What do the author J.R.R. Tolkien, the British TV quiz show Mastermind, and the latest wave of craft beer have in common?
The answer: Vikings. Yep – those pillaging, polytheistic, horn-touting hairy icons of history and mythology. Vikings. And how’s that you ask? Well…
Before he was wooing/torturing the world with his Lord of the Rings multililogy (as we recently heard a customer at a local bar refer to it), Tolkien was a successful philologist, lecturing on the tenets and values of Old Icelandic literature and language (among others). Magnus Magnusson, aside from chairing everyone’s favourite Beeb game show (back when game show’s were about actual intelligence) was also a keen translator of modern and Old Icelandic, including The Vinland Sagas, Laxdaela Saga and, our personal favourite, Njal’s Saga. Wise and much missed, both of them.
So what about the beer? Well, that, as the picture above might give away, is where Einstök enters our tale. Translating as ‘one’ or ‘unique’, Einstök is the latest craft beer to hit our boozey radar – and it’s a welcome addition at that. Combining the big, American-style flavours that we’ve come to know and love with Iceland’s famously pure water (originally, rumour has it, the company had actually intended to create a luxury water brand – thank the gods for the power of distraction!). The result? A refreshingly bitter-edged IPA (that’s ‘I’ for ‘Iceland’, mind); a smooth, lightly spicy White Ale; a seasonal Doppelbock that we’ve yet to wrap our eager tastebuds around; and a Toasted Porter which will be making regular appearance at our table, with its thick, bittersweet chocolate and coffee notes (that pair nicely with a wee shooter of Jim Beam Rye).
Plus, there’s a viking on the bottle! Tolkien and Magnusson would, we hope, feel proud to sink a dram. Or at least that’s what we found ourself toasting.
Source: Einstök Beer