There's nothing better than a rich beer to warm yourself up after a rousing day in the Icelandic winter. It's only competitive to drinking the same beer on a patio during one of Iceland's rare warm days. What I'm getting at is Iceland really knows how to do beer and you'd be missing out if you didn't get to try some on your trip to the Land of Fire and Ice.
While there are microbreweries spotting the countryside all along the island, your best bet for finding bars that serve craft beer are in the larger cities like Reykjavik and Akureyi. Consider this your guide to tasting the best beer Iceland has to offer on your next trip. And if you're still looking for bar recommendations, check this out.
Skúli Craft Bar
You'll find this craft beer bar in Reykjavik, near the Settlement Exhibition. Skúli Craft Bar is that spot where you'll find lots of locals kicking off their weekend. Happy hour runs between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., where you can try one of the 14 different beers the bar carries. You'll find an emphasis on craft beers from the local Borg Brewery, as well as other award-winning brews.
Skúli also hosts tap takeovers where breweries from all around Scandinavia will come and serve their own creations. This is a great spot for someone looking for a beautiful space to drink all kinds of beer, from the basic to the downright avant-garde.
MicroBar can be tough to find, given it's located in the basement of Restaurant Reykjavik, but it's well-worth the search. This Reykjavik hotspot is known as one of the oldest craft beer bars in the country. You can choose between a wide selection of bottled beer or the 10 taps they have on draught. Originally, the bar was located in the nearby City Center Hotel, but the owners expanded after it gained popularity. Try one of the beer samplers if you can't make up your mind.
Mikkeller & Friends
You can find Mikkeller & Friends across Scandinavia, but the Reykjavik location offers 20 different beers on tap with an option to try brews in a smaller serving glass if you're having trouble choosing. Fun fact: The same building where you'll find this bar was also once Reykjavík’s first X-ray clinic.
If you get hungry, head downstairs in the four-story building to DILL Restaurant, which offers a seasonally rotating menu highlighting local ingredients.
Steðji is not technically a bar; it's actually a brewery located north of Reykjavik on the west coast near Reykholt. But if you find yourself in the area and craving some craft beer (and you've got someone who can drive you home after said beer since driving with any alcohol in your system is against the law in Iceland), do not miss Steðji. They have their own spring of some of the purest water in the world, so you know the beer has to be good.
Located in Reykjavik's old harbor, Bryggjan Brugghús is the country's first independent microbrewery and bistro. They also offer three tours — Cheers to Reykjavik, Beer Tour, and Beer School — that will bring guests through the ins and outs of creating its craft beer. And when you get hungry, order some of the traditional dishes off of the bistro menu.
Ölverk Pizza & Brewery
There has never been a better combination than pizza and beer and that's just what you'll get at Ölverk. Head to the town of Hveragerði in Southern Iceland to find this gem and don't sleep on their beers — you've got their brewmaster Elvar to thank for the variety you can find here.
From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. every day, you can take advantage of Bjórgarðurinn's happy hour. Try their pilsners, stouts, pale ales, and brown ales alongside a wide selection of bottled beers from around the globe. You can also order sandwiches and sausages in the beer garden, which is the perfect way to spend a summer day in Reykjavik.
Kex is a great meeting spot for locals and travelers, especially the latter given it's one of the most popular places for visitors to stay. The restaurant and bar consists of communal tables, so you're sure to meet a friend as you're enjoying a beer. The food cannot be missed — the dishes are so good you'll forget you're dining in a hostel lobby.
If you're headed to the northern city of Akureyi, pay a visit to Ölstofa Akureyrar — a brewer's lounge and collaboration with the nearby Einstök brewery. Here, you'll be able to try Einstök's White Ale, Arctic Pale Ale, Toasted Porter, and Wee Heavy.