Wednesday, February 24, 2010

beer controversy in Iceland!

The Ölvisholt Brewery have released their Easter beer, a porter brewed with chocolate, cocoa and vanilla. Very interesting and creative beer.

I´ve mentioned the Ölvisholt Brewery before. They are incredibly small, situated in a barn on the south coast of Iceland. Their annual production is 300,000 liters per year. Seasonal beers appear in 5,000-9,500 bottle quantity when they are released so you can just guess how small this microbrewery is really! But fear not my American friends, soon you will be able to get their beer in the Tri-state area!

The controversy regarding this beer was the label. It was originally named "Heilagur Papi", meaning "Holy Papi". The Papar were a mysterious group of Irish and Scottish monks who settled in Iceland before the vikings. They are mentioned in written sources and ancient manuscripts but there no hard proof or physical evidence that confirm that they were here. The original label (above) has also the Papi holding a cross. The name and the cross was something that the State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland did not think that was appropriate and the brewery had to re-label every bottle of the beer.

This was a very strange and interesting decision by the state Alcohol and Tobacco Company because products such as Chateauneuf De Pape wines which have a mitre pattern or a cross emblem are sold in the monopoly stores and Jagermeister bottles with an obvious christian cross in the label as well as many other products. According to the chief executive of ÁTVR, the decision was made on the basis that it may offend the religiously sensitive people. Very strange decision indeed.

The beer is equally as interesting. Chocolate porter with a huge brown head. Aroma has obvious hints of cocoa and chocolate, with cocoa kind of dominating the whole nose. Not as carbonated as I would of thought, with fair amount of bitterness in the finish, this is a rather good beer. I´ve yet to re-rate it and give it some more thoughts. Look out for Skjálfti (amber ale) and Lava (imperial stout, simply delicious!) in a beer store near you in the next few months.


  1. I had a great idea for a beer label involving some Danish cartoons and another religious character. Maybe its best to put that label on hold for a while?

  2. haha, maybe!!

    I quite like this label though, homebrew from a friend

  3. I'll be visiting Reykjavik in May, save a few bottles for me!

  4. will try! when you coming in may? there is a ratebeerian coming over from the states, maybe a meet is not such a bad idea!