7 Ben & Jerry's Pop Culture Flavors, Ranked

Though summer's heat and longer days may have receded into autumn drizzles, the beacon of ice cream still calls to us from the comfort of our couch. And to help soothe us through the winter months, we count on America's favorite ice cream brand (according to Statistica), the Vermont-based, wholesomely quirky Ben & Jerry's.

While the world has been gifted over 60 original Ben & Jerry's flavors, the ice cream giant also looks to popular culture as a muse for its ever-changing list of pints. Even from the year of its inception in 1978, the eponymous founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield playfully christened a tub of vanilla ice cream whipped with cherries and chocolate "Cherry Garcia" in honor of the Grateful Dead guitarist.

Since then, Ben & Jerry's has exploded across America's public consciousness as one of the best dependable indulgences in the freezer section. The ice cream company continues taking cues from television, music, movies, and even sports to title its releases.

Cultural touchstones like Tina Fey's hit sitcom, "30-Rock," Will Ferrell's comedic blockbuster "Anchorman," and 2010's Bonaroo Music Festival have all been commemorated in 16-ounce ice cream containers. Though some referential flavors, like "Cherry Garcia" and "Phish Food," proved to have staying power, others, like Dave Matthew's Magic Brownies, have retired to the Ice Cream Flavor Graveyard, a cemetery in the creamery's home state. Join us as we taste through Ben & Jerry's (still-living) lineup of pop culture-influenced flavors.

Tonight Dough

Jimmy Fallon's flagship flavor, Tonight Dough, pays tribute to the late-night host with two types of interlocking ice creams, caramel, and chocolate, with streams of baked cookies, chocolate cookie dough, and peanut butter cookie dough running throughout the pint.

Like the SNL-alum's humor, the pint borders on being overcrowded, cloying, and boisterous to a fault. Though every spoonful flaunts at least one hunk of cookie or cookie dough bits, the Tonight Dough overall feels more like an entire pint of cookie dough with ice cream merely holding the gooey mess together.

Rarely would we prefer a vanilla base to a Ben & Jerry's flavor, but here the dark chocolate and caramel ice creams taste at odds with one another, especially once they comingle with the trio of overlapping cookie clods littering every pint of Tonight Dough. Released in 2015, on the heels of the much superior Americone Dream (dedicated to fellow late-night talk show host, Stephen Colbert), Tonight Dough lacks the spark of inspiration of its predecessor. Though we are typically fans of cookie dough ice creams, notably the legendary Ben & Jerry's flavor Halfbaked, this late-night translation of the classic indulgence leaves us colder than the icebox we pulled it from.

Phish Food

One of Ben & Jerry's most ubiquitous flavors, Phish Food, salutes fellow Vermonters, the jam band, Phish. Like the group's never-ending tour, Phish Food's lasting power dates back to 1997; the chocolate-based ice cream mingles with lumps of marshmallows, caramel ribbons, and admittedly adorable chocolate fudge candies shaped like dime-sized fish.

Tasting like an almond-less rendition of classic Rocky Road, Phish Food's main attraction, the chocolate molded into aquatic animals, acts as more of a distraction to the twirl of milk chocolate ice cream and pillowy marshmallow streaks. Inevitably, this is less than a welcome amendment to a more mundane Rocky Road.

Not only are the baubles a little too brittle and slightly too thick, but schools of the dark-brown, fish-formed candies are tucked into nearly every spoonful of the pint, making them impossible to avoid.

While we respect Phish Food's longevity, we find the chocolate-on-chocolate flavor flattening, overly rich, and entirely one-dimensional — which isn't entirely off base on our sentiments of Phish's musical catalog so maybe the ice cream captures a certain je ne sais quoi of the group's overall vibe. We will say that the chocolate ice cream itself shows promise, and we only wish that it was threaded with a less cacophonous medley throughout.

Mint Chocolate Chance

Chance the Rapper's Mint Chocolate Chance continues Ben & Jerry's fixation on sonically-inspired flavors. After nearly a year in the freezer aisle, the MC's collaboration with the ice cream brand seems like at least a semi-permanent fixture in the brand's lineup. As its name suggests, Mint Chocolate Chance remixes classic mint chocolate chip ice cream into a bop for current tastes. Ben, Jerry, and Chance's pint includes a bedrock of mint ice cream dotted with fudge brownies from New York's Greyson's Bakery.

Like the rapper, Mint Chocolate Chance can at once feel singular and universal — despite the brand's other minty flavors (Mint Chocolate Cookie and Minter Wonderland). Sufficiently infused with mint, the heart of Mint Chocolate Chance tastes great, but the consistency of the ice cream reads as icier than the brand's other, creamier flavors, making the ceremony of dragging your spoon through its surface a little less enjoyable.

Furthermore, the hunks of fudge brownie proved overpowering for mint's light-on-its-toes flavor. We found ourselves missing the classic shards of mint sheets, thoughtfully scattered throughout the prototypical mint chocolate chip ice cream. While we commend the effort of Chance and his collaborators, we wish the partnership was as crowd-pleasing as the musician's singles.

Change the Whirled

A little outside of Ben & Jerry's usual wheelhouse of musician and media artifact homages, Colin Kaepernick's Change the Whirled flavor references the ex-athlete's reputation as an activist in racial justice more than the quarterback's past life as an NFL star.

One of the company's only ice creams solely sold as a non-dairy dessert, the caramel ice cream contains sunflower and coconut milk with cookie swirls, graham crackers, and fudge chips running throughout the non-dairy underpinning.

Surprisingly creamy despite its non-dairy nature, Ben & Jerry's makes sure to load Colin Kaepernick's namesake flavor with so many trifles that any discrepancies from the signature creamy base texture are easily sashed. Even more winning is how the handful of supplements somehow come together without overcrowding or overwhelming the pint.

Though we couldn't single out any distinct graham cracker bits, Change the Whirled overall tastes like an elevated, more adult cookies 'n cream. The cookies, crackers, and chips are expertly dispersed throughout the container, making every bite consistent. Benefitting Kaepernick's Know Your Rights Camp, an organization seeking to "advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities through education, self-empowerment, mass-mobilization," Change the Whirled succeeds as more than just a gesture toward justice and sings as a crave-able flavor all on its own.

Cherry Garcia

The originator of Ben & Jerry's pop culture flavors, Cherry Garcia pays homage to The Grateful Dead's now-deceased figurehead. Riddled with cherries, as the punny title suggests, Cherry Garcia consists of cherry bits wading in a creamy pool of lightly flavored cherry ice cream and gently flecked with fudge flakes.

Unlike some of the brand's more recent inventions, Cherry Garcia shows a gentle hand, and the candy flourishes play only a B-plot in the ice cream's overall story. Originally planned as an ode to a cherry cordial, according to Ben & Jerry's website, the dessert was first served with a base of vanilla ice cream and was eventually retooled to sport a pale, pink, subtle cherry flavor that lifted the chunks of stone fruit floating in the soft creamy texture.

We look at Cherry Garcia as the golden standard of Ben & Jerry's incoming flavor. If a rookie addition to the brand's lineup fails to meet the cherry-laden taster at the finish line of satiation, we cast it aside from our craving index. While we love and will turn to Cherry Garcia throughout the year, we also think the brand has surpassed its pioneer pop culture flavor on several occasions since its 1978 release.

Netflix & Chill'd

Netflix, America's most popular streaming service, according to All Top Everything, completes an evening on the couch with its Ben & Jerry's cobrand by featuring a sweet and salty medley of peanut buttery ice cream studded with pretzel pieces and chunks of fudge brownie.

Our first impression is of how intensely the peanut butter flavor in the ice cream's base shines through, and we were pleasantly delighted with the crushing presence of the nutty flavor. While other Ben & Jerry's pints with a vanilla ice cream base merely seem like vessels for the candies they enshrine (we're looking you Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough), we consider the peanut butter foundation of Netflix & Chill'd to be sturdy enough to house a serving on all on its own.

Lucky for sweet freaks, thumb-sized chunks of brownies interrupt the peanut butter-flecked ice cream. Still, the inclusion feels a bit superfluous, and a soggy texture intrudes on the television-centric flavor's otherwise smooth mouthfeel. The bits of pretzel, though also stale, lend themselves more favorably to the taste, and they intentionally continue the interplay between salty and sweet. Though, you might have to muddy your spoon searching for the dregs of the crispy snacks due to their scarcity in a pint.

Americone Dream

Topping our list of pop culture riffing pints sits Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream. First released in 2007, the now-essential flavor smartly merges the joys of an ice cream cone with the comfort of home by including fudge-coated waffle cones in the vanilla ice cream base, swirled with salty caramel streaks.

Somewhat reigned in for a Ben & Jerry's flavor, Americone Dream plays off of Colbert's undeniable likability by turning in a flavor so crowd-pleasing it's been a staple of the freezer aisle for over 15 years (via Ben & Jerry's). The richness of the ice cream expertly becomes italicized with waffle cones that add an unexpected spark to the otherwise pedestrian-seeming pint.

Though other members of Ben & Jerry's flavor cannon, even ones we reach for, can feel overstuffed with candies, and other sweet baubles, Stephen Colbert's tribute flavor perfectly balances the ratio between hunks of goodies and the ice cream they're suspended within. Americone Dream models everything we look for among even the best of ice cream brands' offerings, somehow bordering on prosaic and innovative. This pop culture flavor represents an entirely new addition to Ben & Jerry's world without riffing on existing, familiar, widely known flavors such as cookie dough or chocolate chip mint. The salty caramel bands make every bite interesting without overestimating the consumer's tolerance for sweetness, much like the comedian's signature sense of humor.