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May 26, 2009

Craft Beer Exists in Iceland!

I recently traveled to the land of fire and ice, which was easily the best thing I've ever done. The only negative I knew about going in was the fact that Icelanders LOVE their light lagers. Alright, no problem. I can enjoy a light lager every now and then.

Here are two examples of the typical beer you'd find in a convenience store in Reykjavik: Gull (C- average on BeerAdvocate) and Polar Beer (which I can't seem to find on BA. I also had Maltextrakt which is just what you'd think it'd be: liquid malt extract. As in if you were to taste a stout before it was fermented, it would taste something like this. Very interesting. Very sweet. No alcohol.

So anyway, before leaving I did some research on BeerAdvocate and discovered that there actually are a small number of craft beers in Iceland. They seemed to be few and far between, so I wasn't sure I would be able to track some down. The last night we were there we had some spare time and decided to walk around Reykjavik. We randomly picked Íslenski Barinn and they just happened to have the two main beers I was looking for from Ölvisholt Brugghús, Móri and Lava.

The Móri is a delicious Red Ale with American Amber influences and the Lava is a Smoked Imperial Stout. The Móri is great, but the Lava was top notch. Among the best beers I've had. I'm sure it was amplified by the fact that I was in Iceland and was also basking in my success of finding Icelandic craft beers, but wow. It's 9.4%, so it certainly warmed me up. Just the perfect balance of smoked flavors, coffee, chocolate and liquorice (and i usually hate liquorice).

The following day before we left, we tried to find some Lava to take home with us, but unfortunately were told that it was only available at the Kringlan (mall) which would've been difficult to get to before leaving for the airport. I hope to some day make it back to Iceland, and based on how much an international beer trade would cost, I think I'll just have to wait.

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