Strange brew: Speedway debuts beer, bacon and maple milkshake
There are few things that are universally adored by just about every red-blooded American, but most of us will never say no to beer, bacon or a nice scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
But what about all three of them whirled together in a blender and served in a commemorative 16-ounce glass?
Well, you can find out for yourself if you're in Texas (where else?) between October 31st and November 3rd during the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR race week at Texas Motor Speedway. The racetrack will be offering the “Shake 'n Bacon Brew” milkshake at the "Pig Rig" located on the main concourse, the same place that recently offered the pig-infused "Hawg Heaven" bacon cotton candy.
The $10 Franken-shake blends six ounces of Texas’ own Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream, six ounces of Rahr & Sons Ugly Pug black lager, two ounces of bacon-infused maple syrup and two ounces of candied bacon bits into a smoky, creamy culinary monstrosity, just in time for Halloween.
This chunky, cream-colored artery clogger is topped with a generous portion of whipped cream and more crumbles of bacon. There's also an alcohol-free version called the “Shake ‘n Bacon Brewless” which swaps out the black lager for root beer — perfect for those kiddies who want to get a head start at boosting their LDL cholesterol levels. I guess we now know what was in those shakes from the movie “WALL-E” (all we need are the red jumpsuits and the people movers!).
While bacon, beer and maple syrup might sound like odd pintfellows, it’s not a new concept. For the past few years, Newport Oregon’s Rogue Ales has been making Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale, a brew that contains three types of smoked malts (one of them smoked with hickory wood), applewood-smoked bacon, and maple “flavoring.”
The result is a 5.6 percent ABV ale that’s sweet, smokey and has a meaty quality. While interesting to try, it’s most likely not the kind of thing you’ll want to seek out time and again, unless you’re using it to make a beer float, as a scoop of vanilla ice cream turns this brew into a surprisingly tasty treat. Maybe the folks down at Texas Motor Speedway are on to something after all.
Of course if you want to go old school with smokey beers, consider trying a rauchbier, a 500-year-old German style that employs fire-smoked malts to imbue the brew with a taste reminiscent of a meaty campfire. While novelty beers like Rogue’s Voodoo Maple Bacon Ale and the Shake 'n Bacon Brew might be fun to try on a lark, rauchbiers are pretty well regarded by beer dorks everywhere.
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen is an excellent example of the rauchbier style that’s fairly easy to find across the United States. Pour this dark 5.1 percent ABV beauty into your glass, and your nose will be treated to notes of smoked meats, caramel and bread. A sip reveals a subdued smokiness, with a nutty and roasty malt backbone playing host to a well-balanced mix of cured ham, charred hickory and an earthy sweetness. The finish is surprisingly neat and dry, leaving just a touch of smoked sausage lingering on your palate. If you’re looking for a meaty beer, this is probably your best bet.
Then again, I haven’t had the chance to try the Shake ‘n Bacon Brew milkshake at Texas Motor Speedway. There’s always a chance that it will be a masterful mash-up of meat, dairy and beer.
But I doubt it. All things considered, I’d rather take my beer, bacon and ice cream one course at a time, thank you very much.