My eyes are drooping, my reactions delayed, my mood delirious. After an early morning arrival into Reykjavik, the trade off for a questionably cheap flight, I’m trying hard not to think about the fact that I’ve been up for over 24 hours, or do the math needed to determine the local time back home, as that will be my downfall.

I’ve managed to make it until now, 4pm, where I find myself sitting at the bar of one of Iceland’s top brewpubs – Skúli. This is the outpost for Borg Brugghús, one of the country’s most popular beer brands and a leader in Iceland’s growing craft scene. I’m here to try some of their unique styles and I’ve come prepared with a wallet full of cash, or rather a paid off credit card. As those who’ve been to Iceland can attest, drinking beer here is an expensive activity. Taxes on alcohol are so high that even a pint of the standard commercially brewed stuff will make your jaw drop. Though lucky for me, I’m too exhausted to do math at this point so the currency conversion is lost on me for this one blissful afternoon.

Surveying the list of the draught options, half of which are Borg’s and the other half guest taps, we start asking questions of the friendly bartender to narrow down our choices. She suggests that we start with a ‘flugbakki’, or rather a ‘flight’ for us English speaking folks. The word instantly reminds me of The Office episode with the made up Icelandic game of ‘flonkerton’, though I keep that to myself.

Back to the flight. There’s no better way to fight off my impending nap than to dive right in. A tray of six well sized pours of Borg’s year round beers are placed in front of us on a fancy wooden board. Naturally starting from lightest to darkest, we make our way through the brewery’s portfolio. From the crisp Iceland Ale ‘Snorri‘ and the floral Nordic Saison ‘Leifur‘ to the dense but delicious ‘Surtur‘ Imperial Stout, it was an impressive showing particularly from a brewery that just came on the scene a couple of years ago.

As we’re downing every last drop in each of our sample glasses, the bartender gives us the lowdown on the history of the brewery and the evolution of Iceland’s beer scene. And while we were initially disappointed that their flagship IPA and session IPA were out of stock, a consequence of their limited production and explosive increase in demand, we managed to hunt those down later in our trip.

Once there’s nothing left, she clears the glasses and asks us if we’d like anything else. The moment of truth. With a slight buzz, my concerns of needing sleep and my dwindling finances are alleviated. I go all in.


For more Iceland beer suggestions, read our full guide to the Reykjavik craft beer scene. Skúli Reykjavik photos by JP Bervoets.