One local custom we are always keen to support when travelling is the consumption of locally brewed beers and other drinks, and this trip was no exception. We sampled several of Iceland’s beers and enjoyed them all. A draft Gull on the first night in Keflavik went down very well as an accompaniment to Chris’s dinner, while in the Hotel Ranga we tried several of those on offer. They had a very drinkable bottled lager called Hrammur which the barman told us was brewed and bottled especially for the hotel. But the stand-out here was the Lava beer – a complex, flavoursome stout that packs a real punch at 9.4 proof (and cost an equally “impressive” £7 for a small bottle!)
Also at the Ranga, we developed a taste for the local spirit, Brennivin. This is a sort of schnapps made from fermented potato mash and flavoured with caraway seeds which was very much to our taste, though I imagine it wouldn’t suit everyone. If you enjoy drinks such as grappa or akvavit you are likely to enjoy Brennivin too. At the Ranga it was served straight from the freezer, in icy cold glasses, and was the perfect after dinner drink with which to wind down at the end of the day in the cosy lounge.
When we saw the reasonably priced bottles of Brennivin at the airport we just had to buy some, and fortunately have found that we like it just as much now that we are home (something that has certainly not always been the case when we have brought home drinks after a holiday).