Ranke XX Bitter (Belgium: Belgian Ale: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellow with orange peel looking sediment and a large bubbly head. Many gassy bubble rise within.

Nose: Light hops and dry barley. Slight chopped leaves.

Body: Good dose of hops and a creamy smooth back. An almost non sweet golden syrup taste, for all the contradiction that contains. Frothy texture and barley. Good dose of tasty bitterness. Chives, slight sharpness and lemon. Tiny sweet elements.

Finish: Dry bitter and chalky. Hops, powerful bitterness and lime.

Conclusion: I would say a simple straightforward beer done good, but behind the wonderfully bitter core is a surprising depth of flavour, though not what I would call complexity

It is forceful and rounded, surprisingly so for a hop kick of a beer, and it tastes brilliant.

It could be compared to the ragged trouser philanthropist – initial expectations would make you think it would be a simple character, but your expectations are tested and it makes you realise the flaws in your preconceptions whilst remaining true to itself.

A fine beer, no nonsense, no pretension and bloody good to drink.

Guest Taster: Will Ashworth.

Visual: Cloudy blond with lots of little small bubbles. The head is a strong white which lasts.

Nose: A slight citrus and a (possibly lambic) hoppsie nose.

Front: An easy opening of hops and bitter as expected.

Middle: The citrus from the nose kicks in with something that could be grapefruit. Damn bitter (Hint in the name?) and a bran-ish rounding.

Finish: The citrus flows on but with more gas than I like.