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Looking for an Icelandic Wine but Find Mead and Cider

Icelandic Cider

Icelandic Cider

On the way home from the International Wine Tourism Conference in France, we decided to stay in Iceland for a couple of days. Iceland Air allows travelers the opportunity to spend a few days in Iceland without an additional  airline fee.

As we always do, before leaving home, we decided to find out if any wine is made in Iceland. To our pleasant surprise we came across a fruit wine supposedly produced in Iceland.

On our second day in Reykjavik we began searching for the fruit wine. We did find out that it was a blend of rhubarb, crowberry and one other berries. Unfortunately we were not able to find this Iceland wine. At one restaurant we learned that the wine is no longer made. Production ended about six years ago, or so we were told.

At the Icelandic Bar we were quickly greeted when we arrived and soon discovered that our quest for the elusive Iceland wine was not going to happen, but rather we were introduced to a mead and cider we had not had previously.

The good news is that we discovered a mead and a cider produced in Iceland. Terry had the mead and I had the fruit cider. I discovered the cider to be awesome. The refreshing cider was a deep golden color. It had 4.5% alcohol and was very fruity with a lot of apple notes. A little lime was on the aftertaste. It also had a continuous light effervescence. If  it is available at home, it could easily become one of my favorite beverages.

The mead was a Galar Mjödur NR 29. This sparkling mead was a yellow color and had several columns of beads forming a small mouse in the center of the surface. The aroma was very floral and the taste had hints of honey suckle and daisies. The 8.8% alcohol mead had a long floral aftertaste.

Whale in a Jar!

Whale in a Jar!

Terry decided to pair the mead with a “jar” of grilled minke whale & deep fried shrimps & blueberry glaze .The Icelandic Bar serves several appetizers in what appears to be a Mason jar-style. It’s an unusual way to serve an appetizer but it looked great.

Icelandic Bar

The  Icelandic Bar is a friendly bar and restaurant – one that seems to attract the locals. The location is ideal for those visiting the main shopping street.

The original site of the bar/restaurant was also the haven for those  escaping from tear gas during the 2009 revolt. The bar/restaurant menu provides the following information.

On January 22nd 2009, The Icelandic Bar was conceived, more precisely the idea of it, and only a few days later the bar had taken form. That day was special for the fact that it was when tear gas was used to control the crowd protesting in front of the parliament building only a few steps away. Hundreds fled the gas, seeking shelter at a bar that was about to transform after this day. As staff and guests helped those fleeing the gas, an epiphany struck the bar owner, the place should be a shelter to a shocked nation. The best things that emerged out of the panic were the helpfulness and caring, it was the fake world that collapsed and what grew out of the ashes was the old way of thinking. Times do change and the Icelandic bar closed down but it never quite went away. Recently the old bar keeper passed the torch on to Veronika, who used to tend bar at the old place.

Veronika reopened in a new location and it wasn’t long until the old gang of locals started frequenting there. The Icelandic Bar is now a place to meet up, rather to plan the future than to comfort one another, and start a new era of building up and heading on.”

We have discovered the intrigue of searching for those affordable but elusive wines and learning their story. But we also discovered the joy of learning about new foods and beverages we have not encountered before.


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