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Beer Tasting & Brewery Tours

Taste Local Craft Beers, Visit Breweries & Learn About the Icelandic Drinking Culture

Experience the unique drinking culture first-hand on these beer tours in Iceland. A must-do for every beer lover traveling to Iceland or even if you are just looking for a cold beverage to cool you down in "all the heat". Join us as we taste amazing local craft beer, visit craft breweries and learn all about the drinking culture and history of beer in Iceland.

Iceland’s unique drinking culture is as rich as it is varied, encompassing a host of different libations that are sure to excite and delight you. Europe’s northernmost country’s relationship with beer is a strange one since Icelander’s have been prevented from drinking it for much of their history. Absence must make the heart grow fonder – Iceland’s flourishing beer industry now offers some of the finest beers in the world. Join us at one of our beer tasting events or brewery tours and experience the magic of Icelandic beer for yourself. Skál!

Beer Tasting & Brewery Tours in Iceland

We offer beer tours in Reykjavik and around the country, varying from short sampler tours to more extensive beer tasting with sightseeing or other activities. View our selection of beer tours below.

The History of Beer in Iceland

Beer permeates through Icelandic culture and it's mentioned in many the Viking sagas despite the difficulty of growing barley in Iceland's extreme conditions. However, this all changed in 1915, when 60% of the country voted for a total ban on beer, wine, and spirits. The ban on wine was reversed in 1922 and the ban on spirits was lifted in 1935 – but beer remained banned in Iceland until 1989! The government argued that access to beer would tempt young and less-educated people into irresponsible drinking.

This led to Iceland developing a vibrant underground brewing industry. Beer was eventually relegalized in 1989 and the industry has been rapidly expanding ever since. Since that day, beer and beermaking in Iceland have become more and more popular, allowing beer to regain its rightful place as one of Iceland’s favorite beverages.

A glass of beer

Iceland Beer Day

Each March 1, Icelanders celebrate the day that beer was relegalized. Locals usually imbibe a few different concoctions, including ales, craft beers, and traditional lagers, making it a wonderful time to be in the country. If you're planning to visit on the first of March, then visiting a brewery or a traditional Icelandic pub during this cheerful festival is an absolute must!

Alcohol Laws in Iceland

The legal drinking age in Iceland is 20. In general, it’s a good idea to bring along your passport to show proof of your age in most establishments. Some bars and clubs have a minimum age requirement of 22-25, so it’s a good idea to check in with where you’d like to visit prior to visiting.

Iceland has very strict drinking and driving laws. The legal limit is currently 0.05, although there are plans to reduce this to 0.02 in the near future. In comparison, both the United States and Britain stand at 0.08. We obviously recommend that you don't consume any alcohol before you drive because even a small amount might put you over the limit. The fines for drunk driving are also very high, with the minimum being set at 70,000 ISK. Don’t do it.

The burgeoning Icelandic brewing industry has gone from strength to strength over recent years, offering a variety of white-crowned wonders that are perfect for every occasion. Here are some of the most popular beers on tap and bottled that you’ll find in Iceland.

  • Lava - An award-winning Icelandic beer brewed by Ölvisholt Brugghús – it’s an Imperial Russian Stout and won the ‘best Imperial smoked beer’ at the 2012 US Open Beer Championships. 
  • LeifurA very popular Icelandic ale that is produced by the renowned Borg Brugghús brewery – it’s named after the first European to set foot on American soil. 
  • KaldiA popular Icelandic blonde beer that is brewed like a Pilsner – it’s golden copper color and bitter taste makes it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.
  • Einstök WhiteA Bavarian-style beer that is especially popular in summer – Icelander’s like to have a slice of citrus with it to enhance its flavor. 
  • BríóAn iconic beer from Borg, it’s made in the Pilsner style and was the first beer that the most famous brewery in Iceland ever created.
  • Viking Gold - A classic lager that is popular throughout the country – the ideal refreshment after a day of adventure in the land of fire and ice. 
Beer Tasting and Brewery Tour

Interesting Icelandic Drinks

Iceland has a fascinating drinking culture that extends well beyond beer – here are some of the more weird and wonderful Icelandic drinks... 

  • Brennivín - A clear schnapps that is made using fermented grain or mashed potatoes and flavored with caraway. It’s nicknamed the ‘Black Death’ and is famed for its strength – definitely not for the faint-hearted. It’s Iceland’s national drink and is a must-try for steely stomached visitors who want to warm themselves up during the long Icelandic winter. 
  • Whale Beer - An Icelandic brewery company began brewing beer infused with various kinds of whales in 2014. You can now try whale testicle-infused beer among many others. 
  • Fjallagrasa Moss Schnapps - A kind of sea moss that is soaked in an alcoholic solution and then served – it was once used as medicine in Iceland and is a great drink for adventurous souls to try. 
  • Opal - A popular drink that tastes like a kind of Icelandic candy – it was once described as a poison by Quentin Tarantino. Icelanders absolutely love it!
  • Reyka Vodka - A popular vodka that is made using water from a 4000-year-old lava field – Icelanders believe that it’s the best vodka in the world. 

Beer Tours 

What better way to experience Iceland than on an exciting beer tour, which combines frothy glasses of joy with plenty of different exciting activities.

Jet Boat Adventure & Beer Tasting – This exciting jet boat tour combines an exhilarating jet boat ride on the Hvita River with a beer-tasting session hosted by a local guide. You’ll discover all about Iceland’s unique relationship with beer and go on an adrenaline-pumping ride down a glacial river – what could be better?

Icelandic Beer Tasting & River Rafting – Build up your thirst with a thrilling rafting adventure on the Hvita River and then quench it with a beer-tasting session at our base camp in Drumbo. If you want to see the extreme side of Icelandic culture, then this is your tour!

Reykjavik Cocktail Tour – Discover some of Reykjavik's trendiest nightclubs and trendiest bars, meet like-minded travelers and have a mug-full of fun. Sign up if you’re looking to taste Iceland's vibrant capital at its best!

Golden Circle & Local Food Tour See Iceland’s legendary Golden Circle, taste some traditional Icelandic delicacies and enjoy some refreshing Icelandic drinks on this amazing day tour. If you’re a foodie, then dig into this tasteful tour!

FAQ

Where can I buy alcohol in Iceland?

Alcohol is strictly regulated in Iceland, meaning that you can’t purchase it in grocery stores or supermarkets. Instead, you have to buy it from government-owned outlets called "Ríkið" (The State), which are also known as ATVR. They’re not open as late as the shops in many other countries, meaning that you may have to plan ahead. Generally, they’re open from

  • 11am-6pm from Monday to Thursday
  • 11am-5pm on Friday
  • 11am-6pm on Saturday
  • Closed on Sunday
How old do you need to be to drink in Iceland?

You need to be of at least the age of 20 to drink in Iceland – this law is strictly enforced throughout the country and no exceptions will be made.

Should I bring an ID?

Yes, we recommend that you bring identification, a valid passport is best, especially if you are on the younger side (20-30).

Can younger people go on your brewery tours?

Yes, younger people can go on our brewery tours. However, they won’t be allowed to taste the beer unless they are 20 or older.

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