Christmas beer hit the state-run ÁTVR Vínbúð alcoholic beverage stores across Iceland yesterday, an event many people await eagerly. Modeled on a Danish tradition, various Icelandic breweries now also produce a special seasonal beer before the holidays.
Regular beer. Archive photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“The selection includes 15 brands of beer or 21 different products, because some brands come in a few sizes. It is a similar number of brands as last year,” Sigrún Ósk Sigurðardóttir, assistant CEO of ÁTVR, told Morgunblaðið.
In the 2010 pre-holiday season, the Christmas beer sold out. A total of 370,000 liters of the seasonal beer was sold and the sale is expected to be at least as good this year.
In the past years, Christmas beer has arrived in stores on the third Thursday of November but from now on, November 15 will be Christmas Beer Day in Iceland.
Although each brewery has its own twist on the Christmas beer, it is usually darker in color than regular beer and has more body and taste.
Caramelized malt is used in the production which makes it sweeter than usual and sometimes there is also a hint of coffee or chocolate in the brew.