In 2008, the provincial liquor monopoly mandated a sticker over the Samichlaus-themed beer from Austria, and, in 2010, the AGCO prevented sales entirely on the grounds that it could appeal to children. This year, Ontario’s door is again open to the Austrian holiday beer that bills itself as the world’s strongest lager. ">

First Draught: Samichlaus, a beer for next Christmas


Published:

Samichlaus is back at the LCBO... just in time for next year's Christmas (Image: David Ort)

The LCBO and Santa — or at least the Swiss-German version, Samichlaus — have had a rocky relationship. In 2008, the provincial liquor monopoly mandated a sticker over the Samichlaus-themed beer from Austria, and, in 2010, the AGCO prevented sales entirely on the grounds that it could appeal to children. This year, Ontario’s door is again open to the Austrian holiday beer that bills itself as the world’s strongest lager. 

It might seem problematic that we didn’t see Samichlaus on store shelves before Dec. 25 — unless of course you’re on the Julian calendar and the big day is still coming up — except for one important angle. At 14 per cent alcohol (that’s higher than most wines), this beer will happily spend a year (or more) in your cellar. The heat from the alcohol will calm, and other flavours will develop depth and complexity. My plan is to stock up on a few bottles every year so that in four or five years I’ll be well-equipped for a modest, vertical tasting.

Samichlaus pours a golden amber colour with a thin, white head. The aroma is full of sweet baked goods, like biscuits drizzled with honey, and the flavour follows suit with more well-tuned sweetness and a hint of hops on the lingering finish. The alcohol’s heat is there but isn’t overbearing, even after its relatively short time in the bottle (the beer is brewed once a year, on Dec. 6, and aged for 10 months). 

Once you have your hands on two or three bottles you might wonder: how should I store these boozy Ghosts of Christmas Future? There is not as much advice for cellaring beer as there is for wine, but I did find a few common threads. Light and heat are enemies of beer (light more so), so find a place that is dark and cool. Experts seem to disagree about whether bottles should lie on their side or stand up straight, but I lean toward the idea that beer bottles are best stored upright, so that the liquid’s surface is as small as possible and, therefore, so is its contact with oxygen.   

Eggenberg Brewery’s Samichlaus, $3.95 for a 330 mL bottle, LCBO #97469

In addition to covering beer, new restaurants and food trucks for Post City, David writes about food and drink for several Toronto publications including Spotlight Toronto and his own site, Food With Legs. For more of his thoughts on food, beer and life in general, follow him on Twitter.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

BBQ City: Joanne Kates picks the sides to go with TO’s top BBQ

BBQ City: Joanne Kates picks the sides to go with TO’s top BBQ

Joanne Kates tucked into sides from these ballyhooed BBQ joints, choosing the top options to go with the southern classics.
Posted 16 hours ago
Kitchen Confidential: The dietary details on La Cubana's sandwich and a healthy option by Rose Reisman

Kitchen Confidential: The dietary details on La Cubana's sandwich and a healthy option by Rose Reisman

La Cubana’s tasty sammie dishes out 708 calories plus a wallop of sodium and fat
Posted 19 hours ago
Restaurant Update: Uncle Tetsu Matcha Café opens, revamp for Café Boulud, Crush closes

Restaurant Update: Uncle Tetsu Matcha Café opens, revamp for Café Boulud, Crush closes

This week’s restaurant news slanted more to closings (Crush Wine Bar) and significant changes (Café Boulud and Barsa) than to new restaurants opening.
Posted 20 hours ago
What to eat at Taste of Lawrence this weekend

What to eat at Taste of Lawrence this weekend

The annual Taste of Lawrence festival is just around the corner, and this year organizers are switching things up for a huge focus on food.
Posted 2 days ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleEdit Module