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Icy ‘beer slushies’ now on tap at 26 Degree Brewing in Pompano Beach

Greg Lieberman’s idea to make beer slushies came to him last summer, as temperatures climbed at a Boca Raton beer festival that featured his Pompano Beach brewery, 26 Degree Brewing Company.

“It was 5,000 degrees outside, and I thought, ‘I could really go for a beer slushie right now,’ ” Lieberman recalls. “We heard of breweries doing it out of state, but no one in South Florida was doing it.”

To pull off his cool summer treat — basically a slushie-fied craft beer in a snifter glass that resembles a frozen margarita — Lieberman invested in a commercial frozen drink machine. In May, after experimenting with a few treatments, 26 Degree Brewing began serving beer slushies to drinkers in his taproom.

The brewery is currently offering Strawberry Orange Gose, a tropical fruit-inspired blend of Florida oranges, fresh strawberries and 26 Degree Brewing’s Gose Kwervo, a salty, tart brew with fresh lime and orange juice. Pours of this boozy slurpee cost $4 for 6 ounces and $6 for 10 ounces. On a recent Wednesday, the Strawberry Orange Gose tasted similar to grapefruit, with only hints of strawberry and orange.

“It’s refreshing, no doubt about it. Especially during the summer months,” says Lieberman, a self-taught homebrewer who opened 26 Degree in 2015 with co-owners Yonathan Ghersi, Oscar Oliwkowicz and Billy Silas. “This is something you can drink all the way to the beach.”

Lieberman hasn’t been able to turn all craft beers into slushies. Some heavier beers — stouts, for example — haven’t held up to repeated experiments. Other flavors, such as fresh-shaved ginger, tended to overpower the beer once frozen. Lieberman blends the flavors with graduated pitchers in 26 Brewing’s brewhouse, and makes five gallons of beer slushie per batch, he says.

Beer slushies may be new to South Florida, but not to the rest of the country. The Japanese beer brand Kirin offers Kirin Ichiban Frozen Beer, using a machine that dispenses flash-chilled swirls of foam like soft serve over beer pints.

Ghersi says the beer slushie’s popularity reminds him of another slushy concoction, frosé, the icy blend of rosé, bitters and other liquors that became a hot trend last year.

“Now, it’s hot outside again,” Ghersi says. “It’s delicious, but it’s definitely a novelty, and some craft-beer purists aren’t going to like it. And that’s OK, because many people also like beer floats and slushies.”

Lieberman says 26 Degree’s next beer slushie may combine peanut butter, chocolate, salt and the brewery’s Ziko’s Rage Imperial Stout.

26 Degree Brewing Company is located at 2600 E. Atlantic Blvd., in Pompano Beach. Beer slushies cost $4-$6. Call 954-532-6964 or go to 26Brewing.com.

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pvalys@southflorida.com or 954-356-4364

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