Brushfire settles into the ice cream biz

2014-07-03T00:00:00Z 2014-07-03T11:27:50Z Brushfire settles into the ice cream bizBy Gerald M. Gay Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

With the names Ben and Jared, it seems fitting that Ben Rine and Jared Wren have gotten into the ice cream business.

For the last seven years, Rine and Wren have been slinging pork, chicken and other tasty meats as the operators of the popular BrushFire BBQ chain.

It’s only in the last five months that the duo have upped their cool factor by opening the BrushFire Ice Creamery, next to its east-side location at 7080 E. 22nd St.

The shop, which was launched on Valentine’s Day, offers 24 flavors that are always rotating. Wren calls it small-batch ice cream making. Varieties are created a gallon-and-a-half at a time in an industrial Emery Thompson machine (the same kind Ben & Jerry used when they first started out).

Wren says it gives them a chance to be creative.

“The barbecue side of BrushFire is what it is,” Wren said. “We’ve changed things occasionally, but our customers notice so we aren’t allowed to do that anymore. With the ice cream, we can do as we please.”

The end results of these bursts of innovation are new flavors using unique ingredients.

Among their past and current selections are Nutella Rocky Road, malted Butterfinger and a bananas foster.

One of Brushfire’s true oddities is its pork belly ice cream, a vanilla cinnamon selection with candied bacon, maple caramel syrup and glazed walnuts.

“When people hear about it, they crinkle their noses, but everyone likes it when they taste it,” Wren said.

Customers also enjoy sweet treats with a little spirit.

Wren said one of the benefits of having an ice creamery attached to a restaurant with a full bar is that alcohol becomes a readily available ingredient.

The BrushFire crew has dabbled with incorporating Guinness and Knob Creek bourbon into their flavor profiles. Shots of Baileys and Kahlua are also common.

“Anything they want to put in there, they are more than welcome to do so,” Wren said.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at ggay@azstarnet.com or 807-8430.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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