It's common to love both frozen custard and beer separately, but the two paired together? That's a bit more of an adventure.
Brothers Jared and Austin Mesiti, part of the family that owns and operates RG Brewery and Five Sons Winery in Brockport, have branched out on their own to open In The Mix Brewing & Creamery, at 1693 East Ave., Barker, in the former Barker Brewing. The soft-opening weekend ran April 5-7, when customers flocked to sample New York's first beer-infused frozen custard.
"[The combination] doesn't sound good, but once people try it, it's over," Jared Mesiti explained. "We've never had someone try it and not like it."
It's not surprising no other local breweries craft their own beer frozen custard; the process is not forgiving. In The Mix's alcoholic frozen custards are 50 percent beer, and beer is almost entirely water, so finding the right consistency and richness in flavor was a challenge the brothers refined during their trial period in RG Brewery. But once it's done correctly, the experimentation is worth it.
"Beer makes one hell of a custard," Jared Mesiti said. "It's hard to notice the beer in the dish."
In The Mix's overarching concept is a play off the classic American trio of burgers, beer and ice cream, all of which sparkle during the summer but maintain appeal throughout the year. While both brothers have experience brewing, Jared will handle those duties with a three-barrel system in Barker, with Austin, a wine expert, more focused on front-of-house operations. The brewery-creamery will not produce its own wine.
The Mesitis' project is first and foremost a brewery, with eight taps gracing the taproom, six dedicated to house beers. For a pint, prices range from $5-$7, although most hover between $6 and $6.50. A Crowler machine pours take-home portions for $10-$14, while a flight of four In The Mix beers costs $7.
Here's the list of brews (Jared Mesiti anticipates adding a new beer to the menu every other week):
• Blackberry witbier: Wheat beer, made with blackberry purée
• Irish red ale: Voted in by In The Mix's Facebook page, medium body
• Blonde ale: Notes of biscuit and caramel
• Swurl Milkshake IPA: Mango and passionfruit purées, a "hazy juice bomb"
• Hazy American IPA: Hazy, tropical hops, mild bitterness
• 4-Layer Stout: Stouts "make great ice creams," Mesiti said. This one resembles s'mores.
The Mesiti brothers roll with four beer-infused frozen custards, made from scratch using cream, eggs and sugar, all $6. The brothers used RG Brewery as a testing ground for making frozen custard, brewing beer and combining the two, before shifting their attention fully to In The Mix in November of last year.
• Berries and cream: Blackberry witbier, vanilla frozen custard, blackberries and raspberries.
• 4-Layer Stout: 4-Layer Stout, chocolate frozen custard, chocolate sauce and marshmallows.
• Cranberry Coffee Stout: Espresso ice cream, RG Brewery's cranberry coffee stout and dried cranberries.
• Swurl IPA: Tropical frozen custard, Swurl Milkshake IPA, passionfruit drizzle.
Four nonalcoholic flavors are available, too, with cotton candy custard, ice-cream-based cookies and cream, and chocolate peanut butter cup and dairy-free lemon sorbet rounding out the options. A flight of four custards, for $7, can combine both alcoholic and nonalcoholic custards.
The "adult milkshakes," ranging from $6-$9, are quite similar to the quartet of alcoholic frozen custards, except for their consistency and toppings. The S'Mores Milkshake is the most decadent, with Bonfire Stout frozen custard, Irish creme, chocolate liqueur, marshmallows and graham crackers all in assembly.
In The Mix opened with a limited food menu, featuring eight different types of burgers. That burger menu will be influenced by the seasons; Jared Mesiti envisions their house-mix burger – with chuck, sirloin and brisket cuts – with grilled peaches, goat cheese and balsamic drizzle for the late summer months.
The brewery-creamery teased its Lancastrian burger on Facebook, with two waffles substituted as buns.
INFO: In The Mix Brewing & Creamery, 1693 East Ave., Barker. 795-5009. Hours: Noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday, noon to 10 p.m. Thursday, noon to midnight Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday.