Beer and alcohol in Iceland have a long road to get to the modern world of Craft Beer. Thanks to prohibition in 1915, all alcohol was banned in Iceland until a trade dispute with Spain and Portugal forced them open their market back up to the wines of the Iberian Peninsula in 1921. It wasn’t until 1935 that prohibition was mostly repealed on all alcoholic products, except beer which had to remain under 2.5% ABV. It wasn’t until 1989 that prohibition was repealed in its entirety.
Einstök Ölgerð opened their doors in 2010. At that time there were just 4 breweries in Iceland, 2 large and 2 small. They were part of the Craft Beer Revolution in Iceland and is now the best-selling craft brand representing 60% of alcohol Iceland’s exports. Their popular Iceland White Ale is typical of the style with coriander and orange peel but also adds in oats for good measure and a nice added texture.
Appearance:Hazy pale blond, white head, good retention.
Aroma: Citrus, floral, lemon, spicy, zest.
Taste: Floral, citrus, lightly earthy.
Overall Impression: The Icelandic White Ale is a very nice interpretation of the Belgian classic. The added oats make for a nice bit of extra texture and depth of character. It’s well-balanced between the traditional Wit/Blanche flavors of orange peel and coriander with the classic wheat crispness and a touch of yeasty earthiness. It’s hard to tell a brewery’s beer from one example, but it certainly makes me much more curious to try more from Einstök.
Availability: In select states, you can view current US distribution at this link.