I've always been a bit of an irregular sweet eater, but when I do eat dessert I do my best to make the act one of extreme decadence. I have a favorite recipe for a chocolate cake that serves 12, but I think it's best when it's cut to serve six so that the slices eclipse the plate. They're almost impossible to finish (I mean, not for me) but you can always start up again in an hour or so, and the audacity of the serving makes for a great cake memory.
So when I saw Steven Harrell's post about a Lakewood Temptress beer float served in a diminutive glass suited to a baby's spoon, only one thought came to my mind: Cute.
I'm sure the dessert provided a prudent portion, but it went against everything I stand for. I immediately set out to best the dessert, which I figured would be as easy as stealing soft serve from a toddler. Turns out is was. And it was completely less guilt-ridden.
The best ice cream beer float has to start with the best ice cream, so I headed over to Carnival Barker's takeout window at the Truck Yard. I knew I was going to go with Lakewood's Temptress Milk Stout (chocolate flavors, over 9 percent ABV -- perfect), so I scanned the menu for flavors that I thought would play along. Dill was out, obviously, and I didn't want anything chunky like pecans or candy floating around in the slurry, so I opted for one container of vanilla and one of chocolate Nutella. Together they added up to a full pint of ice cream.
The next play was obvious, because the Blind Butcher was right around the corner and they happened to serve beer by the liter. And a few moments later, I was dumping the contents of two white cardboard containers into a massive mug of beer.
Then I slid the whole thing down the bar to Jesse Hughey, our copy editor. I'd just reviewed the Vagabond, where I consumed far too many burgers in the previous weeks. I left this one to the professionals: Jesse just happens to dabble in competitive eating
Jesse's a pretty chill guy, but as we walked to our seats in the Blind Butcher I could see him recede into his inner 6-year-old. Maybe that was because of all the eating challenges the guy normally faces, this one looked fun. Normally when Jesse consumes obnoxious amounts of food, it seems the dish is chosen for its abilities to destroy people -- chicken wings with enough hot sauce to best mace and chili-covered enchiladas stuffed with enough cheese to stop up a storm drain. I've watched Jesse endure such endeavors, and he looks like hell after the second bite. He's uncomfortable to stand around after he's finished for fear he might split a seam, and his face gets red and angry.
Yet here he wore a near permanent grin, working his way through the vanilla ice cream that floated on top, and then the chocolate Nutella beneath. Between bites of ice cream he took big swigs on the dark Temptress stout and then he worked on the remaining globules of ice cream.
There was only one brief moment of distress, concerning a layer of bitter foam Jesse encountered halfway though, but moments later he'd inverted the mug, chugging those last few ounces of melted ice cream and Temptress stout now the color of a cappuccino.
That last swig is magical stuff, as any float aficionado (beer, root beer or otherwise) knows well. Jesse's grin was still there as the empty mug hit the table. He said he gave the concoction a 10 out of 10. Something awkward happened though, as he pushed out his stool. Perhaps the increased inertia of his stomach caused its contents to shift. The smile had faded, but only a bit. "Make that a nine out of 10." And then he went off in search of a cheesesteak.
Note: The above concoction is not on the menu at Blind Butcher, The Truck Yard or at Carnival Barker's. I created it with my own craftiness. Please leave the construction and consumption of mega floats to the professionals.