Beer in a beer glass.

Beer ice cream has a long history. It’s not necessarily my first choice, but there’s something substantial about it. I mean, two great things that go great together — unlike wine sorbets and whiskey ice creams, which, while fun, don’t have the sort of everyday feel that ice cream and beer both have.

I picked a local beer that one of my closest friends, whom we refer to by his initials (BCB), once jokingly called “Snowberon.” It’s a wheat beer made in MI (like both BCB and myself) and I’ve used its initials as well in the naming. But you can really use any lighter beer. Darker beer recipes are for another day.



2 cups milk

2 cups cream

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon orange zest

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 12-oz bottle of beer (a wheat, blonde, or pale ale will work best)

½ teaspoon salt

2 egg yolks


Combine the beer and sugar in a medium pot and heat over medium heat until it starts to steam. It can simmer but shouldn’t boil. Let it cook for half an hour. Add 2 cups cream, 1 cup milk, orange zest, black pepper, and salt.

Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl. It’s OK if there are some traces of egg white — no need to be a perfectionist — but try to minimize that. Place one cup milk in a large bowl and position a strainer above.

When the dairy mixture is hot but not yet simmering (honestly, if it starts to simmer a little, you’ll be OK), slowly ladle about a cup into the egg yolks, whisking with one hand while ladling with the other to temper the yolks.

Once complete, transfer the yolk mixture to the pot, and then return to medium heat. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom at times. Once the custard is thick enough to slightly coat the back of the spatula (another sign: you will start to notice that scraping the bottom of the pot encounters some solid residue), remove from heat and pour through the strainer into the milk.

Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool for thirty minutes (if you’re too lazy, it’s ok to just do this on the counter). Then, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least two hours before churning.

When chilled, process the base in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze for eight hours.