Craft beers gained popularity around the world in the past decade, and Iceland is no exception. Since the early 2000s, microbreweries have been popping up all around the country. This is good news for beer enthusiasts, because there’s a wide range of craft beers available year-round. And that in the country that made beer illegal until 1989. In this article, we will tell you all about Iceland’s microbreweries.
Let’s start with Kaldi, Iceland’s first microbrewery, opened in 2006. They brew their beers by German beer purity law, which means they only use raw materials like water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. They offer five beers, and brew five seasonal beers and occasionally they brew limited edition beers for special events. If you would like to visit their brewery, this is possible. They are located in North Iceland, in a small town called Árskógssandur, about 25 minutes from Akureyri. They offer daily tours through their brewery. The visit takes one hour, and you will get to keep a Kaldi beer glass. You will hear the story behind the brewery and get to taste the different kinds of beer they brew.
Steðji Brewery reached newspapers around the world with their controversial “whale beer.” They brew this beer for the Þorri season, running from mid-January till mid-February, which is a time of celebration and eating traditional Icelandic food. Whatever you think of it, using sheep-dung smoked whale balls did put them on the map. If this piqued your interest, you can see for yourself how their beers are made. The brewery is open from Monday to Saturday from 13:00 until 17:00. They also offer guided tours through the brewery, for both small and big groups. Steðji is located roughly 100km north of Reykjavík.
If you prefer to stay in Reykjavík, head to Bryggjan Brugghús, a restaurant and bar with a brewery on site. You can take a tour of the brewery, where the brewers will personally introduce you to the world of Icelandic craft brewing. The brew master will tell you everything about Bryggjan’s beers and the ingredients they use. You will taste three brews poured directly from the brewery tanks. They aim to brew different styles of beer, from lager to IPA, and from Belgian double to pale ale, and you can expect exciting fresh beers during every tour.
Segull 67 is a family-owned microbrewery located in fishing village Siglufjörður in North Iceland. The trendy brewery is located inside a refurbished fish factory, once one of the biggest employers of the town. They brew amber and hopped lagers, a seasonal Christmas beer, a Belgian wheat summer beer, IPAs, and special Easter brews. During their one-hour long brewery tour, you will learn all about the background of the brewery and you get to sample their beers. They have space for groups of more than one hundred people, but smaller groups are also welcome.
Not far below the arctic circle, you can find Einstök Brewery. They are located in Akureyri, the biggest town in North Iceland. Einstök is probably one of Iceland’s best-known breweries, since they have been exporting their beers worldwide for years, winning international prizes. At Einstök’s Brewer’s Lounge, you can enjoy all their beers. You can order a “sampling axe” with a selection of their finest beers. You will also be given a deck of cards with information that will guide you through the tasting.
Ölvisholt is a microbrewery located in South Iceland near the town Selfoss. The owners renovated an old farm, and this now houses the brewery. Ölvisholt was founded in 2007 and is thereby one of the oldest microbreweries in Iceland. They brew gourmet beers using the finest ingredients. A must-try is the Lava beer. This imperial stout with a strong smoky flavour and an ABV of 9.4% has enjoyed popularity over many years. You can visit the brewery’s Tap Room, an old cowshed turned into a bar, to order a freshly-tapped beer or you can join their brewery tour. During the tour, you will hear more about the brewery and the brewing process. A beer tasting is included, and the tour takes 30-40 minutes.
Bonus: Eimverk Distillery
Iceland is not only home to beer breweries, as it has its very own whiskey distillery. Eimverk Distillery is Iceland’s first and only whiskey distillery. They produce spirits from 100% Icelandic barley: a whiskey with the name Flóki, a gin called Vor, and Víti, a traditional Icelandic Brennivín. A visit to the distillery is a must for whiskey lovers and anyone interested in Icelandic spirits. When you visit the distillery, you get to sample Flóki, Vor, and Víti, and you will learn how these Icelandic spirits are made from Icelandic barley. The tour takes a little over an hour. The distillery is located in Garðabær, one of Reykjavík’s neighbouring towns.
Getting thirsty? Try this Beer Tour in Reykjavík!