SAN FRANCISCO — Ben Franklin once said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” If that’s true, beer flavored desserts must be proof that God wants us to be freaking ecstatic. And if that’s true, the people at Sift Dessert Bar in the Fillmore are truly doing the Lord’s work.
Owner Andrea Ballus says that Sift’s mission is to always be “the life of the party.” Many of the sweets featured in her shop have a boozy inspiration to them because according to Ballus sweet treats and alcohol are “two of life’s greatest ingredients for good times.”
Enter the Pliny Half Pint
This dessert, set to be rolled out in time for Father’s Day, is small but mighty. The dessert involves alternating layers of a Pliny soaked brown sugar cake and a beer mousse, all covered in an orange spiced glaze. Ballus says she was eager to collaborate with her “neighbor” Russian River Brewing because she and her husband (Sift co-owner Jeff Ballus) have always loved their beer. They tried several different methods of pastry/Pliny pairing, blondies, cookies, cupcakes, before settling on the Half Pint which is being touted as a “hop flavored tiramisu.” “Our biggest challenge was not letting the sweetness overpower the bitterness of the beer,” Ballus says, adding, “we didn’t want this treat to be overly complex.”
The Half Pint is not complex as much as it is nuanced. The first taste is the frothy lightness of the foam that carries just a kiss of orangy bitterness. The cake is dense but moist and every bite bleeds out beery goodness caramelized with brown sugar. The sweetness is cut nicely by the mousse and also by a strong hoppy blast that lingers on your tongue. According to Jordan Keith, a rep for Sift, the best way to enjoy this treat is with a pint of Pliny, employing a practiced “bite, sip, bite, sip” balance.
This isn’t the first time Sift has dabbled in brew flavored goodies, nor will it be the last. You can pair your Half Pint with a Stud Muffin, a brown sugar beer cupcake with salted caramel frosting and cayenne dusted bacon on time. Cayenne dusted bacon. On a freaking cupcake. This is not a drill, people!
Sift starts slanging these bad boys Wednesday June 17, but like their beerspiration, this dessert will only be available for a limited time (until Sunday). It’s a good thing we’re all over our Beer Week Pliny PTSD because it’s time to start lining up once again!
Pliny the Half Pint will be available at Sift Dessert Bar’s locations in San Francisco (2411 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115) and Santa Rosa (404-A Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 9540).