Tag Archives: Christmas beer

ICE ICELAND BABY: Rudolph the red-nosed cured reindeer…

It’s our last night in Iceland, and we’re saving the best for last, bro! We’re hanging out at Hofnin, this classy joint on the harbourfront that would be right up there with some of the best places I’ve been to in Toronto this past year. But we’re starting off with something you would never find in the T-Dot — I’m talking cured reindeer filet, son!!!!!

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Santa’s sleigh guider has the texture of thin-sliced carpaccio, although it’s already cooked, which makes it more like charcuterie. Served with blueberries, sour cherries and asparagus, along with like a side salad or something. I’d let it join in any reindeer games, bro!!!

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And since we’re in the Christmas spirit, it only seems fitting to pair poor Rudolph with a Christmas beer — Jola Gull. Hey, if Gull Lager is the Molson Canadian of Icelandic beer, its Christmas beer is more like Iceland’s answer to Rickard’s Red…and I don’t mind me some Rickard’s Red!

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But that’s not all, folks! Up next, we’ve got duck confit — a dish you don’t see every day in Iceland. But I gotta say, this duck is super-tasty, fork-tender and unctuously rambunctious, son! Who knew I’d have one of my Top 5 duck confits in Iceland…and did I mention that it comes with a side of bacon-wrapped asparagus, which is the best possible kind of asparagus???

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Of course, you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, and this here’s a Triple B fan fav — molten chocolate cake!!! Now, I was expecting it to ooze lava out the middle like some Icelandic volcano I could never pronounce…but while the cake was served warm, it was still solid in the middle. They also paired it with a scoop of black licorice flavoured ice cream, which really kicks it up a notch!!!

Let’s just say that out of all the funky joints we’ve checked out in the Icelandic food scene, this one takes the cake.

ICE ICELAND BABY: 4-way Icelandic Christmas beer battle

In case you haven’t guessed by now, Iceland is my kinda place. Sure, it might be mighty cold and windy in the winter…but Icelandic Christmas beers help to make the season bright. It seems that every brewery in the country, from the big players like Gull and Viking to craft breweries such as Smidjan Brugghus, bring out some new festive brewskis every year for the holidays — I might hafta come back next year, bro!
 
In the meantime, here’s my take on four of Iceland’s finest Christmas beers from 2021:
 
 

JOLA GULL

Gull beer is kinda like Iceland’s answer to Molson Canadian — you see it absolutely everywhere — and it seems like people actually drink it; not just at Icelandic Men’s Hockey League games, either. I had one of these at the Blue Lagoon (where it was the only beer on tap), and can confirm that it’s pretty much the same as Canadian.
 
However, Jola Gull, their Christmas beer, actually ain’t bad. I first had one on my Icelandair flight over here, so I grabbed another one to wash down my awesome Icelandic lamb lunch at Geysir; later, it was the only beer offered to me at my last dinner in Reykjavik. It’s a pretty decent amber lager with a nice hit of caramel and a slightly sugary aftertaste. Hey, I liked it enough to drink it three times…
 
 

HALTA JOLA KETTI

The Yule Cat (or Christmas Cat) plays a big part in Icelandic Christmas folklore. Legend has it that this Kitty Gone Wild eats any kids who don’t get any new clothes for Christmas. So next time you think getting someone socks is a bad idea…think again, bro!!!
 
This festive beverage from Smidjan Brugghus is described (in English) as a “Double Dry Hop Kveik Milkshake IPA,” although it clocks in at a suspiciously low 5.5%. But the hazy colour is on point, and you can smell the hops as soon as you crack open the can. And I quite like this beer — it definitely tastes like a good, hoppy IPA…so I guess that low ABV just means you can crush more, bro?
 
 

CHOC HO HO 2021

Another entry from Smidjan. You can probably figure out what kind of beer this is from its name — a peanut butter chocolate milk stout. I mean, does it get much more Christmasey than that???
 
I really got a good whiff of peanut butter when I lifted this glass to my lips, but the taste is a lot closer to a Guinness… and there’s nothing wrong with that. If I was Santa, I’d skip the milk and cookies and grab a couple of these boys outta the fridge — although I might be slightly worried about incurring the wrath of the Christmas Cat in the process.
 
 

TVEIR VINIR & ANNAR I JOLUM

This might be the most interesting beer on the docket. This Christmas beer from Viking Brugghus, which roughly translates as “Two Friends & Another This Christmas” (according to Google) does not have any English on the can, so when I saw this “appelsinulager” I assumed it was apple flavoured. But, as it turns out, “appelsinu” is the Icelandic word for orange, so that really threw me for a loop…
 
Sure enough, there is a strong, zesty orange flavour to this beer. It’s like a good, summery wheat beer (wrong season, bro?) but with a bit more of a hoppy aftertaste. While it is nice and easy to drink, the flavour profile has got me asking, “Do they know it’s Christmastime at all,” Bro-d Aid???

Toronto Christmas Market Beer @ Mill St Brew Pub

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…which means I’m diving head-first into the Stocking Stuffer Ale, son! We’re hanging out at the Mill St Brew Pub, right in the heart of the Distillery District, where the Toronto Christmas Market was kicking off last Friday. Don’t get me wrong, I might go for a mulled wine or a winter whiskey and save some room for a giant pretzel or two, but I’m mostly just here for the beer, bro!!!

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This bold and creamy Christmas ale is inspired by all your favourite holiday desserts. You’ve got caramel, nutmeg, with a bit of raisins and figs… It’s like a liquid Christmas pudding in Flavourtown! And of course, since the name of this blog isn’t Candy Canes, Mistletoe and Beer, you KNOW I gotta go for a bacon cheeseburger, bro!!!

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Now, the way they describe the Top Shelf Stout Burger on the menu sounds pretty amazeballs. Charbroiled chuck burger, Otttawa Valley vintage cheddar, double smoked pork belly and a Cobblestone Stout aioli!? Shut the back door! But objects in the rearview mirror may appear closer than they are, Meat Broaf. The patty was a little too charred, that “double smoked pork belly” was really just two sad strips of bacon, and there were so many pickle spears on this thing that I had pickle breath for the rest of the night. But hey, I guess it drowns the beer?