Icelandic beer - Wild ideas at the arctic circle
Once operating in the shadows, Icelandic beer production has been flourishing in the last three decades. Commercial and micro breweries scattered all over the country, surprise and delight inhabitants as well as visitors with their daring creations, good craftsmanship, and hearty hospitality
A historic high in diversity
Iceland has not always been a hotspot for beer enthusiasts. From 1915 until 1989 beer and other alcohol was illegal in Iceland and not available for purchase. The majority voted for this measure because it was thought to prevent young people from starting to drink. Though other alcoholic beverages were legalized again shortly after, the beer ban lasted for 74 years.
The celebration of the annulment of this law takes place every year on the 1st of March on Icelands Beer Day called “Bjórdagur”. On the first Beer Day after the ban was lifted in 1989 Icelanders could only choose between 5 different types of beer in Iceland's governmental liquor stores. Today they can pick from many hundreds.
The sour and the sweet
Icelandic craft beer surprises with its diversity: stout beers with coffee and chocolate aroma, sour ales with a taste potpourri of berries and citrus, refreshing wheat beers - the choices are endless. Whether you prefer spicy or fruit beer, lager or pilsner, black, golden, or pale ale - Icelandic bars will fulfill all your wishes.
Some beers are brewed with the famous Icelandic milk product skyr or in breweries powered by geothermal energy. Some are made in the Westfjords and some on the Westman Island. But all the commercial and craft breweries have the most important ingredient in common: fresh Icelandic water.