Did you know that beer was outlawed in Iceland until 1989? It was puritanically illegal. Luckily those days are long gone and Iceland now has a booming beer scene.
Reykjavik now has everything one would need for a successful beer crawl. This includes a high density of microbreweries and craft beer bars in a small area very manageable by foot and a community of both locals and visiting beer enthusiasts who appreciate unique bars, local beer and the ever evolving beer culture.
There is no denying it - Iceland is expensive and hitting the town in Reykjavik, drinking Icelandic beer all night, might easily put a considerable dent in your wallet.
But who cares, when the beers on tap are some of the best you’ve ever indulged on?
Brands like Einstök, Borg and Kaldi brewery have changed the beer game with their all-Icelandic craft beer recipes. Now it seems like there is a new icelandic craft bar popping up somewhere every month, resulting in anything from white ale and imperial stout to rhubarb or angelica infused IPA.
Excited to try them out? Here are some suggestions for places to go:
Kex Hostel has been a leading force in the Icelandic beer boom. The Kex Brewing group brews beer for draft consumption and releases very limited supplies of canned and bottled beer.
They also run the Annual Icelandic Beer Festival, bringing together international and Icelandic brewers for a 3 day work festival.
Kaldi, which translates into “Cold”, is one of the leading craft beers in Iceland. In fact it was the first micro brewery in Iceland. If you visit their brewery up north, near Akureyri, you can even hit their beer spa! Yes, that’s a real thing.
Their micro bar in Reykjavík is small and cozy and customers can enjoy their most popular beer or whatever seasonal brew is on the taps. Let them surprise you!
Skúli Craftsbar is a great spot if you’re a newbie to the micro beer scene. Here you can find up to 15 different beers and the atmosphere is relaxed, yet the interior is elegant and refined. The most popular beers at Skúli include the award-winning Bríó (Pilsner) from the Borg Brewery, Úlfur (Indian Pale Ale) and Leifur, named after the famous explorer Leifur Eiríksson (Leif the Lucky). Skúli also offers lots of Icelandic and international guest beers. The best part? Happy Hour!
Bryggjan Brugghús is the perfect place if you’re with a large group. Chances are, almost no matter how many you are, you’ll get a seat in this spacious bar/restaurant out on Grandi.
Still considered a newcomer on the market, Bryggjan Brugghús has gone a step further than most micro beer bars in Reykjavik. They don’t just offer a good selection of quality beers, they actually make them too! Their location, in a large building at the harbour, means they have plenty of space for the necessary equipment that comes with a craft brewery.
This is you one-stop spot if you’re exhausted after having done the golden circle or other sightseeing and are looking for a one-stop spot that can accommodate all your needs, from great food to live music and craft beer made on location then you need to look no further!
Mikkeller & Friends
Mikkeller is placed at Hverfisgata 12 in one of the oldest houses of the 101 area of Reykjavík. The building also houses a restaurant and features a colorful and animated ambiance mixed with rich circus- and theatrical elements. Although Mikkeller is a Danish brewery, the Mikkeller bar in Reykjavik is one of the most popular places among locals. Mikkeller & Friends has twenty taps that offer an ever-changing range of new and unique tastes from the best microbreweries in the world.