Hi, I'm Andie.

I live near the Swiss Alps, in Bern, and I love not only melting cheese, but all kinds of Swiss cooking. 

En Guetä!

La Torpille Ice Cream

La Torpille Ice Cream

la torpille ice cream

We drink a lot of beer in our house.

My almost two year old can say "beer" and when she sees a brown glass bottle she points to it and says "Da Da!!", smiling up at her dad.

Switzerland has some seriously great craft beer and the highest brewery to citizen ratio in the world.

The grandfather of craft beer in Switzerland is Brasserie de Franches Montagnes, or BFM, where we attended a sour beer festival a few weeks back.

bfm sour beer fest

A quick history of BFM

BFM's founder, Jérôme Rebetez came off of a degree in Viticulture with the goal of making a brewery in his home region, the Jura. He succeeded and the brewery opened in 1997 in Saignelégier and is definitely worth a visit for beer lovers.

Brewed using traditional cask methods, as well as occasional unconventional ingredients (lapsang souchong tea, sarawak peppers), the beers of BFM have received international acclaim. In 2009, their L'Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien was voted the best beer in the world by the New York Times.

The beers of BFM are not your typical hoppy brews, and some people are thrown off by this.  Sam has made it his mission to turn all our friends and relatives into beer lovers, and has had some success with BFM sours. Even my mother, a tepid beer drinker, was converted when Sam served her a mystery drink at Christmas (L'Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien).

When she found out what it was she exclaimed:

"Oh, but it's delicious. It doesn't taste like beer at all!"

We pilgrimaged all the way to the Jura for the sour festival, which featured some of the best sour beer makers in the world, including BFM themselves, Belgian Cantillon, and Italy's Loverbeer.

Once we arrived we tasted 21 different beers (an apricot sour called Pulled my Trigger now he's Dead from 523 was my highlight, and Sam's was Blackwell's Bière de Coupage) and enjoyed people watching (mullets! hipsters! safari hats!) and live music. There were food stalls with fresh pasta, chilli, and ice cream. When it came time to leave, I could barely walk.

So many sours...

So many sours...

One of the ice creams at the festival used BFM's la Torpille, a fruit-filled, caramelly brown ale. It was good, but it just wasn't beery enough for me.

When I got home, I wanted to recreate it with a stronger beer flavour, using my favourite ice cream base from Jeni Britton Bauer's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. This easy recipe is delicious and works in any ice cream maker. It's even possible without a maker (this recipe was made without one, as ours is currently on the fritz) though you have to stir it every half hour—instructions below.

The final product is a sweet, caramelly ice cream with a hint of banana that pairs excellently with peaches and other summer fruit.

la torpille

500 ml milk

300 ml whipping cream

150 g sugar

1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

pinch salt

15 g cornstarch

30 g cream cheese, soft

200 ml La Torpille beer

You need to make three separate mixtures. 


450 ml of the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt

Little bowl:

50 ml of the milk and cornstarch, whisked well

Large bowl:

cream cheese

Put the pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Cook, whisking, for a few minutes.

Take the pot off the heat, and when the boil has subsided, stir in the cornstarch mixture. 

Put the pot back on medium heat, and cook for about a minute, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. 

Pour slowly into the large bowl with cream cheese, whisking constantly.

Add the beer and whisk well.

Now let the mixture cool a little (until it isn't steaming anymore) and cover with plastic wrap, pressed directly onto the surface of the mixture.

If you would like the mixture to cool quickly, you can set the bowl in a cold water bath (or sink filled with cold water). Otherwise you can let it cool on the counter and then put it in the fridge. 

When the mixture is fully cooled, spin in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • If you don't have La Torpille, there are many other beers that could work—stouts, fruit beers, porters, sour beers, lambics—just use one that is slightly sweet and tastes good to you!
  • For maximum flavour, let the mixture sit overnight in the fridge.
  • Here's how to do it without a machine:
    • Pour the finished mixture in a shallow dish and put in the freezer.
    • Every half hour (or once it has started to freeze along the sides) take it out and give it a good whisk, whisking in the frozen parts.
    • It should take about 6-7 mixes to get it right. It will be a little thicker than the machine version, but it tastes just as good.

la torpille ice cream
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