Experts share their favourite pairings to create unique, locally-sourced, keep-you-cold floats!
It’s finally hot outside, which means we can go full steam ahead indulging in our favourite ways to cool down. Iced coffee, cold beer, popsicles, and ice cream are all part of the daily diet in the summer months.
We’ve got a favourite warm weather staple that’s often forgotten – floats! And while the tried and true root beer and vanilla ice cream combo is a classic, we turned to some local experts in the food and beverage world to find out their picks. Even better, each combination features Hamilton-made products so you can keep cool and support local companies at the same time!
Jessica & Josh – Hoppily Ever After
The Hamilton couple behind the craft beer blog Hoppily Ever After, Jessica and Josh love to champion the Ontario beer scene. As they build their expertise and work toward their Prud’homme certifications, they’ve helped to run the I Heart Beer Festival, as well as food and beer walking tours.
For their float base, Jessica and Josh chose local newcomer Grain & Grit Beer Co. and one of their latest offerings, Max’s Big Beer, a peach and vanilla milkshake IPA. It’s described as “creamy with stone fruit and tropical flavours on the front, followed by vanilla and some sweetness with a lingering bitter finish.” They chose to pair it with Sweet Cream ice cream made by Foundry, a small-batch company that uses local seasonal ingredients to create original flavours in a French-style ice cream. “The sweetness of the ice cream complements the sweetness of the beer while providing a contrast to and mellowing out any hoppy bitterness,” explains Jessica.
Another plus to trying this float? Fifty cents from each can of Max’s Big Beer will go towards Max’s Big Ride, a fundraiser for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Grain & Grit is located at 11 Ewen Road, or find them @grainandgritbeer
Foundry Ice Cream can be found at various independent retail locations, markets, and at @foundryicecream
Christine & Sara – Toast Wine Bar
Having just celebrated its second birthday, Toast Wine Bar was opened downtown by Christine and Sara who believed a wine bar was just what Hamilton needed (and they were right!). Carrying both local and international wines, as well as a curated menu (including delicious cheese boards), they were the perfect duo to create a wine-inspired float.
Sparkling wine goes hand in hand with summer (and summer celebrations), so prosecco was an easy choice for the base. Starting with La Tordera ‘Brunei’ Brut, Christine & Sara opted for local favourite Rudy’s Paletas. Made from scratch and using only natural ingredients, these dairy-free Mexican-inspired ice pops can be found at shops and events all over the city. And who says popsicles are only for kids? The gals at Toast chose four delicious paleta flavours to pair with the prosecco – Vanilla Lemon, Grapefruit, Pink Lemonade with Hibiscus, and Strawberry Lime. Talk about refreshing!
Toast Wine Bar is located at 10 John Street North or find them @toasthamont. Head there and try a glass of the prosecco featured here!
Rudy’s Paletas can be found at various independent retail locations or at
Rachel & Jason – Relay Coffee Roasters
Chances are if you drink coffee and live in Hamilton, you’ve tried local roaster Relay Coffee. Opened in 2008 by couple Rachel & Jason, the company (formerly known as Red Hill Coffee Trade) has served their java all over the city, from Festival of Friends, to Supercrawl, to Because Beer, to the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic.
When you’re craving a caffeine kick on a hot day, Relay’s cold brew coffees are exactly what you need. For their float, Rachel & Jason chose to combine their Pitch Speed cold brew with Henry Brown’s Pink Velvet Cake ice cream. Henry Brown’s is a small-batch maker, using natural and organic ingredients whenever possible (and always omitting gelatin, additives, or artificial emulsifiers). With a dark, smokey, and semi-sweet chocolate taste, the Pitch Speed dark coffee is balanced by the sweetness of the ice cream. Rachel describes the pairing: “This float becomes a sort of yin & yang of sweet and strong, creamy milk and semi-sweet dark chocolate coffee.”
The Pink Velvet Cake small batch ice cream “is silky-textured and has a kiss of cocoa and ribbons of marshmallow fluff,” explains Henry Brown’s maker Karen. Making for, as Rachel describes it, “the creamiest ice cream you can imagine” for the float!
Find Relay Coffee at 590 Concession St, in the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, or at @relaycoffee.
Henry Brown’s can be found in the Hamilton Farmers’ Market or at @henrybrowns.