Two years ago, Brandon started a semi-tradition when he bought me a bottle of North Coast’s 14th Anniversary Old Rasputin for my birthday. I put that bottle in the back of my pantry and opened it a year later, on my birthday. It was amazing. And, I fell in love with the idea of getting a bottle of beer one year, and drinking it the next.
Which brings us to my birthday this year (December 6, in case you needed to know). I didn’t have a bottle waiting in my pantry and I was adamant on finding a special beer not only for my birthday, but for these pages as well. Cue an email I received from Brandon describing a special Christmas beer from Austria. I quickly hit the interwebs trying to track it down and found it at BevMo. So let’s go ahead and start describing the awesome-ness of beer number 49, Samichlaus from Schloss Eggenberg.
Before I get to how amazing this beer, I would like to tell you the quick backstory that made this the perfect beer for my birthday. Samichlaus is brewed on one day, and one day only; December 6th. It is then aged for 10 months before being bottled and distributed for the holiday season (Samichlaus is German for Santa Claus). So, when all was said and done, I was drinking a beer from my birthday last year. It was perfect.
Which brings us to the taste of this beer. Before I start breaking down the intricacies of Samichlaus I will first share the reaction in the room between Khaos and I that I think best describes it. Upon taking my first sip the only thought that came to me was “Wow. This is pretty close to the best beer I’ve ever had.” At which point, Khaos said aloud “It tastes a lot like Cuir.” A very fitting statement since I consider Cuir to be the best beer I’ve ever had.
And now for the intricacies I promised. Samichlaus had a very heavy mouth feel with strong hints of honey, burnt sugar and maple syrup. Back to the Cuir comparison, it tasted very similar to that fine beer but was sweeter and lacked spice. But, much like Cuir, it coated my entire mouth while lingering wonderfully on my tongue.
The other thing that stood out to me was how well it carried its 14% abv. As I’ve stated before, I often expect a beer over 10% to boast a strong alcohol taste. But this particular beer did no such thing. While we’re on the topic of its alcohol content, the Guinness Book of World Records lists Samichlaus as the strongest lager beer in the world. Just another neat tidbit about what may become my staple birthday beer.
Which can mean only one thing. If this beer is in the running to be a part of my birthday celebration for years to come that means I gave it a huge “Thumb’s Up” while also adding it to the list of “52′s Faves.” To be more specific, I am placing this beer near the top of “52′s Faves.” It was that good. More so than that, it took what was an already amazing birthday (thanks to my wife and wonderful friends) and put it over the top. A very happy birthday indeed.