Shortly after sampling St. Arnold Spring Bock, I found out about Trentino Gelato's sorbet version. Don't ask me how it took me until now to realize that Houston's best gelato maker was using some of Houston's best beer. I don't know, either. The point is, I got some as soon as I knew I could.
I must have looked semi-mad checking out at the downtown Spec's, what with my full cart of gelato. I figured that, while picking up the Spring Bock Sorbet, I might as well pick up an extra pint or two. Or ten. There were a lot of flavors, man. I couldn't choose. Regardless, the Spring Bock was my primary target.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I've had beer ice creams before, with mixed results. I can tell you from experience that Shiner Bock makes terrific ice cream, while Guinness just doesn't work. You can't even really tell what the finished product is going to taste like, based on the flavor of the beer itself, as the process transforms the flavors significantly. Would Spring Bock Sorbet taste toasty and citrusy like the beer, or would it be something completely different?
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As it turned out, it's somewhere in the middle. The sorbet has a pleasant malty sweetness, but the toasty flavors of the beer come out tasting like coffee in this frozen form. The citrusy hops notes give way to a more floral palate, and the nutty and browned-butter flavors live on.
It didn't immediately remind me of the beer, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The added sugar and textural elements bring out a different side of the beer. It tastes deeper and bolder, but also manages to find some lighter notes not readily apparent in the beer, itself.
Unfortunately, I wasn't sure I liked it. Compared to the beer, it came across as a bit unbalanced. As I tasted it, it jumped somewhat wildly between earthy and floral flavors. It was actually kind of disconcerting. One second, I was tasting caramel-tinged espresso, and the next taste filled my mouth with potpourri. Then again, those contrasts are kind of interesting. In the name of thoroughness, I decided to finish the pint...