latest ice cream collaboration calls to mind sunny days on the patio.

For those who’ve already had enough of winter, you can have faith, and remember that summer is merely another 127 sleeps or six-plus months away, whatever you prefer.

That means endless trips to the cottage and long days on the patio where you can enjoy a nice cone of vanilla, lapping up the tasty treat while enjoying the hot weather.

This was inspiration that put Muskoka Brewery to launch their latest treat of their own: a collaboration between the 22-year-old brewery and Kawartha Dairy in Bobcaygeon, Ontario.

The result is Salty Caramel Truffle, a beer launched in February and available in LCBOs across  Ontario.

“One of our core values is that we’re thirsty,” Muskoka president Todd Lewin says. “We like to push the envelope and venture off the beaten path with different styles [of beer]. It pushes our brewery team as well in terms of experimenting.”

Having ingredients such as chocolate, caramel and ready malts, Lewin’s crew took several trips back and forth from cottage country make sure the process was just right.

The brewing team said that the exact number of ice cream flavours that were sampled to determine the decision on Salty Caramel Truffle is indefinite. The team at Muskoka Brewery worked with Kawartha Dairy to identify their most popular flavours, and then sampled each of those through the lens of determining what would work best in a beer.

The difficulty in brewing with ice cream, Lewin says, was making sure the thickness of the confectionary didn’t clog up the vats and having it “look like porridge.”

The result is a robust german style bock, a type of dark beer which takes anywhere from one-to-three months—perfect in time for the warmer weather as the snow melts away.

But, if you’re the home brewer who will give this a shot, there are somethings you should be reminded of.

Toronto Brewing Co. head Mark Verok thinks the thickness of milk could be problematic for your home brewery and has a few suggestions.

“The thing is with the ice cream in a vat is that it’s unrefrigerated dairy with lactose. You could put components of it in the beer [but] you may want to try lactose powder, truffle powder or even caramel extract. These may give you the creaminess. They’re not fermentable and will add sweetness as well,” says Mark. “Though if they added the ice cream before they steamed the vat, it would be okay.”

Already with a commitment to community in all of its products, Lewin says that 2018 won’t be the end for collaborations for Muskoka.

“We started these kind of projects for our 20th anniversary [in 2016]. Last year, we collaborated with Muskoka Roastery [in Huntsville] and used their coffee beans to make our Shinnicked Stout. Not only did we discover that these collaborations were fun, but also a really neat way to connect with like-minded companies.”

He also suggests Kawartha Dairy is working on an beer flavoured ice cream project, expected to hit shelves in the summer time….perfect for the patio.