De Ranke Pere Noel
A fantastic Christmas beer, but one that defies the universal custom of a stronger, spicier beer for the holiday season. At 7% alcohol by volume, this one is relatively lighter in alcohol than the Guldenberg, and does not pack the hop punch of the XX. It combines some of the best elements of those other two beers – with a fine balance of malt and hops, complex character, a refreshing dryness, and a gorgeous cellar aroma – but is distinguished by its festive copper color. The 1999 Père Noël was a bit of a departure, with a very appealing yeasty tartness that was not readily discernible in earlier years.