This is a guest post done by Fast Cover Insurance. Iceland is definitely on my bucket list for traveling to see the Northern Lights and check out some cool breweries.
To the delight of the country’s locals and international travellers, Iceland’s craft beer scene continues to grow and gain attention of beer enthusiasts across the world. Beer culture in Iceland has grown rapidly since the ban of alcohol was lifted in 1989, with several microbreweries and microbrew pubs opening to offer a range of new flavours. It is now possible to book yourself into an Icelandic beer tour to learn more about the country’s budding breweries. With Fast Cover we explore Iceland’s craft beer scene.
Ölvisholt Brugghús opened in 2007 and has become well known as the first craft brewery in Iceland. They offer tours of the small brewery and beer tasting at The Red House in Eyrarbakki, Southern Iceland. They produce brews you’ll find in numerous bars in Reykjavik. Among their brews is a lager and a Belgium style witbier. But it’s the company’s Lava, a smoked imperial stout, which has become the most popular. This smoky beer is now available in Scandinavia and Canada as well. The Móri amber ale has also received a great number of positive reviews for its fruity, grainy, caramel flavour.
Since the success of Ölvisholt Brugghús other independent brewers have joined the beer scene. Mjöður Brugghús gained local fame with Jökull, a fruity lager which gains mixed reviews.
Bruggsmiðjan Árskógssandi is another microbrewery which you can take a tour of to get insight into Iceland’s local flavours. Located in the small town of Árskógssandur, Bruggsmiðjan is the brewer of one of Iceland’s most popular beers, the Kaldi, a standard pale lager that is refreshing and slightly bitter. Kaldi beers are sold on tap in many bars including Kaldi Bar in Reykjavík. The microbrewery was founded by husband and wife Ólafur Þröstur Ólafsson and Agnes Sigurðardóttir in 2005. Between eight and ten thousand visitors explore the brewery annually.
Larger breweries are also getting involved in the craft beer scene. Ölgerðin created the Bríó, an Icelandic pilsner which won the best German-style Pilsner at the 2012 World Beer Cup. On a brewery tour of Ölgerðin you can try a range of the award winning brews from their craft brewery Borg Brugghús. Some popular flavours include the Gull and Malt & Appelsin.
In Reykjavík you should also make sure you make time to visit MicroBar in Reykjavík, which despite its name offers a wide selection of beers to try. There are over a hundred beers regularly on offer. As well as Icelandic brews you’ll also find beers from Belgium, Denmark and America. MicroBar was created by Árni Heiðar, the founder of Ölvisholt, after he ran into difficulties getting his brews on tap in Reykjavík. If you like rich and strong chocolate and coffee flavours try a Gæðingur Stout.
Skúli Craftsbar is another must visit in Reykjavík with up to 14 different beers on tap including many award winning beers from the Borg brewery. This includes the Bríó (Pilsner), Garún (Imperial Stout) and Úlfur (Indian Pale Ale). You can also try the Leifur, a unique ‘Nordic Saison’ brewed with arctic thyme which gives flavours of orange peel and kiwi fruit.
Mikkeller & Friends
The Danish influence on Icelandic beer is undeniable. At Mikkeller & Friends you can experience the flavours of Danish brews including the Hverfisgata lager. Sur Citra is an IPA that is both fruity and hoppy. There are 20 beers on tap here to taste.
Other Bars to Visit for a Taste of Iceland
- Kaldi Bar, Laugavegur 20b, Reykjavik
- Bjórgarðurinn, 1 Þórunnartún, Reykjavik
- Hlemmer Square, Laugavegur 105, Reykjavik
- Icelandic Beer Centre, Hólar: the host of Iceland’s only beer festival
- Akureyri Backpackers Café, Hafnarstraeti 98, Akureyri
- Kex Hostel, Skulagata 28, Reykjavik
Travel Tips for Beer-Lovers
Tasting the local brews is one of the best parts of travelling if you’re a beer enthusiast. But it is important to understand the details of your travel insurance policy before you go overseas. Many travel insurers will not provide cover for you if you are intoxicated. If your travel insurer doesn’t provide cover for while you’ve been drinking alcohol, you will be responsible for any emergency expenses should you become sick or injured while drinking excessively.
Ever been to Iceland? What tips do you have? What was your favorite beer?