The First Annual Icelandic Beerfest went down at Kex Hostel a couple of weeks back, from February 26-March 1. The event brought many big beer boys from the brewing world to Reykjavík, representatives from breweries such as Breakside Brewery, Mikkeller, To Øl, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Evil Twin Brewing, Founders Brewing Company, and Borg Brugghús. It was a lot of fun.
The site at Kex Hostel went from being far from capacity on Thursday, to moments of being completely jam-packed on Saturday, with folks starting to complain about the crowds. Aside from such peaks and valleys, the event was a generally nice spread over the four days, the golden hour predictably occurring between five and six in the afternoon.
The Beerfest attracted a mixed crowd. As predicted, young, male professionals— predominantly engineers, developers, and ad men—featured heavily.
What about the beers?
Vífilfell’s Einstök is a dependable brand and Borg Brugghús delivered nicely as always but otherwise the young, local brewing tradition was overshadowed by award-winning colleagues from the West.
Mikkeller in particular and their sister company To Øl brought outstanding brews, and it was clear that the crowd revered Mikkel as a god, and the gypsy beers were the gospel to this eager crowd. This was illustrated further by Mikkeller opening a signature bar on Hverfisgata the same weekend. This follows the Kaldi signature bar, Skúli Craft bar, and Microbar, ensuring a healthy supply of microbrew drinking holes for the near future.
A close second would be Breakside‘s saltwater taffy stout which they released last year, and their glorious citra & chinook IPA. A full-bodied bouquet of a beer that put other (so many other) IPAs that night to shame.
One of the more adventurous ones was To Øl’s multigrain IPA, appropriately named Insane in the Grain, containing barley, rye, wheat, and oats.
Overall the event was a raging success and had a lot to offer for people who are into this sort of thing.
Until next year: Skál!