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Christmas Beer - Lady Brewery

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The Icelandic micro-brewery movement is somewhat of a sausage fest. This is where Lady Brewery comes in. It is a women run micro-brewery here in Reykjavik, founded in 2017. Being the only women run micro-brewery in Iceland is not their only selling point, though. They are dedicated to developing Icelandic beer, researching Icelandic ingredients in beer making their "experimental kitchen" and regularly releasing limited editions of new kinds of beer. They have a crowdfunding going on at the moment, check it out!

They have two Christmas beers, All That Glitters Ain't Gold Raspberry Ale, which only comes in a 750ml bottle and Tomorrow's Dreams an (to my disappointment) NEIPA.
I shared the raspberry ale with Jeff, my friend and probably the only person reading this blog, to celebrate his birthday. I absolutely did not bring the bottle as a birthday present, because I needed someone to share the 750ml of beer with and because I had forgotten it was his birthday and had no time to find another present. It is a very festive bottle though. You have to take my word for it, because I obviously left the empty bottle in his place, so no picture this time. All That Glitters Ain't Gold Raspberry Ale is supposed to be a fruit beer, but it is not very fruity. I found it a bit watery (I had expected it to be sweeter and more carbonated), Jeff found it a bit hoppy, we both did not taste the raspberry. We did finish the bottle, though.
Tomorrow's Dreams is a NEIPA, and another beer with oats in it. This is a disturbing trend in Icelandic beer making, why do you people keep adding oats? I might get used to IPA style beers, I actually liked the emphasis on the hops in this beer, it is more on the sweet than bitter side. I actually preferred it to the raspberry ale.

I'm a bit sad that both beers were not to my taste, I really like the concept of this brewery. I hope their crowdfunding is successful, I would be interested to try more of their (non IPA style) beer in the future. Stay away from the oats, though!

Christmas beer - Austri and Og Natúra

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Finally some micro-breweries, which only released one Christmas beer. My liver thanks you.

Austri is a micro-brewery in Egilsstaðir, founded in 2017. They have their own taproom, so if you need something to do in Egilsstaðir, you can go beer tasting. Their Christmas beer is Romm í Jól a stout with rum mixed into it. It is not as strong as it tastes (6.3%) and as I prefer rum to whiskey I like it more than the bourbon beer from Ægir or the barrel aged barleywine from Ölvisholt. However, I found rum and stout does not go that well together.


Og Natúra
Og Natúra specializes in making drinks out of Icelandic berries and herbs. They are not only a brewery, but also make wine and spirits. If you are interested in all kind of drinks made of Icelandic herbs and berries, check them out here. I was highly skeptical of Jólo their "blueberry" and pine stout.
But first we have to talk about Icelandic "blueberries". They are a lie. They call them "bláber", but they are actually NOT blueberries, but bilberries, a completely different species, something I found out after 19 years in Iceland. This is not the first time Iceland is lying about plants, a few years back they were selling spinach, which was not spinach, but some other green leafy vegetable. You cannot trust anyone these days.
I liked the stout. It was slightly sweet (probably because of the bilberries) and I did not taste the pine at all. actually, it just tasted like a smooth, creamy stout. The beer might be a lie, but it is a tasty one.

Christmas beer - Ölvisholt

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Ölvisholt is the micro-brewery that started it all. Founded in 2007 by two neighbouring farmers near Selfoss, they made the first beer in Iceland which prioritized quality over quantity. They have five different Christmas beers and to my delight, NONE of them are an IPA.


Hel: a winter porter, dark, slightly sweet, creamy, a perfect winter beer.
Heims um bjór, a red lager. Another really nice beer. A slightly darker lager with a bit of a caramel taste.
24: A barrel aged barley wine. This is a strong beer with an oak aftertaste from the barrels it was aged in. Again something for people who like whiskey or bourbon. This would be nice with Christmas dinner, it is a bit strong for just drinking just like this.
These beers are what I want from my Christmas beers, well made beers, achieving a winter taste just by using the traditional beer ingredients.

The other two beers use spices, with mixed results.

Jólabjór, a smoked bock with added cloves. The cloves completely overpower the beer and cloves are strange to use as a single spice, rather than as part of a spice mixture. If you are really into the taste of cloves, this is your beer, but then I have to tell you, you are a strange person, with strange tastes.
Jóla Jóra, a spiced imperial stout. Here we have a spice mixture. Much better than the above, you still have to feel like getting a full load of Christmas spices, but I guess this is why you are drinking a Christmas beer, right? And stouts are always a win with me.

To me Ölvisholt stands for consistent quality. May they continue to be the trailblazer of the micro-brewery movement in Iceland.

Cool German words - Totschlagargument

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Literally killdead argument is an argument that is a sure win in any discussion. I used it the other day in a video about strikes in Iceland (I'm becoming an internet star, something I will talk about in a later post). In Iceland inflation is the argument to end all arguments, if you are against any policy all you have to do is show that it will lead to inflation and the policy will be rejected, no matter how sensible it is otherwise (another Totschlagargument in Iceland is independence. In Germany, where we are less afraid of hyperinflation (because we do not try to maintain a currency with a population of 350.000) the Totschlagargument is "it will lose (or create) jobs", an argument that was used for all the new labour measures introduced in the 90s and any other kind of business friendly (and anti worker) policy. In both countries these arguments are regularly used to explain why the minimum wage cannot be a living wage.

Christmas beer - Ægir

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Ægir is a microbrewery, which also was founded in summer 2018. They specialize in brewing beer for others. If you are a hobby brewer and developed a recipe you think is really good, they will work with you to perfect it, brew it and market it.

They have four different Christmas beers and I did not really like any of them.

The first one I tried was Heilög Eilífð Barrel Aged Pastry Stout. An imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. The bourbon taste is really strong and I am neither a bourbon, nor a whiskey person (it is rum or tequila for me). I cannot give an objective review of this beer, I could only drink one or two sips before I gave up. The beer was made in cooperation with Kex brewing (a hostel with it's own brewery) and some others.
The next I tried was the Jóli Bæjó, a session IPA made for Mói, a brewing club in Garðabær. I still do not like IPAs, nor do I think they are christmassy and I´m really skeptical of throwing oats into your beer, but it tasted like a not to hoppy, light and pleasant IPA. And I think it is really cool that Ægir gives small brewing clubs the opportunity to produce their own beer for the general public (home brewing is legal as long as it is for your own consumption and not sold).
Next up was Hóhóhó, a brown ale with orange and cocoa husks. Quite christmassy, one can say, basically orange chocolate beer. I did not find the brown ale anything special and the dominating flavours were the orange and cocoa.I don't like orange chocolate, so I did not like the beer (this is what happened if you add a lot of extra flavours to your beer, just stick with water, malt, barley and hops, people!)
Last was Ekkert sérstaklega jólaleg jól (not a very christmassy Christmas). True to name, it is basically a summer beer a light IPA with lime juice. And for whatever reason oats again. This is beer, not porridge, keep the oats out of it! I know I complained about adding flavours to beer just to sentences above, but the lime juice overpowering the IPA here made it better to me. On the can it says to drink it on the beach and yes, I would (as long as it is not an Icelandic beach).

Ægir's business model of cooperating with other brewers lead to a lot of different and experimental beers, not to everyone's liking. If you have a beer idea, give them a call, maybe your beer can be the next big thing in Iceland!

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