It’s that magical first-week-of-summer time. When everything seems possible, when we shed our winter skins and people ride bikes naked through the streets, the sun sets later and later each night, barbeques and beers on patios are plentiful and stretch past our pre-solstice bed-times, camping plans and picnic plans and beach-day plans are dreamt up and mapped out, and here in the PNW, we wear tank tops and flip flops one day, rainboots and jackets the next, constantly unprepared for the heat or the rain. It’s also the time of year when Billy of Wit & Vinegar hosts Popsicle Week!
Popsicles are one of those things that give me all the nostalgic summertime feels. Childhood memories of being sent outside into the summer heat with frozen orange juice or frozen grape juice on a stick, melting faster than you can eat it. It seems impossible, no matter what sad and awful and hateful and terrible things are happening in the world and the nation and our lives, to not smile when you’re eating a popsicle. Popsicle week came at just the right time this year—I feel like we could all benefit from a few extra, sticky-frozen-sweet smiles this month.
This popsicle is sort of my ode to the Pacific North Best—a gift to my comrades in the upper left USA who’ve waded through a long, wet, grey, sunless winter. To my fellow Seattleites who know the few months of sunshine we get every summer make the rest of year worth it. It has a bitter hoppy finish that I associate with the northwest. IPAs of course are all over the map, but they feel so PNWonderland to me—piney and woodsy, best accompanied by a flannel shirt, mountains, and evergreen trees. And the pineapple—that’s for those of us who never want to call another place home, but still long for tropical beaches.
I’ve been toying with the idea of a vanilla pineapple IPA beertail for some time now, and with popsicle week here, I decided rather than a cocktail, this would be the perfect popsicle! All the satisfying cool relief and childlike giddiness of eating an icy pop, with the contrast of the sweet tangy pineapple, the warm roundness of vanilla, and the bitter hops that our adult palates have come to know and respect. Note that these aren’t the kind of treats that have a little something for everyone—If you’re not an IPA fan (shame on you) or you’re an actual child, these aren’t the pops for you. There's a real punch in the face IPA-ness about them. Luckily, if you head over to Wit & Vinegar, there are a lot of other options to meet your summer frozen treat needs and wishes.
Why is it impossible to get the sticks in straight!?
Vanilla Pineapple IPA Popsicles
This makes about 1.5 cups more liquid than my 10 popsicle mold could hold. I started to do the maths to cut back, and instead gave up and poured the extra liquid in a glass over ice and was grateful for that decision, instant gratification for those of us that can hardly stand to wait overnight for these pops to freeze. Note that because they contain alcohol, they don't get a really deep freeze, and that makes them melt super fast...but the slushy pop gobbled up really quick before it melted away was my fave part.
18 oz. pineapple juice *
16 oz (1 pint / 2 cups) IPA **
1 tablespoon agave
1 teaspoon vanilla ***
Whisk ingredients together and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze until solid. Enjoy on a rainy or sunny PNW summer day.
* I used three 6 oz cans of Dole pineapple juice
**I used one from one of my neighborhood breweries… I tried to pick something a little summery and citrusy. If you can get your hands on a citra, that would be the winner
***I used vanilla bean paste, which I think has a deeper vanilla flavor plus I love the specs of vanilla bean (all those little black speckles at the tips of the pops), but regular vanilla extract and/or scraped vanilla bean will work