Cruelty free summer: The Brokelyn ice cream bracket decides the best vegan scoop in town

All the ice cream flavor, none of the interspecies breast milk.

All the ice cream flavor, none of the interspecies breast milk.

We may be ice cream aficionados, but we’re not purists. And it didn’t seem fair that our trusty vegan Brokelyn editors (and anyone with a lactose intolerance) were left out of the bracket. So we rated vegan flavors as a sidebar competition before embarking on the bracket, a non-dairy amuse-bouche to our ice cream bracket entrée.

“It’s like A League of Their Own but for vegans,” judge Eric Silver said. While some of these don’t stand up to their dairy counterparts, others became our favorites of the entire competition—regular ice cream included.

Technically these aren’t all vegan ice creams — some are sorbets — but they’re all summer treats for our dairy-less friends. 

Get caught up on the first three, dairy-filled rounds of the bracket here. 

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Via Instagram.

Blue Marble’s flavors include a non-dairy coconut. Via Instagram.

Blue Marble (Coconut)
186 Underhill Ave, Prospect Heights
220 36th St. ground floor, Industry City 

This was the first flavor I tried and it immediately became one of my favorites. It’s creamy and rich, while also being extremely flavorful and refreshing—so much so that I almost couldn’t tell if it’s an ice cream or sorbet.

Judge Katy Hartnett was a fan as well, even though she’s “not a big coconut person.”

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Oh Fudge sorbet at Ample HIlls.

Oh Fudge sorbet at Ample HIlls.

Ample Hills (Oh Fudge)

Like the Coconut, this is a flavor that can really hold its own. Picture taking a spoon to a Fudgsicle: it’s smooth and super fudgy, which is an impressive feat without cream. We were all pleasantly surprised by this one, and would definitely order it on a hot day.

“I might give an honorable mention to this flavor,” Silver said. “I really liked that one.”

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Chocolate Chunk flavor at OddFellows. Via website.

Chocolate Chunk flavor at OddFellows. Via website.

OddFellows (Chocolate Chunk)
175 Kent Ave., Williamsburg
75 East 4th St., East Village 

This and the Van Leeuwen Cookie Dough tasted the most stereotypically “vegan” to us, like lesser versions of dairy ice cream.

“These are like, ‘I approximated your ice cream experience’,” Silver said. “This is what a 3D printer would make as ice cream. I’m warming up to the Chocolate Chunk though.”

That said, judge Hope Morawa wasn’t as critical.

“I feel like the chocolate ones are holding up better than the other ones,” she said.

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Vegan cookie dough ice cream, via Instagram.

Vegan cookie dough ice cream, via Instagram.

Van Leeuwen (Cookie Dough)
Various Locations

Very sweet and rather salty, this flavor doesn’t quite have the same consistency of regular cookie dough ice cream — the chunks of dough aren’t really chewable, but melt in your mouth. While resembling a classic flavor may not be the goal, it does make me wonder if vegan ice creams are best when they’re creating their own flavors.

The judges agreed, though, that it’s very intense.

“The cookie dough felt like a nice sit-down after-dinner type of ice cream,” Hartnett said. “It’s just a little more robust. I don’t think I’d want to walk around the park with it.”

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Pink lemonade sorbet at OddFellows. Via website.

Pink lemonade sorbet at OddFellows. Via website.

OddFellows (Pink Lemonade sorbet)
175 Kent Ave., Williamsburg
75 East 4th St., East Village 

This is super lemony, and very tart and refreshing. It reminded us of frozen Minute Maid lemonade from concentrate … but in a good way.

“I would put it in a blender and make a cocktail out of it,” Silver said. I suggested pouring Limoncello over a scoop. Keep this one in mind as both a drink and a dessert this summer.

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Raspberry sorbet at Brooklyn Bell’s the Local. Via Yelp.

Raspberry sorbet at Brooklyn Bell’s the Local. Via Yelp.

 

Brooklyn Bell’s the Local (Raspberry sorbet)
843 Classon Ave, Crown Heights

This flavor is also known as She Wore a Raspberry Sorbet, a name that I have been singing for days. It’s tart but not too tart, sweet but not too sweet, with tiny raspberry seeds. It has a wholeness to it, a heft, that avoids being an icy, thin sorbet.

“That raspberry was just out of this world,” Hartnett said.

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Williamsburg's Ice Cream House, via Facebook.

Williamsburg’s Ice Cream House, via Facebook.

The Ice Cream House (non-dairy Vanilla)

This has a very distinct vanilla flavor, and the closest thing we could compare it to is a vanilla Slimfast.

“Which I’m not against,” Silver said, “but I don’t know if I would order it.”

It’s not bad, just very specific.

“The more I’m eating it, the more I like it,” Morawa said.

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And now, the scores from the vegan round:

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Brooklyn Bell’s Raspberry sorbet comes out on top, followed by Ample Hills’ Oh Fudge (which, if we’re going to be sticklers, is the highest-rated true vegan ice cream as opposed to a sorbet).

Check back on Friday as our ice cream bracket comes to a close and we announce the winner and MVPs!

For more ice cream data journalism, follow Katy: @KatyHersh.