Icelandic Craft Beer Trends: Raise a Glass - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Craft Beer Trends: Raise a Glass

Icelandic Craft Beer Trends: Raise a Glass

Published June 29, 2018

Photos by
Art Bicnick
Timothée Lambrecq

1988 sucked in Iceland. Beer, believe it or not, was still puritanically illegal and there was certainly no Icelandic craft beer scene. However, in 1989—as the world flocked to see the first ‘Batman’ reboot and ‘Honey, I Shrunk The Kids!’—all that changed. Icelanders immediately started getting their drink on, and they’ve never looked back. Recently, brands like Einstök, Kex, Borg and Kaldi have changed the game again with their all-Icelandic craft beer recipes—these days, you can barely move without bumping into some kind of experimental rhubarb gose or quintuple IPA, and there are micro breweries coming out of the woodwork. Beer enthusiasts, rejoice… in the following places for a great beer in Iceland.

Bartenders serving Icelandic Craft Beer

KEX Hostel

Skúlagata 28
Kex have been a leading proponent of the Icelandic beer revolution. They run the Annual Icelandic Beer Festival, which brings together international brewers with their local colleagues for three days of tasting and revelry. Kex also brew their own beers, with wonderful early results—the “Forbidden Fruit” in particular is a very zingy sour ale. The Kex organisation is at the epicentre of Iceland’s craft beer revolution.

Interior picture of bar where Icelandic Craft Beer is served

Mikkeller & Friends

Hverfisgata 12
Groundbreaking Danish craft brewery Mikkeller have a nice bar in Reykjavík. It’s called Mikkeller & Friends, because of the constantly-changing variety of guest ales that sit alongside the Mikkeller brews on the taps. It’s pricey, but you get what you pay for here—Mikkeller & friends turn every flavour up to eleven.

A picture of a Bar tender pouring an Icelandic Craft beer

Kaldi

Laugavegur 20b
Kaldi is one of the champion Icelandic craft beer brands, brewed up north near Akureyri. Their bar in Reykjavík is a cosy hole-in-the-wall place, with a literal hole in the wall—a former alleyway is now an additional seating area. Patrons can get a satisfyingly chunky pint of their unfiltered lager, dark ale, or whatever seasonal brew is currently on the taps.

Exterior picture of a bar where craft beer is served

Microbar

Vesturgata 2
The charming geek of the craft bar family, Microbar is a tucked-away basement on Vesturgata that has a healthy selection on tap, and a veritable vault available by the bottle. The barmen are true beer aficionados, and they’re always ready for a chat. It’s often quiet on weeknights, so you might be able to hear yourself think. Bonus!

An interior of a bar with a chalk board displaying Icelandic Craft Beer

Skúli Craft Bar

Aðalstræti 9
Skúli is the most “dad” of an already very daddish bar selection. With a classic rock perma-soundtrack and a gastropub vibe, it’s the perfect place to either be a dad, or take your dad. Or grandad, for that matter. They have lots of International and Icelandic craft beers, and a Bao Bun food truck parked outside. Bring your own flat cap and dance sitting down.

Bryggjan Brughús

Grandagarður 8
This spacious, swanky beer palace out on Grandi has an in-house brewery producing a constant rotation of interesting new Icelandic craft beers and things to try. It’s a bit pricey, but if you’re with a large group, you’ll definitely be able to get a seat.

An exterior shot of a bar specialising in Craft Beer from Iceland

Icelandic Craft Bar

Lækjargata 6a
This new tourist-oriented bar on Lækjargata is one of the few places you can pick up Austri beer, which is brewed out in East Iceland. They have an all-Icelandic selection, and have set their hearts on having pretty much every Icelandic craft beer available, on tap or by the bottle. They also have a basement for entertainment, so you can expect some Viking shit to be going down in the immediate vicinity.

Support The Reykjavik Grapevine!
Book your day tours in Iceland right here with us!

Go travel with Grapevine tried and recommended tours by Grapevine. Fund Grapevine journalism by booking with us.


Show Me More!