Icelandic Beer

Magazine Icelandic Beer

So you’re planning a trip to Iceland, and there’s a laundry list of things to check off your to-do list. Flight, check. Hotel, check. Suitcase, check. Beer – hmmm. What am I gonna do about beer? We understand beer is of chief concern, and you’re in luck – beer has been legal in Iceland since 1989. That’s right. There was a prohibition on beer in Iceland that lasted for 75 years! 75 years? Yikes. Imagine going 75 years without popping a cold one. Well guess what. Now that the iron fist has been lifted from deliciously brewed barely and hops, an annual festival is held in its honor. Beer freedom for all! (Er, at least for those 20 years and older.) Every year on March 1st, the people of Iceland raise a glass (or two…) to freedom of drink!

Beer legislation has spurred cultural sentiment around the tasty beverage, and Iceland has emerged as a nation of beer connoisseurs. So, as we embark upon the quarter-century mark of beer liberty, it is the perfect time to discuss which beers to become cultured with on your upcoming visit. There are a variety of Icelandic beers you can dabble in, including a line of favorites brewed by Viking Olgerd, such as their Íslenskur Urvals Stout and Einstök Icelandic Toasted Porter. Or, pour up some Lava from the ever-so-popular brewery, Ölvisholt Brugghús. The brew masters at Ölgerðin Egill Skallagrímsson also deliver a crowd favorite, Borg Garún Nr. 19. And, depending on the time of year, you can find a mix of seasonal brews to entertain your palette, like the popular Christmas beer, Gæðingur Jólabjór. But when it comes down to it, the best thing to do is to walk into an Icelandic bar and ask the bartender to serve you up a tall glass of the local favorite. After all, who knows better than the locals? 

Now that we’ve ran through all this beer talk, if you’re still wondering if you can grab a Corona during your visit to Iceland, the answer is yes. Iceland offers an eclectic selection of beers from all over the world. Just note that the only two places you can purchase beer is 1) at a bar and 2) at a state-run wine shop, known as a vinbudin. Hey, at least you won’t have to creep to an underground speakeasy to get your hands on a cold one. Progress. Courtesy of Icelandair Hotels.

Sign up for our newsletter

Get discounts, news and other special treats


More in Magazine