Austrian brewery Schloss Eggenberg is better known for Samischlaus, that Bad Santa of a beer that the brewery started producing after Hürlimann gave up the ghost on it. It’s a lovely fiery drop, which at 14% is not something on health and safety grounds I would leave out on Christmas Eve (after all you don’t want to be responsible for Santacide as Tim Allen was in The Santa Clause do you?). I picked up a bottle of the brewery’s Hopfen König recently, and this is much more manageable at 5.1%. Pale gold in colour, it’s got a mineral iron sweetness on the nose (rather a delectable combo) with some stern bitter-lemon (minus the sweetness) in the background. Soft and bitter and dry in stages, I found it an attractively bitter Pils, very German in its tightness of flavour as opposed to what I often think is the expansive character of a Světlý Ležák. It’s rather delicious as an aperitif or handsome with a piece of grilled haddock that hasn’t been lying around on the supermarket counter for too long (the haddock in its pre-grilled state of course). And all this reminds me that I should get in some Samischlaus for Christmas (now that James is 12 there’s none of that note by the fireplace nonsense anymore).