The national Beer Day in Iceland
March 1st is the national Beer Day in Iceland and this year we will celebrate 25 years of legally drinking this golden beverage. Book cheap flights to Reykjavik with WOW air and get ready for the beer tasting of a lifetime!
Beer is good, without a doubt one of mankind’s greatest inventions or, as Benjamin Franklin once said: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”. Few Icelanders would disagree with Mr. Franklin but unfortunately there were a few too many of them back in the days. Beer, as well as all alcoholic beverages, was banned in 1915 to make sure that Icelanders wouldn’t drink their wits away and although Spanish red wines were legalized again in 1922, beer remained a big no-no until March 1st 1989 even though, in desperation, someone invented Bjórlíki (faux beer) – a mixture of non-alcoholic beer and strong spirits such as vodka or whisky. This means that on March 1st we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of beer in Iceland. Weird right!?
At first only two companies, Ölgerð Egils Skallagrímssonar (now known as Ölgerðin) and Vífilfell, had the capacity and know-how to produce beer. They mainly produced light and crisp lagers and until 2005, that’s pretty much all Icelanders knew about beer. And then the microbreweries arrived. First came, Bruggsmiðjan with their Czech pilsner, Kaldi. Bruggsmiðjan is located in the northern part of Iceland, near Akureyri, and their whole philosophy revolves around Czech traditions. Next came Ölvisholt, a brewery set up in a farm near Selfoss on the south coast of Iceland. Even though they came second, they are regarded by many as the pioneers of Icelandic beer culture. Their first beer was named Skjálfti (Earthquake) and ironically the region suffered a massive earthquake only two days before the official opening of the brewery.
As interest in beer rapidly increased in Iceland more followed and today there are six functional microbreweries in the country, including Bruggsmiðjan and Ölvisholt. Both Vífilfell and Ölgerðin opened their microbreweries, called Einstök and Borg in 2010 and the newest additions on the scene are Gæðingur situated in Skagafjörður and Steðji near Borgarnes. Borg is by many regarded the best of the lot, producing a large range of hugely interesting and well brewed beers, such as Surtur Nr.8 and Giljagaur Nr.14 – a massive barley wine that will give your taste buds a worthy challenge.
In 2012 Gæðingur opened up the first serious beer bar in Reykjavik called Micro-Bar which was an instant hit. Located downtown and boasting of a selection of over 100 different beers, both Icelandic and international, this place is bound to satisfy even the needs of hard core beer aficionados. Kex Hostel is also a bar worth visiting if you’re looking for a good beer in Reykjavik and so are the trendy K-Bar and Hlemmur Square.
There are lots of beers to choose from and many places to drink them in but only in Iceland will you find a national Beer Day like this one. Book cheap flights for you and your friends and have a cold one with the Icelanders in celebration of their beer drinking rights.