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

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

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...

Undiscovered Eats: Move over Parkdale, Gerrard East is the new cool foodie ’hood

Undiscovered Eats: Move over Parkdale, Gerrard East is the new cool foodie ’hood

Much like Parkdale, Gerrard and Jones has a bit of an unsavoury history. Pre-reno, the Maple Leaf Tavern was the mother of all dive bars. Not exactly what one wants as the keystone to a neighbourhood. But its recent reno (which took a cool three years) has helped energize the area, transforming it from rough-around-the-edges to foodie magnet and helping to act as bait for those looking for a place to set up roots.
Posted 16 hours ago
Adam McDowell on life as a columnist, writer and drinks expert on CTV’s The Social

Adam McDowell on life as a columnist, writer and drinks expert on CTV’s The Social

Adam McDowell’s first book, ‘Drinks: A User’s Guide,’ was released in 2016
Posted 5 days ago
For his new restaurant on Ossington, Brandon Olsen has gone bananas

For his new restaurant on Ossington, Brandon Olsen has gone bananas

Brandon Olsen is a man obsessed with process. Prior to opening of his French restaurant on Ossington, La Banane, the chef spent hours in the kitchen breaking down every element of his menu in progress.
Posted 7 days ago
First Look: Tabülè adds a location at Bayview Village to their growing family business

First Look: Tabülè adds a location at Bayview Village to their growing family business

Their latest opened inside Bayview Village just a few weeks ago and is drawing on established Tabülè favourites with a few new twists.
Posted 2 weeks ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module