If you’re a beer enthusiast, connoisseur, or if you just simply appreciate a good beer from time to time, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a growing trend of brewing and selling craft beers in Iceland. Beer has gained popularity in Iceland quickly, especially when you consider that for the better part of the 20th century, beer was illegal in Iceland. Even though there used to be a ban on wine, gin, vodka, and other strong liquors as well, these were all lifted by 1935. Beer, however, stayed off the table. There was a fear that people (especially young people) could not control themselves when drinking beer, and that people would be drunk during the day. Despite these concerns, the ban was lifted on March 1, 1989 – March 1 is celebrated as Beer Day since.
Skúli Craft Bar
Skúli Craft Bar is a cosy bar in downtown Reykjavík where you can get some of the best craft beers produced in Iceland. They have about 10 beers on tap and offer a variety of imported beers in their coolers, like IPAs, pilsners, imperial stouts, lagers, and porters. The bartenders are knowledgeable and will recommend the right beer to you if you feel lost. There’s also a retro Pac-Man arcade game at the back of the bar!
Session Craft Bar
Session Craft Bar is the only craft bar in Iceland with a cooled keg room, which guarantees high-quality beer. Next to a fine selection of Icelandic beers, the bar offers wines, spirits, and cocktails. Aiming to be the best craft bar in Iceland, Session Craft Bar’s motto is “If we don’t sell it, it’s because it’s not good enough…”
MicroBar is one of the oldest craft bars in Iceland. They are located in the cellar of Restaurant Reykjavík so they can be a little bit difficult to find. They have lots of Icelandic brews on offer, and their beer tasting flight with five or 10 beers is a popular choice. If you choose the beer tasting, then you will get pen and paper, so you can rate the beers. Try the Lava beer, an Icelandic smoked imperial stout, a wasabi-flavoured beer, or a fruity berry IPA.
Bastard serves their own beers, as well as a good selection of beers from other Icelandic breweries. They also offer craft cocktails, gin and tonics, whiskey, and cognac. In the evenings and during weekends, lively music is played, from rock to funk and from soul to disco. Happy hour every day between 16:00 and 19:00.
Kaldi Bar is a popular bar in downtown Reykjavík with a great selection of beers, of which many are brewed by Kaldi themselves. Kaldi Brewery brews around 12 beers, among which lagers, pilsners, English-style ales, Bock beers, porter-style lagers, IPAs, and more. A good first stop of your evening out.
BrewDog is a hip chain bar with locations all over the world, and since September 2018, also in Reykjavík. They are located one street down from main shopping street Laugavegur, in a brand-new building on Hverfisgata. They have 20 taps offering BrewDog’s favourite brews, as well as seasonal beers, one-off brews and other exclusive batches.