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Top 7 Best Icelandic Christmas Beers

|December 13, 2017
Anthropologist, social media guru, Icelandic nature and food enthusiast.

Christmas, the time to eat and drink until you just can’t anymore. This is the time to be merry and what better way to celebrate than to say “SKÁL” with friends and family with some great Icelandic Christmas Beers.

When visiting a new country the quickest way to get your taste of the culture is through food and drink. If you are traveling to Iceland over Christmas you will need to try some of the Icelandic Christmas beers, they are so delicious. Icelanders might not be able to grow berries for wine but we can sure make beer so we have mastered it!

Here it is the Top 8 Icelandic Beers list

7. Bjólfur Grenibjór “if you are looking for something different”

Greni means pine, so prepare for some pine action. This is a light, soft beer with a twist. It’s 5,2% vol and only comes in a bottle. Caramel + Pine = It’s worth the try. Wouldn’t drink many but loved trying it. Made by the youngest Christmas beer making brewery (2017). Golden, not so sweet, soft and a little bitter. Has roasted malts, caramel and pine.

5.2% alc./vol. / 330 ml Bottles

6. Steðji special almáttugur jólaöl – “if you are looking for the true Icelandic flavor -Liquorice”

Here is one for liquorice lovers, hence, everyone living in Iceland. A brown, sweet, sold but a little bitter. Roasted malts, caramel, and liquorice. Local knowledge: The water Steðji brewery uses comes straight from the river next to the brewery and you can really feel it in the extreme freshness.

6% alc./vol. / 330 ml Bottles

5. Egils Malt Jólabjór “the old but cold one”

Here we are talking about a dark lager beer which looks and kind of tastes exactly like the extremely popular old Icelandic drink Maltöl. This dark brown, sweet, caramel, malty and liquorice drink is the ultimate Icelandic Christmas drink (in beer form).

5.6% alc./vol. / 330 ml Bottles and cans

4. Jóla Kaldi – “if you are looking for the classic”

A strong lager, brewed from three different Cezh malts and two types of hops. Jóla Kaldi is always sold out before Christmas and this year it’s already hard to find. Jóla Kaldi has often been chosen the best Christmas beer (or since it was first brewed in 2008).

Golden, medium filling, quite dry with medium bitterness. Roasted malts, nuts, and beans.

5.4% alc./vol. / 330 ml Bottles

3. Nr. 14 Giljagaur “the sweet but strong one”

Giljagaur was on of the Icelandic Yule Lads. Three types of yeast and a perfect blend of Slovenian and American hops give this Barley wine an especially festive character. Giljagaur is dry-hopped and has sweet but mild notes of hard candy and marmalade. Golden, sweet, soft filling, medium in bitterness, dried fruit and caramel. But watch out for the %. You will be surprised!

10% alc./vol. / 330 ml Bottles

2. Kex Mas “the one you can only get on tab in the city but need to try”

Kex is a rusty industrial but super hip Hostel in center Reykjavík, it’s a popular stay and hangout spot and they have this super cool bar and behind it A BREWERY! 2017 they made their first Christmas beer and boy oh boy they know what they are doing. This 4,8 session IPA is beautifully fruity and has sold out a few times already. Be sure to get a sip!  

You can get the beer at Kex Hostel, Mikkeller & Friends, Hverfisgata 12, Skúli – Craft Bar, MicroBar, SKÁL (at Hlemmur Mathöll) and Brennda Brauðið – Sandholt eatery & bakery.

4.8% alc./vol. / On tab

1. Einstök Icelandic doppelbock “The Winner”

This beer has been a local (and international) favorite since it first came out. A dark lager, dark brown, thight drink with a hint of sweet yet bitter and roasted malts, caramel and coffee! Einstök Doppelbock just yells Christmas and is my ultimate favorite Christmas beer. If you are going for just one choose this one!

6.7% alc./vol. / 330 ml Bottles

Retired ones we hope will be rebrewed at some point:

NR. 21 STÚFUR “if you are looking for something less strong but equally delicious”

Stúfur Christmas beer is named after the shortest of the Yule Lads but one of the most special once. This is a very appropriate name for this beer, it’s malt is sheep manure smoked and it has a hint of gingerbread and juniper berries.

2.26% alc./vol.  / 330 ml Bottles

Have you ever tried an Icelandic Christmas beer?

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