Schloss Eggenberg Samichlaus - 14%, 330ml, £4.95
What is there left to say about Samichlaus, really? It's been something of a mainstay in most good bottle shops and world beer bars for a long time indeed, and chances are that if you're reading this, you've probably tried it.
Once the world's strongest beer, this 14 per cent Doppelbok is brewed just once a year on the December 6, then fermented slowly for ten months or so making it lagered in the truest sense of the term.
Rather than creating a clean dry beer, however, the result is a sweet, complex ale with a rich flavour reminiscent of dried fruit and toffee apples.
Because of this, we've teamed up with the award winning Ye Olde Pie and Sausage Shop on The Shambles (who make the pub's speciality sausages) to create a limited run of Samichlaus sausages, to be enjoyed with a beer.
Pouring a glowing chestnut, with red highlights, and no head to speak of, Samichlaus smells, frankly, like pear drops and acetone. It won't win anyone over on scent alone, sadly, but the flavour is incredible: sweet, dark treacle, walnuts, bananas, a swelling of alcohol warmth and a tangy, burnt-toffee finish.
As the bottle says, this would work fantastically well with rich fruity puddings, hearty savoury dishes, or as in our case, in some hand-made locally produced sausages.
Recommended by Michael Bates, Trembling Madness, Stonegate, York.
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