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Ben & Jerry’s Launches New “It’s Ice…Cream” Phish Flavor: A Roundtable

As respected music journalists, we get a ton of stuff for free and we are very grateful. (Please send us all the free things.) But it’s rare that we receive something as exciting as free ice cream. So when a Ben & Jerry’s representative emailed me a couple weeks ago asking if I would like to try their mysterious new music-related flavor my only reply was: “Hell yes!” (Actually, it was “Hey — yeah, we’re interested.” I tried to play it cool.)

Today, around 10:30AM EDT, a very large package arrived at my desk. Inside, was Ben & Jerry’s newest flavor. It’s called “It’s Ice…Cream,” and it’s the Vermont churner’s third collaboration with esteemed jam band Phish. Their first work together was Phish Food, a very good flavor that can probably be found at a grocery store near you. “It’s Ice…Cream” (named after the Phish song “It’s Ice“) is part of Ben & Jerry’s “Special Stash,” which means for right now it’s only available in Ben & Jerry’s stores.

It’s also available right here, at the Stereogum offices in New York City, at least for the next couple hours as we make our way through the pint that they sent us. Inside the very large package was another slightly smaller package with a dry iced pint, plus a B&J-branded spoon, a cassette tape-style USB drive featuring a recording of a Phish concert that took place in Burlington, VT, and a poster designed by Phish merch man Jim Pollock.

In honor of this momentous occasion of free ice cream in the office, a handful of of Stereogum staffers got together to give this new flavor its first tasting. Naturally, we booked a conference room and talked on Slack so we wouldn’t have to transcribe anything. Peruse our roundtable discussion below.

(This is not sponsored content. We’re honestly just really excited.)

GABRIELA TULLY CLAYMORE: Hey bitches.

JAMES RETTIG: Hey everyone. Thanks for joining. While we wait for the ice cream to soften, I had a question about your history with ice cream. What’s your favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor? I like Oat Of This Swirled.

GABRIELA: My favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor is Phish Food, the classic.

MICHAEL NELSON: Who even knows what these flavors taste like?!

SCOTT LAPATINE: Americone Dream is v good.

PETER HELMAN: All I can think of at the moment is Phish Food, which is great, and Half Baked, which is also good.

JAMES: Once in college I took a picture of myself stoned with a Half Baked pint and thought it was very funny.

SCOTT: Is there a chocolate peanut butter flavor? If so that’s my favorite.

PETER: Oh I used to love this flavor called Fossil Fuel, which I think has been discontinued (sadly).

RYAN LEAS: Why isn’t there a My Morning Jacket flavor yet?

PETER: https://www.benjerry.com/flavors/flavor-graveyard/fossil-fuel

JAMES: “Flavor Graveyard” is grim.

RYAN: That’s my new Bushwick band.

GABRIELA: If Radiohead had a Ben & Jerry’s flavor it would be “Male Tears.”

SCOTT: Ben & Jerry’s led the trend of big chunks of stuff in their ice cream. Because Ben and/or Jerry had anosmia and couldn’t taste well, or something. Fun Fact.

CHRIS DEVILLE: honestly i haven’t eaten a ton of ben & jerry’s so maybe i should not be part of this roundtable.

SCOTT: Hate ice cream that doesn’t have chunks of items

CHRIS: i mostly grew up on Homemade Ice Cream from the store and Graeter’s when we went to the parlor

SCOTT: when I was a kid we only had three flavors and two of them were vanilla

JAMES: As a youth, I grew up with all kinds of ice cream

GABRIELA: This is a true story: as a child when I would wake up and discover an ice cream scooper in the sink that my parents accidentally left out, I would pick it up and yell “WHO DID THIS?!?!?!?” Because I was so angry they would eat ice cream without me

RYAN: What would Stereogum’s flavor be?

JAMES: Stereogum’s flavor would also be male tears.

SCOTT: Stereogum’s flavor is Nuts & Gum

SCOTT: Stereogum’s flavor is Sad Boy Crunch

SCOTT: Stereogum’s flavor is WHERe IS AMEN DUNES

JAMES: OK everyone we’re getting off track… Today we are here to discuss Ben & Jerry’s newest flavor. It’s also a Phish-related flavor, and in fact it was in the running as the flavor for the original Phish Food but didn’t make it. Per the package: It is a “caramel malt ice cream” with “almost toffee pieces, fudge fish, and a caramel swirl.” Without eating it, what are your immediate reactions?

GABRIELA: What’s “almost toffee” sounds bad

JAMES: *almond toffee

GABRIELA: Ohhh that sounds dank

RYAN: My immediate reaction is I don’t understand why Phish gets multiple flavors but My Morning Jacket doesn’t. Not that I support the notion of MMJ as a jam band, but still

JAMES: I actually just ate a Ben & Jerry flavor last night that had toffee pieces and it was good

PETER: what was it

JAMES: “Everything But The…”

JAMES: I thought that the Ben & Jerry’s flavor would be made by Foo Fighters, but it’s Phish again. What is it about Phish and ice cream?

RYAN: So they have Phish, Grateful Dead, who else?

JAMES: Bob Marley

GABRIELA: It’s strange that they make so many Phish flavors… it’s almost as if they are based in Vermont the most crunchy granola place on earth

RYAN: I forgot how much of a northeast liberal arts stereotype this whole thing is

SCOTT: String Cheese Incident

PETER: https://www.benjerry.com/whats-new/2014/a-musical-trip

PETER: What would My Morning Jacket’s flavor be?

GABRIELA: My Morning (Coffee) Jacket

PETER: there’s a DMB one

GABRIELA: OF COURSE THERE IS. Typical.

RYAN: Oh right of course there is

PETER: This Is One Sweet Whirled

GABRIELA: This is the best day of work ever.

PETER: there’s Glastonberry

PETER: Bohemian Raspberry

PETER: WILLIE NELSON’S COUNTRY PEACH COBBLER

PETER: ok i’m done sorry

JAMES: OK everyone in the office is going to take a bite

JAMES: The ice cream just did a gooey hot thing when we opened it
the caramel stuck to the top

RYAN: This is far more enjoyable than Phish, the band

GABRIELA: The caramel is really, really gooey. You know when the caramel is kinda hard and frozen in an ice cream? It’s not in this one. They did a good job on the gooey to ice cream ratio. The crunchy pieces are really good. It reminds me of Heath Bar Crunch, another B&J flavor

JAMES: Yes, I 100% see the Heath Bar Crunch comparisons

GABRIELA: It is actually basically just Heath Bar Crunch for Phish fans

PETER: I like the gooeyness. Good mouthfeel

JAMES: I’m really impressed at how creamy the caramel malt ice cream is. It’s not as sweet as I would have expected

CHRIS: left #benandjerrys.

SCOTT: Is someone gonna post this Gorillaz song or are we gonna do this round table all day

JAMES: Obviously there must be 1000 pounds of sugar, but it is still somehow subtle.

PETER: The almost toffee is a highlight for me

JAMES: Ryan’s going in for a second scoop before he weighs in

JAMES: a third now

GABRIELA: I like that they continue to include the chocolate fish in the Phish ice cream. They’re soooo good.

PETER: It’s the signature!

JAMES: Gabriela just yelled “It’s honestly really good I love ice cream” and didn’t wait for her turn in the circle to grab another scoop

TOM BREIHAN: The Bob Marley flavor was really, really good, and I’m mad that I can’t find it anymore.

RYAN: It’s good because there are crunchy things within the creaminess. Ice cream is always better w crunchy things

RYAN: There aren’t actual fish in this right

PETER: No just Phish

RYAN: A fish would really ruin this

GABRIELA: No real phish were harmed in the making of this ice cream

PETER: I agree with Ryan that there’s a good texture contrast going on between the caramel and the toffee

JAMES: I would easily kill a pint of this by myself if you weren’t here

GABRIELA: I feel like it’s really good because it’s not out officially and we’re getting an exclusive preview – the ice cream is some of the creamiest I’ve had

GABRIELA: Also my doctor told me i need to stop eating dairy lmao oops

PETER: I’m OK with more Phish flavors if they are all this good

PETER: Actually what’s the second Phish flavor?

GABRIELA: YOU GUYS the reason it’s so creamy is it’s “malt”

JAMES: I sense a sort of coffee aftertaste? Does anyone get that

JAMES: I know there’s no coffee

JAMES: But like, the idea of coffee

GABRIELA: it’s like coffee heath bar crunch but better

GABRIELA: Do you guys crunch down on the choco fish or do you suck them so they melt in your mouth?

JAMES: I typically have crunched but now I wanna melt

GABRIELA: I try to let them melt but sometimes I get greedy

JAMES: Peter just made a mess

GABRIELA: Peter spilled on himself.

GABRIELA: I’m laughing so hard I almost spilled on my new red jumpsuit

JAMES: I’m actively trying the melt method

JAMES: i forgot about it and crunched by accident

JAMES: when i was trying to instagram

GABRIELA: I feel nauseous so I’m gonna stop eating it now.

PETER: I like my ice cream a little melty sometimes

JAMES: when i was little i’d let the ice cream melt into a soup and then just drink it

JAMES: Ok, one last question for the group: Do you SCREAM for this ice cream?

RYAN: My voice naturally doesn’t go much above “sarcastic mutter” but it’s very good ice cream

GABRIELA: I think that while I would scream for this ice cream I don’t stan this ice cream. The OG Phish Food remains my favorite because I love marshmallows and chocolate ice cream more than caramel ice cream.

PETER: Ryan if you need to leave the room to scream you can

JAMES: I scream

PETER: I would scream

PETER: *I do scream

This has been a Stereogum Roundtable.