When most people think of frozen beer, they envision that exploding bottle forgotten in the freezer. But not at 26 Degree Brewing in Pompano Beach.
The beer slushie — beer served frozen — is now an option at the Broward County brewery. Co-owner and brewer Greg Lieberman began offering his creation this week.
"I was at a festival last summer and it was like 5,000 degrees outside, and I thought, Too bad there's not a way to get beer even colder," Lieberman says. "From there, it's been a work in progress getting the idea just right."
26 Degree Brewing uses a commercial frozen margarita machine to create its beer slushies, which pour like frozen margaritas. When he began experimenting, Lieberman says, he started with higher-gravity beers like his Ziko's Rage imperial stout, but the consistency wasn't right.
To solve the problem, he decided to brew 26 Degree's first gose after consulting with the Pompano Beach-based Bangin' Banjo Brewing, which offers a number of gose-style beers for its annual Anything Gose Beer Fest. The resulting brew is mixed with fresh fruit to create tropical-drink-inspired slushies, including a margarita-flavored one he's named Gose Before Bros, which will debut this Friday, April 27.
"They're definitely the authorities on the style around here," Lieberman says of Bangin' Banjo. "Our gose took inspiration from theirs, and from there we give it a fresh fruit-based treatment before putting it in the machine. So far, we've had strawberry orange and a lemon, ginger, and agave. The idea is to have something new every day."
The slushies are served in six- and ten-ounce pours for $4 to $6 apiece. For now, the machine is able to make about 15 to 20 servings at a time. "So once it's gone, it's gone until the next day," Lieberman says.
Although 26 Degree Brewing is one of the first in the area to create a frozen beer, the idea isn't all that new. In 2012, Japanese beer brand Kirin created Kirin Ichiban Frozen Beer, made with a machine that creates a frozen beer head meant to keep the brew colder longer. The beer is available at 1-800-Lucky in Wynwood.
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Several independent breweries across the nation have created beer-based frozen beverages, including slushie-style drinks made by Barrel Culture Brewing & Blending in Durham, North Carolina, or the soft-serve-style beer-based ice cream from Burley Oak Brewing in Berlin, Maryland.
"The plan is to keep this going all summer long," Lieberman says. "It's the perfect summer beer."
If you love beer, check out New Times' Brew at the Zoo Saturday, May 12. From 8 to 11 p.m., sample unlimited beers from more than 100 breweries including local favorites. In addition, rock out to '80s classics from A Flock of Seagulls, live in concert. Ticketholders also receive free admission to the zoo the day of the event. General-admission tickets cost $40 and include entry to the event at 8 p.m., unlimited beer samples in GA, access to food for purchase, admission to the zoo the day of the event, and entertainment. Brewmaster ticketholders ($70) get early entry to Brew at the Zoo at 7 p.m. VIP tickets ($80) include early entry at 7 p.m. and access to a special area that comes with perks such as full-size beer pours as well as spirits and wine samplings. In addition, VIP ticketholders will enjoy food samplings from Amour de Miami, JR's Gourmet Burgers, Rubio's Coastal Grill, Yarumba Restaurant, Diced, Bonefish Grill, and Fifi's on the Beach. Purchase tickets at newtimesbrewatthezoo.com.
26 Degree Brewing Co. 2600 E. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach; 954-532-6964; 26brewing.com.