Memory Bank Beers: Samichlaus

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March 9, 2017 by Cody

Throughout one’s beer drinking journey, there are always those beverages that stand out in the memory banks. It could be an amazing beer, a craptastic beer, or an average session that is merely associated with a memorable event. One such beer in my life, has been Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg’s Samichlaus series. This Austrian brewery pumps out some of the strongest beers I’ve ever had! Samichlaus Classic and Samichlaus Bier Helles both clock in at a whopping 14% abv, which means you will find yourself debating the great empires in history with a Honduran and a Moroccan if you decide to imbibe too thoroughly, which is where our story begins.

You see, Samichlaus is a marvelous beer. It’s a strong doppelbock, which is a style that flies under the radar for most Americans, myself included. It wasn’t until my roommate and I picked some up randomly at RSVP (our local liquor store) in our mid-20’s beer discovery period, that I became aware of this wonderfulness. In those days, acquiring high octane beer was the way to go. Yes, taste mattered, but getting inebriated played a big role too.

Samichlaus made appearances at many a get together in those days, but one event was particularly momentous…the great empire debate. It was a hot summer Portland night, and the apartment I rented with my roommates Omar and Naun was sweltering, so every last window in the joint was wide open. We had all been roommates previously, but Naun and I just moved back in with Omar, so we were all celebrating our reunion, with, of course, the almighty Samichlaus. As one can reasonably expect, our impromptu party of three quickly deteriorated from a civil, friendly affair, into all out warfare.

And how do three educated men in their mid to late 20’s engage in warfare on a summer night? Drinking contest you say? Bragging rights of sexual conquests? Primal living room wrestling? Nay, dear readers, these are all quaint, barbaric activities beneath us fine gentlemen. Our method of combat…was a debate. And this, fair readers, was no ordinary debate, this was a knock down drag out fight of epic proportions! Topic? THE GREATEST EMPIRE THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN!

Naun the doctoral student, took the logical safe bet with the Roman Empire, Omar chose  the Ottomans (a daring choice!), and I went with the modern era wild card…the British! The three of us engaged in a pitched battle for hours, with points and counterpoints, interruptions and one upsmanship around every bend! Our only means of maintaining discipline, and not falling to the trappings of attrition, was the great doppelbock in all of our corners! We engaged, we battled, and we all inevitably thought we won, because our very manhood was on the line, and none would concede an inch to contrition. Soon, our debate turned into random acts of yelling, tomfoolery, and maybe some singing. Daylight hadn’t yet reared its sunshiny head, but it was most certainly on the horizon, and none of us was ready to concede the night. Until of course, the loud knock came. All of us had been in this situation before, and we all knew what interruption had befallen – Portland’s finest had been called to quell the wild beasts in Apt 2.

I was the unlucky cuss who opened the door, revealing two cops who one could tell didn’t want to be responding to a noise complaint (the very bane of police everywhere). I, as best as I could, gingerly invited the cops in. All the lights in the apartment were out, except for the lamp in the cage (aka living room), which left the cops with a clear befuddled look on their faces. “We received a noise complaint that there was a major house party happening at this address, is there anyone else in the apartment?”

20170309_212236Silence had fallen on all of us, which probably made this moment more confusing for the officers. “No sir, it’s just us three,” we all said in broken unison. “Just you guys? There’s no one else? We were told there was a big party happening.” The three of us knew this report of a house party, was the result of our unbridled 20-something ferocity, fueled solely by the Samichlaus; it took everything we had not to giggle like school children. “No officer, it’s just been us three all night,” one of us quipped. The officers sighed, told us to keep it down, and left.

The remainder of the night was short lived, as we realized that we were running on pure octane, and sleep was a necessary evil, but that didn’t stop us from laughing our asses off and finishing our beers….just a little bit quieter. Whenever the three of us get together, that story inevitably comes up (among many others of course), and we almost certainly bring up the star of the evening, Samichlaus.


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