In a nutshell: A complex and not so sweet Belgian Christmas beer from the De Ranke Brewery in Flanders.
The lowdown: One of the new wave of Belgian boutique breweries, De Ranke is attracting an increasing amount of attention. This beer is a festive copper colour but, other than that, unlike most seasonal beers. It has a refreshing dryness, and bitter hoppiness.
Founded as a weekend project by two friends, Nino Bacelle and Guido Devos and based in the town of Dottignies, near the French border and on the boundary between Flanders and Wallonia.
De Ranke is somewhat unusual for a Belgian brewery in that they specialise in hop-forward beers. As a case in point they use German Hallertau hops and Brewer's Gold hops to brew XX, with the reputation as on of the hoppiest regular brews in Belgium. In addition they produce a seasonal beer called XXX, which is even more hoppy. Exciting and distnictiive beers unlike any others brewed in Belgium.