Featured Beer – 1st January 2018
Legend suggests that Rombald was a local giant, though the more prosaic truth is that the name is a contraction of Robert de Romille, who was given swathes of land by a grateful King William for his role in the Norman Conquest. He gave his name to Rombald’s Moor, the moorland between Ilkley and Keighley which is more commonly known – and commemorated in song – as Ilkley Moor.
Having named their beers after the song’s protagonist Mary Jane and the moor’s Hanging Stones it was perhaps inevitable they would soon turn to old Rombald himself, though this beer seems to be influenced more by invaders from across the Atlantic than by those across the English Channel.
In recent years, America’s beer scene has changed beyond recognition, initially influenced by northern European styles, but now feeding off itself to create a whole host of brilliant, bitter and occasionally baffling brews.
Amber ale is a style which I would normally associate with France – a slightly maltier, richer, oiler beer than the simple, refreshing cold lagers long associated with the warmer parts of western Europe; in both colour and taste it is closer to an traditional English bitter.
But Ilkley have taken America’s lead by creating a rich and substantial beer whose significant bitterness is anchored to a chunky caramel backbone, with suggestions of milk chocolate hidden in there too. Its aroma is light and floral, but the aftertaste lasts and lasts, drawing in some surprising dusky, dusty bitterness right at the death.
Star Rating (each out of 10)