The label looks like a playing card, which ties to the history of the town it comes from (see label for more info). The beer lands in the glass with a minimally hazy medium straw color, buried beneath a massive, extremely frothy head that looks like it was just whipped up by a barista. Beautiful Belgian-y nose, replete with all you’d expect in a well-crafted Belgian Strong Pale Ale, and so much more. Three different hop varieties (none American) are used: one in the boil and two noble varieties in dry hopping. Look for notes of peppery spice, lemon (maybe lime as well), honeysuckle and an herbal flash of coriander, along with a bit of sulfur and pilsner malts, all bouncing off of LOTS of delicate noble hop notes, blending with maltier characteristics like fresh baked bread drizzled with honey. Spicy alcohol notes as well. Eminently pleasant. A flash of yeasty brine splashes on the palate, revealing the vigor of the yeast involved, with notes of white grapes and fortified white wine taking aim at the palate. The hops contribute spiciness, but also quite a bit of citrus and tea-like notes, yet there is a tingling spiciness akin to finely ground white pepper, which spikes things up quite a notch. Fruits and sweetness slide out from beneath the bite, but spice returns in the finish, along with a keen note of alcohol. There’s some bitterness in the finish, but it’s an herbal and floral, rose-like alcohol note. We got little hoppy bitterness at the end, and in fact, an unexpected little bit of funkiness asserts itself. With all the spice and yeastiness and everything else, the beer feels like it is a bit unstable, as though it could meltdown into some sort of explosive disaster—but it keeps it all together, like that rickety roller coaster you rode as a kid (the name, which translates roughly to “hop rider”, makes perfect sense). In that way, this beer feels a bit dangerous—keeping you guessing, making you pay attention, all the while disappearing far too quickly; despite its complexity, it possesses extreme drinkability. It brings to mind the “original” Belgian Strong Pale Ale (Duvel) as much as it does an extremely Saaz-heavy Czech Pilsner, blended with a dash of Wild Ale—and it’s a very nice combo. Really quite a unique beer, with raucous subtlety that doesn’t need to cite a flashy ingredients list to “go extreme.” Deftly done. The importers suggest you enjoy Hop Ruiter as an aperitif , or over a game of cards. Given the hunting history of the region near the brewery, you'll find it a fine companion to game birds, venison and hare. They also like to offer Hop Ruiter at Belgian brunches—with egg dishes, sausages, baked beans, croques monsieurs, and grilled tomatoes & asparagus.