Welcome back, Santa Claus
First, the good news: Samichlaus, the most famous Christmas beer in Europe if not the world, is back.
Second, the really good news: It's available this year. Last Dec. 6, brewmasters from Eggenberger (the new brewer) and Hürlimann (the old) secretly got together and brewed the beer for release this year.
"We, family Stöhr, as one of the oldest Austrian brewers are proud to annouce that the famous Samichlaus Beer will be re-launched by Eggenberger," Karl Stöhr, managing director of the brewery, said in a press release. "We are committed to upholding the quality of Samichlaus by not making changes or altering the classic recipe, down to the ingredients and yeast. Samichlaus beer will be brewed exactly as it was brewed in Zurich at Hürlimann.
"As a successful licensee of Hürliman´s alcohol free Birell since 1975 Castle Brewery Eggenberg and Feldschlösschen from Switzerland agreed about the exclusive production and marketing of the Samichlaus Beer in the future.
"For us Samichlaus represents a very important addition to our beer-speciality- portfolio and will be the future flagship of our beer-range. We are sure, that the horizon of international activities of Eggenberger will be substantially widened with this unique brand."
About the beer
Samichlaus was first brewed in 1980, and on Dec. 6 every year after through 1996. The beer matured an entire year before being released the following December. Writing about it in 1991, Michael Jackson noted:
"It has a reddish-brown colour and a malty aroma and taste that remind me of Horlicks with a slug of alcohol added. At such a high gravity, it would be overwhelmingly cloying but for its smoothness (thanks, no doubt, to the long maturation) and that kick of alcohol. Instead, it is creamy, soothing and gently warming."
At that time he also wrote:
"It takes almost a year of slow secondary fermentation to develop the full strength of Samichlaus. I can think of no other beer that has such a long period of cold storage (in German, lagering). Nor could the location of the cellars be more appropriate. The whole of the brewery is set into the foothills of the Alps, where the technique of lagering was born (though that was, it must be conceded, on the more easterly side of the mountains in Bavaria)."
Read more from that story
Jackson was the first to report that Samichlaus is back during the first week of October and the celebration among beer lovers hasn't ended since.