After a long day at last winter’s training camp in Tucson, I sat at the counter in my training partner and host Sam’s kitchen, in a silent daze, eating a bowl of ice cream. Laurel rummaged through the fridge, searching for extra calories before bed. She pulled out a few bottles of small-batch beer leftover from a team BBQ the night before and studied the labels. She deliberated, suffering from fatigue-induced indecision, before settling on a Cowboy Coffee Porter from Montana's Big Sky Brewing Co. Triathlete Linsey Corbin had brought it for the BBQ and Sam made sure to stash it in the back of the fridge so that it wouldn't disappear during the party.
Before Laurel had the chance to take a second sip, I picked up the bottle and poured half over my bowl of dulce de leche. I don’t normally reach for beer, but the dark beer and sweet ice cream seemed like a good fit. And it is. The bitter, coffee- and malt-flavored beer compliments the ice cream’s caramelized sugar; foam caps each bite of creamy ice cream. Laurel and Sam headed for the freezer and each fixed a bowl.
That night we dubbed it the "cowboy milkshake." It didn't become a nightly ritual at training camp, but it did become a special treat after a day of running and biking.
Here in New York, I haven’t yet found Cowboy Coffee Porter. I've tried Keegan Ales Mother's Milk and Anchor’s Christmas Ale, and both work. Any rich, dark porter or stout will do. Creamy real ice cream works the best, but I recently used locally made Jane's Frozen Yogurt for a Cowboy Milkshake Light. It wasn’t as rich and creamy as the real deal, but complimented my light training load perfectly.
Time: 5 minutes
12 ounces Cowboy Coffee Porter or other rich, dark beer
4 scoops caramel ice cream
Add 2 golf-ball-sized scoops of ice cream to each glass. Divide beer evenly between the 2 glasses. Serve with a spoon.