Cuvée De Ranke. Basically, if it says De Ranke, count us in.
De Ranke Hop Harvest 2012 pours a clear—albeit slightly hazy—bright gold. It has a thin, clean white head that hangs around and also re-rouses easily. The nose is a mix of fruitiness—from the yeast esters I would think, but they could be hop-derived as well—and Belgian candy malt mixed with hop bitterness. In the nose, it is reminiscent of a Belgian golden ale or a blonde, although the bitterness is more pronounced—it is actually quite beguiling, as the fruit, Belgian candy, and bright spritzy hop bitterness all dance together in the nose. Flavors are clean and crisp with the soft malt character found in many Belgian beers; it starts with malt sweetness and Belgian candy before the bitterness comes into play in the middle. There is also a mineral/hard water component mixed in with the hop bitterness that contributes the light refreshing character. The finish is dry—bone dry—and chalk full of bitterness. There might be a developing brettanomyces component coming in along with the dry bitterness in the finish (this could account for the fruitiness in the nose beyond the yeast esters), as it does finish that dry, but we’re not certain, and we couldn’t find anything online one way or the other. Like Winter 13, this is not quite an American-style fresh hop beer, although this one is much closer than Winter 13. Still, this is a fantastic beer in its own right, and certainly worth looking for again, even as an out of date fresh hop beer. Bank.
From the RateBeer website: “Hop Harvest 2012 is a well balanced blond ale with a floral and grassy character. The 2012 edition has a Père Noël base with XX Bitter hops.”