Sunday, December 6, 2020

Feast of St. Nicholas

December 6 is the Feast day of St. Nicholas, one of several Patron Saints of Brewing. St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, was a wealthy and generous man. His generosity towards others led to him being the inspiration for the tradition of Santa Claus and gift giving.

It's not entirely clear why Nicholas was chosen as a Patron Saint of brewing. Tradition states that Nicholas was having a beer at an inn where the inn keeper had murdered three boys and packed their bodies in a barrel of brine. Nicholas was offered some salted meat with his beer. Due to a local shortage of food, Nicholas became suspicious, found the bodies, and brought the boys back to life.

The Saint was also an ardent defender of the Faith. Nicholas was in attendance at the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325. One of the orders of business for the Council was to refute the Arian heresy. It is said that one point the debate became so heated, an enraged Nicholas punched Arius in the face. While it may have been shocking at the time, one can't help but think he got the point across. I often think we could use a few more Bishops with the backbone of St. Nicholas today.

St. Nicholas died on December 6, in either 345 A.D. or 352 A.D. Inspired by this feast day, is Samichlaus Bier. Samichlaus is an 14% ABV doppelbock that at one time was billed as the world's strongest beer. The name means "Santa Claus" in the Swiss-German dialect of Zürich. Brewed only on December 6 of each year, the beer is aged for almost a year and released in time for the following year's feast day. Samichlaus was originally brewed by Brauerei Hürlimann, and later by Feldschlösschen Brewery. It is currently produced by Schloss Eggenberg of Switzerland.

We have some vintage Samichlaus in the cellar. Tonight will be an apt time to open a couple bottles and raise a toast to Saint Nicholas.

Happy St. Nicholas Day!


  1. I'm particularly fond of Arias being punched in the face.

    1. That story gives me chills. If only today...


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