02 March 2007

a cheer for beer!

This afternoon in the midst of various other conversations, co-worker K (of music video fame) informed me that yesterday was the anniversary of the legalization of beer in Iceland. The stuff was illegal here until 1989 when everyone got slightly more sensible and stopped thinking it was the poison of the divvil. Since then, they've come up with various potions, none of which compare to the beverage you can find even in the airport in Germany, although things are moving in the right direction now that Iceland's first microbrewery opened up north last year. These people seem to be so focused on the beer that they've forgotten to make a website, but if you're ever up north, order a Kaldi.

K said that back when beer was illegal, it was still allowed on the opposite side of the airport check-in, so once you'd gone through passport control, you could pick up a cold one to enjoy pre-flight (perhaps this is why Icelandair still trumpets about the business class passengers enjoying their pre-flight drink?). I think this habit dies hard, since every time I've been flying out of KEF on an early morning flight (read: 7 am) the bar has always been well-attended by Icelanders. Not my idea of a morning beverage, but apparently it's just their cuppa tea.


tsduff said...

Nice mention of that "oh-so-costly" Icelandic beverage history...

I liked the Kef airport bar - but I have to confirm that we were there in the late afternoon rather than morning, sipping a glass of wine for me, Viking for my sweetie. It is set up very nicely there.

We shall be dropping by briefly on our way to Italy at the end of May - we are debating whether or not to actually stay a night or two on our stopover. It IS Iceland afterall, and even though it would chop days off of our trip to Italy, how can we be in that beautiful Land and NOT STOP!

Jade said...

Ah, beer day. I just arrived yesterday to Iceland, and today I was asking my wife´s Icelandic relatives which Icelandic beer was the better one. They said that was Víking. Anyone have an opinion?

Visionary & Medium Extraordinaire said...

I grew up with a family that traveled a lot, so we always had supplies of excellent beer in our storage room before '89. Quite a few families did, and if I remember correctly there was airline personel that actually sold their beer on the 'black market'
I was always told that Icelandic beer didn't taste that good, because the water is too clean.
My absolute favorite beer is Hoegaarden, so I wouldn't have any clue about which is the best Ice beer.
tsduff:You gotta make at least one night, pref two going over to Europe, you won't regret it!
e:this is me sb with a new anon blog

Hulles said...

Avoid the Brennivin. (Groans slightly at the memory even though it's years old.) Beer sounds comparatively harmless though

ECS said...

terry: you're not going to recognize the airport when you get here! They've done major reorganizations and the bar is now in a completely different place. On a positive note though, when I came through last time I discovered that they are replacing the AWFUL carpet I complained about so long ago.

jade: Velkominn til landsins! Hope you're enjoying this great weather today. As for the beer, I'm not much of a drinker so I don't really have hot opinions about it.

S: I figured it was you since you're the only medium I know of! I don't know why the beer here isn't fabulous so I'll buy that answer. I agree with you on hoegaarden too- I had it for the first time in England when I lived there. I also rather enjoyed the beers in Germany, Austria, and northern Italy.

Hulles: Brennivín isn't so bad, especially when enjoyed with a bit of hákarl. It's like peanut butter and jam- they belong together!