Culture
Music
REAL LIVE BEER CULTURE IN ICELAND

REAL LIVE BEER CULTURE IN ICELAND

Words by

Published July 20, 2012

Micro Bar, Austurstræti 6, 101           E4
Iceland is often heralded for its wild nightlife on weekends. Late-night debauchery has even gained the attention of the US government, which now warns tourists about the carousing that takes place in downtown Reykjavík.
Belying this alluring degeneracy, though, is the bad rap Iceland gets for its big-name beer brands, beers at which connoisseurs would no doubt turn their nose up and turn to sobriety instead.
But one bar is doing its part here in Reykjavík. The hero’s name is Micro Bar. Micro Bar currently carries between 80–90 beers, even carrying upwards of 100 at times. The beers come from Belgium, Denmark, America (no Natural Light or Pabst Blue Ribbon here, though) and yes, Iceland. From pale ales, IPAs, stouts, imperial stouts, barley wines and even a few lagers, Micro Bar has something for those who enjoy flavour with their beer.
Bartender Steinn Stefánsson says the bar is always branching out for rarer beers, and at least 25 of the beers it sells cannot be found elsewhere in Iceland. “The more rare, and special the beer is, the bigger seller it is,” Steinn says. “People ask us, ‘Can I get a Sol? Can I get a Corona?’ But we don’t have them because we only want to have brands that you cannot get any place else in town.”
Beers typically cost around 1,000 ISK, but one beer (the Trappist Westvleteren 12 of Belgium) sells for as much as 4,750 ISK. And for good reason: this beer ranks No. 1 on many beer rating websites, though sadly, Steinn says of the twelve bottles recently purchased, only one remains. The bar’s draft selection of Icelandic microbrews hits closer to home (and are lighter on the wallet). During Happy Hour, which is between 17:00–19:00, one of their draft beers (this changes daily) can be had for 500 ISK.
On that note, Micro Bar does its part in promoting Icelandic microbreweries, with a bunch of Gæðingur on tap and other microbrews from Bruggsmiðjan and Ölvisholt by the bottle. The beers on draft, though, change too. Perhaps no surprise, the founder of Gæðingur helped make Micro Bar a reality. As the story goes, a particular Reykjavík bar stopped offering some of the country’s micro brews, so Gæðingur’s owner teamed up with some people to put a bar smack dab in the middle of Reykjavík that would feature strictly microbrews.
Steinn says credit also goes to Ingi and Andri Kjartansson, owners of distributor/importer company Járn og Gler. Steinn claims these part-time beer aficionados are largely responsible for choosing the bar’s wares, constantly keeping an eye out for the finer tastes in beer.
Micro Bar has some hard liquor and wine, but the real reason to go is to sample some of finest beer you can find in Iceland. “We don’t have any live music,” Steinn says. “This is a place where you can come, enjoy good beer and sit down and actually talk to each other.”
A refreshing quaff apart from traditional Icelandic nightlife, indeed. 



Culture
Music
Measure Twice Cut Once: Ambátt On Their Newest Album ‘Flugufen’

Measure Twice Cut Once: Ambátt On Their Newest Album ‘Flugufen’

by

Some things take foresight. Like building a new porch for your house. You can have all the tools, materials, and

Culture
Music
JFDR Unveils KEXP Session, Announces Reykjavík Shows

JFDR Unveils KEXP Session, Announces Reykjavík Shows

by

The cover star of Reykjavík Grapevine’s current print issue, Jófríður Ákadottir — — read the full “Year of Jófríður” story

Culture
Music
Medieval Revival: Young Bands Play (Very) Old Songs

Medieval Revival: Young Bands Play (Very) Old Songs

by

Umbra Ensemble is a five-piece band whose repertoire consists of pop songs reaching back a thousand years. Among the newest

Culture
Music
Track by Track: ‘Fantômas’ by amiina

Track by Track: ‘Fantômas’ by amiina

by

‘Fantômas’ is a haunting, suspenseful, crime-ridden album full of crooks, clumsy policemen, and bustling Parisian street life. If this sounds

Culture
Music
DJ Of The Issue: DJ Thaison

DJ Of The Issue: DJ Thaison

by

“Gakktu hægt um gleðina dyr,’ it’s something like, ‘Calm down, take it slow,’” Árni says above the clamour of pinball

Culture
Music
Straumur: Tipzy Kings

Straumur: Tipzy Kings

by and

Mugison, at first an indie darling, then the whole nation’s, just released his first album in five years. On ‘Enjoy!’

Show Me More!