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Craft beer in Iceland
Published: 17/08/2018

In addition to surfing, craft beer is not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Iceland. But without a doubt, it was one of the most surprising places for beer, both in quality and in quantity.

For a country with a total of 300 thousand inhabitants, 28 breweries is a very impressive number - just to have a comparison: in 2018, Brazil, with its population of over 200 million, should close the year with approximately 600 breweries.

The Icelandic craft beer scene is warm and booming. Practically every bar and restaurant has a "non-commercial" label option, and at least in the beers we taste, the quality is very high. The styles are very different  and follow the world trends: varied IPAs and sours, besides the use of local ingredients in the recipes.

If you are visiting Iceland follow our tips and learn a little more about craft beers.

Mikkeller and Friends Reykjavik
There are several units of this bar spread around the world, but we have to say that this one has a unique charm, perhaps influenced by the climate of the capital of Iceland. The space is installed in an old house and is very cozy. There are 20 draft beer selections from Icelandic and other breweries and a small menu of food, with a few main courses, a few portions and pizzas - the big star after the beer. Our tip is: ask about the local beers and ask for a pizza to accompany. You will not regret!

Bryggjan Brugghús
Considered the first microbrewery in Iceland, Bryggjan Brugghús is also located in Reykjavik in a fishing area, with boats and fish restaurants on all sides. Glued to the factory, is the restaurant where the beers are served and you can have something to eat. We tasted Robust Porter, Russian Imperial Stout, Double India Pale Ale and a Rauchbier, the beer that carries smoked malt in the recipe. All of them were very good and well made as well as super fresh. Definitely worth the visit.

Bjórgarðurinn
Installed inside the Fosshotel Reykjavik, this bar has 20 faucets from Iceland and the world. Perhaps because it was right in the center of the capital it was very crowded the day we visited it and has a profile that the people go to drink a lot and enjoy the night. The menu basically has appetizers and portions, but to accompany the beer was great. The tip once again is: ask about the local beers you will not regret.

Askur Taproom
This was one of the breweries that Cesar managed to schedule a visit. We passed the town of Egilsstaðir pretty much just to get to know the place. They had just opened the bar attached to the brewery and welcomed us very well. The head of production studied in England and put everything he learnt into practice at the small brewery. The bar offers six styles of draft, but you can take others in bottles. They produce a total of 13 styles, from IPA through Kolsch and even a beer with rice. Everything we tasted was delicious, flawless and fresh. If you're passing through town, well worth the stop.

Kaldi Brewery and Beer Spa
Kaldi is considered to be the first craft brewery in Iceland and it was another one we got to visit. The son of the founder was the one who received us and showed us everything. We had the opportunity to drink the beers directly from the tanks and even some experimental ones in wooden barrels, which are still not being marketed. Beside the brewery there is a restaurant - great food - and a beer spa, which offers treatments with products whose main ingredient is beer. We only opt for the relaxing bath in a tub full of beer, with a draft right on our side for you to serve yourself aa much as you can get.

Other brands
As we discussed at the beginning of the post, Iceland is full of craft beers and you will easily get to know the brands if you are traveling around the country. Two brands are very easy to find: Borg Brugghús and Einstök. Both produce beers of very varied styles, but extremely well done.

Another interesting brand is Ölvisholt Brugghús, which uses water from a glacier in beers. Viking is the most commercial brand in Iceland and, with so much good choice there, we can only recommend that you run from it.

Just a tip: prepare your pocket, because beer is generally very expensive. You will pay on average $ 15 for a 330ml bottle.


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