I usually mock products self-consciously designed to taste like a completely different food medium, e.g., Blueberry Muffin Pop-Tarts. (Are people so conflicted that they can't decide between blueberry muffin and a regular Pop-Tart?).
But once again, the phrase "limited edition" led to me to violate my own scruples. This past weekend, I found myself sampling Dreyer's Root Beer Float Ice Cream, a seasonal flavor available from May through August. I guess the good people at Dreyer's have concluded that a significant percentage of their customer base craves root beer floats during the summer months but is too lazy to drop a scoop of ice cream into a mug of soda.
For the sake of full disclosure, I should add that root beer floats are not my favorite ice cream sodas; that honor goes to the "black cow" (vanilla ice cream in coke). However, a good root beer float is nothing to sniff at, especially when paired with an old-school tuna melt.
I liked the ice cream well enough, though the strong, syrupy root beer flavor just made me crave an ice cream soda. The somewhat gravelly texture made me suspect that it wasn't full fat, and sure enough, the nutrition facts (only 3.5 grams of fat per ½ cup compared to 8 or 9 grams of fat per ½ cup) and major ingredients (skim rather than whole milk) confirmed that this treat is closer to Dreyer's lighter "slow-churned" varieties, rather than "premium."
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After a few spoonfuls, I dumped the remainder of my bowl in eight ounces of root beer for an impromptu float. But then the refreshing, unadulterated taste of the root beer only highlighted substandard quality of the ice cream. Fed up, I abandoned the root beer, root beer float, and root beer float ice cream for some plain old chocolate chip cookies.