Looking at all the milkshake IPAs and sugary ‘dessert stout’ beers that are popular right now, you’d be forgiven for thinking today’s craft brewers are more inspired by Willy Wonka than Samuel Adams.
This recent ‘shift to sweet’ among the craft beer community couldn’t be at a more perfect time for Jared and Austin Mesiti, who recently opened In The Mix Creamery and Brewing – a restaurant that makes its own beer-infused frozen custard. The restaurant also brews its own beer and serves up gourmet burgers.
At In The Mix – located in Barker, just minutes from Lake Ontario – you can literally get a milkshake made with a milkshake IPA (a creamy IPA made with lactose).
“Even from when I started brewing until now, the tastes of the craft beer community have 180-degree flipped,” said Jared, who made the leap from being a homebrewer to running his own brewing operation. “Back when I started, it was all about these super-bitter IPAs and the very traditional beer, like how well you could perfect the traditional beer. That still exists today, but if you look at some of the beers that are popular today, like some of the fruit beers and milkshake IPAs, people would have turned their noses at them four years ago. I think that it is a perfect time to introduce this because people are a little bit more accepting of being adventurous and experimental with craft beer.”
Ok. So mixing beer and ice cream makes sense on paper, but how does it really taste?
“Honestly, if you didn’t tell you that there was beer in it, you would just think that it’s a super-rich artisan custard; but there’s 50 percent beer,” Mesiti said. “When people try it, it blows their mind.”
“We’ve had people order a flight of ice cream and a flight of beer, and they taste them together. Most of the time, the beers that we have in the ice cream are going to be on tap, for people to pair.”
If you’re still skeptical, you should know that the Mesiti family also owns RG Brewery and Five Sons Winery in Brockport. (So, they know their alcohol.)
Such a unique concept might seem like hard sell in a small Western New York town, but it makes a lot more sense when you realize how close it is to both the Niagara County wine trail and Olcott Beach. Jared Mesiti said he jumped at the chance to open up at this location.
“Obviously, we have a big local presence because there’s not much out (in Barker),” he said.
“We’re bringing something new and fun to the area, and I think we’re going to see a lot of support from the locals. But the bulk of our business, especially over the summer and fall, will be from the (Niagara County) wine trail and vacationers going to up the lake. Olcott Beach is only 5 or 6 minutes away from us.”
Sure, beer-infused ice cream makes sense on a wine trail and near the beach, but still… Does it taste any good??
“You’ve just got to try it,” Mesiti said. “We’ve never had a person try it and say they wouldn’t try it again.”
In The Mix Creamery and Brewing
1693 East Ave, Barker, New York 14012
Hours: Wednesday 2 pm. – 9 p.m., Thursday 2 p.m. – 10 p.m., Friday 2 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m – 11 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Tuesday – CLOSED