Malbygg brewery on Iceland is famous for their super-fresh and very foamy IPA:s, which can now be found in many craft bars and wine stores on the island. If you don´t know where to start, go with Kisi – a flavourful New England Pale Ale with Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra. The name means cat in Icelandic.
Surtur Ale from Borg Brugghús
Borg Brugghús makes some truly incredible stouts, including the famous Surtur.
Arctic Berry Ale from Einstök
Arctic Berry Ale from the Einstök Brewery is a typical Icelandic summer ale for the sunny season. Made with aðalbláber (Eurasian blueberries), it is a refreshing brew to be enjoyed under a sun that never sets.
Jóla Kaldi, a Yule Lager from Bruggsmiðjan Kaldi
Jól is the Icelandic word for Christmas / Yule and Jóla Kaldi from Bruggsmiðjan Kaldi is the perfect beer for this festive season. It is a reddish lager with strong hints of caramel.
The Ölverk brewery in Hveragerði
The seismically active Iceland is home to numerous hot springs, and you can soak in naturally hot water while enjoying a cold beer. If you want beer that´s been produced with the help of heat from such springs, visit Ölverk, a small brewery in Hveragerði who rely on geothermic energy for their production. Ölverk also runs a popular restaurant where they serve up wood-fired pizzas.
Prohibition went into effect in Iceland in 1915. The original ban prohibited all alcoholic beverages, but wine was legalized in the early 1920s, and in 1935 all alcoholic beverages became legal again with one notable exception: beer with more than 2.25% alcohol content remained illegal and this ban would last until 1989. Beer was considered especially tempting for young people, hence the ban. It was also argued that strong beer led to more depravity since it was cheaper than spirits.
As international travel increased in the 1970s, Icelanders began to enjoy strong beers abroad, and bills to legalize strong beer were regularly introduced to the Icelandic parliament. Each bill was shot down, and in 1985 pubs were banned from adding spirits to non-alcoholic beer. This new ban was widely considered ridiculous by the Icelanders, and in 1989, a full turnout of the upper house of Iceland´s parliament voted 13 to 8 to end the ban on strong beer altogether.
To commemorate the legalization of strong beer, Beer Day is celebrated on 1 March, with beer aficionados doing rúnturs (bar crawls) or enjoying beer in other fashions.
Once the ban on strong beer had been lifted, the interest in craft beer and microbrewing began to grow on Iceland. Today, the country is home to many microbreweries, which gives it a high brewery-per-capita since less than 370 000 people live in this country.