Here’s how well Sweet Science‘s new Stout Oat Crunch has been received in the weeks since it debuted: During last Thursday’s soul-crippling blizzard, a large group of regulars braved the roads just to get their hands on a $9 pint. No joke, this stuff is completely worth the trouble.
The active ingredient is Fulton Beer’s Worthy Adversary stout, and the collaboration between the two companies began, in part, at a Heavy Table North Coast Nosh. So you can be sure to taste the Stout Oat Crunch at our upcoming Nosh among a huge array of great local eats.
Since we last spoke to Ashlee Olds (below) she’s been churning, five to six pints at a time, to an increasing fan base. Thanks in part to the sudden popularity of the Stout Oat Crunch, her April 2013 sales are on track to best her entire 2012. We met up with her and Fulton co-founder Brian Hoffman at the Fulton brewery last week for a few pints, both beer and ice cream, of course. Olds was initially attracted to Fulton because of its similar philanthropic commitments, and was then won over after tasting the stout.
“Initially, I was going to use War and Peace,” says Olds, referring to Fulton’s coffee-infused stout. “But then I tasted [Worthy Adversary] and it was just caramels and chocolate and things that ice cream is already.” The heady Russian imperial stout offers the perfect malty base, with some residual sweetness that supports and enlivens the sweeter praline.
“We infuse it in a brown sugar base and then add a little shot of fresh stout at the end for a more layered flavor,” she explains. “I played around with different components to add to it and it dawned on me that oat praline would be great. It plays off the grain in the beer.” Once packaged, the moisture migrates to the praline chunks, leaving them more chewy than crispy.
Aside from beer dinners, this is Fulton’s largest foray into commercial collaboration, and was one that Hoffman (below) was all too happy to take part in. “It was awesome on my part; Ashlee really did all the heavy lifting,” he says. “The Nosh event at Peace Coffee was the first meet up. Then they came in, tasted the beers we had on tap, I sat and drank and explained the beer. And ate their ice cream, of course.”
Stout Oat Crunch is tracking to replace Salted Caramel as her most popular flavor. It’s her only non-gluten-free flavor, which is no small feat considering the streusels and crumbles she often employs. Other flavors you need to seek out: her impossibly fudge-like chocolate sorbet and the Rhubarb Cinnamon Almond, which features a magnificent compote swirled in an amaretto-cinnamon base.
Olds conducts retail hours at her shop in Midway St. Paul from 7-9pm on Thursdays and a more expansive tasting of 15 to 20 flavors once a month. This summer, you’ll spy Sweet Science at farmers markets, including Linden Hills, on Sunday mornings. At the Nosh on May 11, she’ll be sampling during the main event, but will also offer an in-depth presentation at the Pre-Nosh, which will include (most likely, she says) a Pre-Nosh-exclusive flavor. And better yet (fingers crossed), you won’t have to brave a snowstorm to taste it.