Raise your cones, as a range of beer, vodka and even gin-infused ice cream is lining up next to the hand-pulled pints at this week’s Harrogate Beer Festival.
Alex Leishman of Vanilli’s, on Cold Bath Road, has developed 15 alcohol-flavoured ice creams for sale at his stall at the Round Table event.
Four Daleside Brewery beers, Crack Shot, Ripon Jewel, Morocco and Monkey Wrench have been used as flavours, after festival glasses sponsor Raworths asked if a Monkey Wrench ale sorbet could be developed for the show.
Other flavours include gin and elderflower, Guinness, Mohito, Jack Daniels and Vodka Lemon Meringue.
Alex said: “At Vanilli’s we make ice cream and gelato from local milk cream, an the idea for creating alcohol-flavoured ice cream stems from my involvement with Harrogate Round Table.
“For the Beer Festival, I thought why not try an alcohol flavour, so I hooked up with local brewery Daleside, and produced sorbets. “From there, I stretched things a little further and have made 15 different flavours, all of which will be available this week at the festival.”
On the difficulties of creating the ice cream, Alex said: “Alcohol is always trying to act as a de-icer, so the balance has to be correct but whether the flavours come out in the finished product is up for the beer festival goers to decide.”
Alex gave Raworths man Simon Morris and Daleside Managing Director Eric Lucas a preview scoop of the ice cream ahead of the event, and added normal ice cream to a half-pint of Daleside beer, a trend Eric believes could catch on.
He said: “I am looking forward to the beer festival, when I get there I will be going straight to the ice cream stand, with a bit of beer in the bottom of my glass first!
“It is a huge event for Harrogate, bringing people from afar to enjoy the array of special beer it has to offer.”
Simon Morris of Raworths said: “The ice cream has a classic, hoppy finish and is the perfect palate-cleanser. I’m sure it’s going to be a big hit with the Festival regulars.”
Harrogate Beer Festival opens on Thursday from 6.30pm, and from the same time on Friday. On Saturday, doors open at 4pm.
Over 4,000 visitors are expected to attend, and Daleside is offering a new beer, Brindle’s Bitter, which has been brewed in memory of Ian Brindle, a former Round Tabler who died in November aged 53.
Lining up alongside local businesses and charities at the Crown Hotel festival will be 29 real hand-pulled ales, perries, ciders, lagers and wines. Last year’s event raised over £25,000 for charities, with this year’s event supporting Macmillan Cancer Support, Open Country, Henshaws Society for Blind People and Asthma Relief. Tickets cost £10 on the door.