In French-speaking regions of the world, Père Noël is the Christmas gift-bringer analogous to Santa Claus or Father Christmas (which is in fact the literal translation of “Père Noël”). So it’s a fun play to find a Christmas beer named the same, which is what Belgium’s Brouwerij De Ranke brews each year for the holidays in their De Ranke Père Noël.
Père Noël is a Christmas ale, though very different from any other Christmas ales you might know. While most Christmas ales are rich & sweet, this one is amber-coloured, 7% vol. Alc. strong and tastes quite bitter. The complex taste is completed with the addition of liquorice. In the recipe we can also find pale malt, Munich malt, Caramel malt, Brewers Gold hops and Hallertau hops.
The French tradition of Père Noël has children leaving their shoes by the fireplace on Christmas Eve, filled with carrots and treats for Père Noël’s donkey, named Gui. If the children have been good, Père Noël leaves presents in their shoes (small enough to fit, of course, like money, candy, or small toys).
So in the beer version, the shoes would be filled with malt, hops, and licorice… or handily enough a bottle of De Ranke’s Père Noël!