A London Fog, a latte made with earl grey tea and vanilla, is one of my favorite cold-weather caffeinated drinks. So when Harmony-based brewery ShuBrew announced a collaborative ice-cream beer line with Millie's Homemade Ice Cream, the first of which takes inspiration from Millie's seasonal London Fog ice cream, I knew I had to get a taste.
Made with a local earl grey tea (a black tea flavored with the oil of bergamot, an orange-like citrus), organic vanilla, and lactose, or milk sugar, ShuBrew's 5.8% London Fog Ale hits all the right notes of the popular Northwest latte-drink. Herbal, tea-spice tones hit the taste buds first, before giving way for a creamy aftertaste, channeling the frothiness of a latte.
As stated in the Facebook event promoting the beer launch earlier this month,
"[the] series will be representations of some of [the brewery's] favorite, seasonal Millie’s ice cream flavors through the lens of beer," and ShuBrew achieved a very similar taste by using the same tea and vanilla that Millie's used in its ice cream.
Compared side by side, the ale had a much stronger tea taste, while the ice cream tasted more like a latte. However, considering the ice cream is ice cream, that made sense. If you are able to get your hands on both products, I highly recommend mixing the two for a London Fog float - it's phenomenal and really brings out the creamy tones. For bonus points, add a lavender syrup to the concoction. It's a trick Starbucks uses in its London Fog lattes and the lavender enhances the drink with intoxicating floral notes.
The only downfall of the London Fog Ale was that, as a semi-lactose intolerant human, the amount of lactose in the beer was enough to upset my stomach. (I split the pint of peer four ways with my coworkers.) But ShuBrew clearly states that there is lactose in the beverage, so that was my fault. And getting to drink one of my favorite lattes in beer form was totally worth the after-effects.
Drafts of the ale are currently available at ShuBrew's restaurant in Zelienople or brewery in Harmony, as well as four-packs in limited quality at local Giant Eagles. On the day of the release, cans were dropped off at Giant Eagle Cranberry, Market District Pine, Giant Eagle Shaler, Giant Eagle Hampton, Market District Waterworks, Market District Shadyside, Market District Robsinon, Market District South Hills, Liberty Beer in Bloomfield, and Hal’s Bottleshop the North Hills.
The next ShuBrew-Millie's collaboration is scheduled for Dec. 6, and will be a Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout.