And while beer-flavoured ice cream isn’t entirely new, it certainly seems to be moving away from being a novelty item to becoming a dessert worth taking seriously.
Evidence of this comes from recent research conducted by ice cream brand Amore di Gelato, which found that consumers are increasingly being turned off by traditional flavours like vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, in favour of more ‘unusual’ varieties.
Tellingly, the research found that ice creams with an alcoholic-twist were boosting sales for a number of high-end establishments. Results varied across the country, with northern hotels and pubs serving up the likes of stout-flavoured ice cream, but southern consumers preferring flavours like Amoretti Amaretto.
One northern pub to embrace stout-flavoured ice cream is the Fleece, in Otley, West Yorkshire. Its Yorkshire Stout gelato sorbet, made from beer from the town’s Wharfe Bank Brewery, was the result of a collaboration between chef Simon Miller and local ice cream producer Vanilli’s of Harrogate.
Another recent collaboration is between Hampshire brewer Ringwood and New Forest Ice Cream. Old Thumper Fudge Ice Cream combines the 5.1% ABV English pale ale with ice cream and real fudge pieces.
A pioneer of beer-infused ice cream was London brewer Meantime, which teamed up with a company called Sulqui in 2009 to create ice creams made with its Coffee Porter and Chocolate Beer.
Sulqui also produces a Meantime Raspberry Wheat Beer sorbet.
Welsh brewer Otley followed suit in 2011, when it launched its own range of beer-flavoured ice creams and sorbets. The brewer’s coffee and chocolate-rich 4.1% ABV Dark-O stout is said to work well with the thicker texture of ice cream – while O-Garden, a 4.8% ABV orange peel-flavoured wheat beer, complements the light texture of a sorbet.
One beer-infused ice cream has even made it onto the menu of a Michelin-starred London restaurant. Nobu uses Oakham Ales’ 5.6% ABV dark beer Hawse Buckler on a dessert called MOM.A.
According to the Japanese restaurant, the complex spices and coffee malt aroma of the beer perfectly match the apricot and peach flavours of its ice cream.