Casseroles, stews and other feel-good winter warmers are the traditional fodder we think of at this time of year... but for Ian Gibson the refreshment which keeps us cool in the summer keeps him busy all year round.

His ice cream with a hint of the real ale he loves best - Timothy Taylor's Landlord, brewed in Keighley - has been served as an accompaniment to sticky toffee puddings, parkin and ale cake at select restaurants around the county.

The Harvey Nichols department store in Leeds is among the clientelle he serves with his unique ice-cream tipple.

Ian recalls the chef at another renowned restaurant, the Three Acres Inn near Huddersfield, asking if he could produce some beer ice cream to accompany his sticky ale cake.

"There's nothing written about alcohol in ice cream so it's purely experimental," says Ian.

Being a lover of Taylor's Landlord, the drink made famous by celebrity fans such as Madonna, there was no contemplating which ale to choose for his trial dessert.

"The choice was easy," says Ian. "It's the beer against which others are judged. It has complexity, depth of flavour and a long finish, all prerequisites for a good ice cream."

Creating a flavoured ice dish derived from such basic ingredients as eggs, milk, cream and sugar, may appear simple, but not according to mathematician Ian, who spent 11 years lecturing in schools in Huddersfield and Bradford.

"It may seem incongruous for a former maths lecturer to be making ice cream, but it is an amazingly complex subject. Having a mathematical mind certainly helps when it comes to analysing and formulating recipes," he says.

His interest in ice cream began more than a decade ago. "I took my mother to Leeds and we went into Schofield's. She wanted a cup of tea. I don't drink either tea or coffee so I went to have a look round the shop and came across a £28 ice-cream machine which I bought."

He's since invested in a more expensive piece of kit which he redesigned using the skills he developed and honed during an extensive and distinguished career as a professional theatre and opera sound engineer.

This work took him all over the world, with his techniques being used in plays performed from Broadway to the West End.

He spent years working alongside the late Michael Elliott - "someone I considered to be the greatest director in British theatre" - and was part of the team who designed Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre and sound system.

He also designed sound equipment for films and TV until he retired. Then his interest in ice cream took over.

Such is his forte for creating the perfect ice cream, Ian was asked to create his famous ice-cream tipple by renowned chef Heston Blumenthal in the kitchen of his three Michelin-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck in Bray.

He's also made whisky ice cream for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

He has created more than 40 flavours, among them tastes from Down Under, Acacia, Aniseed Myrtle and Lemon Myrtle. The fruits of his garden labours, he has 18 raspberry canes and is in the throes of harvesting tayberries for a special seasonal request from Harvey Nichols, provide him with ingredients for his soft fruits selection.

Then there's the sorbets... Gin and French, Dandelion and Burdock, Lychee, Mango, Orange Blossom and many more.

His small customer base comprises Harvey Nichols, the El Gato Negro tapas bar in Ripponden and The New Charnwood in Heckmondwike. He has no ambitions to expand.

The tiny work space within the cellar of his Liversedge home is sufficient to cater for demand. Churning out for mass outlets would require a factory-sized enterprise but Ian intends satisfying his current customer base. That way he can maintain it being home-made.

"It's exclusive and the people who buy it want me to keep it exclusive to them," says Ian.

As if he hasn't enough on his plate, Ian is now writing a book about ice cream, to show chefs how it's done.

"People who buy the ice cream said I had to make the effort to sell it, and chefs are now saying you have to write a book about it' because there isn't a book for chefs on ice cream. I am trying to put a bit of a domestic slant on it as well."

After maths lecturer, theatre sound engineer, ice-cream maker and writer, what next?

"My career hasn't developed logically," he says. Had he not provided the sound for school plays or handed his notice in at the last school where he was lecturing, he wouldn't have become a full-time sound professional.

"I enjoyed teaching but I also had a wonderful career all over the world with international theatre and opera. You make your own luck in life. I'd say grab every opportunity which comes your way'."