Yuengling Black & Tan

Everything old is new again; such is the case with Yuengling Ice Cream. Many breweries were forced to scramble to find new avenues of business when the 18th Amendment to the Constitution prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages. Established in 1920, as a direct result of this issue, Yuengling Ice Cream was established by Frank D. Yuengling, owner of D.G. Yuengling & Son Brewery. The dairy enjoyed healthy sales well after Prohibition was repealed, only closing up shop in 1985.

In 2014, David Yuengling announced the return of the historic Yuengling Ice Cream brand, introducing the product to new generation of ice cream and beer lovers alike. I decided to go the no-brainer route, and pair Yuengling’s Black & Tan beer with their Black & Tan ice cream.

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So right off the bat, there’s no sense in sugar coating this: I’m not fond of Yuengling Black & Tan beer. The two elements, porter and lager, fight each other on the palette the throughout the sip. Despite the color, the standard lager taste prevails. A bit of dark malt is quickly engulfed by bitterness on the back of the tongue. The lager comes back on the finish, but only in an unpleasant, metallic, sour way. I certainly would have assumed that I would like Black & Tan more than Yuengling’s flagship lager, but what you gain in flavor, you lose in, well, good flavor.

I am much happier to report that Yuengling’s Black & Tan ice cream is considerably better. Simply, Black & Tan is a swirl of Belgian Chocolate and Salted Caramel ice creams. It’s on the light side of premium ice cream, which is pleasant in its own way. No need to get bogged down in overbearing flavors for a fairly straightforward concept. The Salted Caramel is airy and subtle, with the salt just cutting the sweetness enough to be detectable. The Belgian Chocolate is far deeper, with a tasty helping of bitter cocoa, reminding me of chocolate mousse. Together, the two flavors and textures work extremely well on the spoon.

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With regards to the pairing of the two Black & Tans, it doesn’t work out too well. Finishing a spoonful of ice cream and working towards the beer, there’s no real taste to the beer. It’s kind of like washing down your ice cream with a glass of water. Certainly not my post-ice cream beverage of choice.

Vice versa, a swig of beer into the bite ice cream isn’t ideal either. After the beer, the ice cream tastes like a simple soft-serve – the kind you would get out of a do-it-yourself machine. By itself, the ice cream’s rich cream backbone comes a split second later than you’d expect. The lingering bitterness of the beer counteracts the cream, leaving only the cold, sugary front of the ice cream taste.

I’m glad Yuengling ice cream is back, since it’s quite tasty, and I never had a chance to give it a shot the first time around. Hopefully moving forward, I’ll find a beer flavor combination more befitting of the legacy and quality of the ice cream.

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