If you’ve ever been filling up your AleHorn with your favorite brew and wondered what real Viking beer would actually taste like, you may be in luck! A craft brewer and botanist have teamed up with the Oslo Natural History Museum to make beer the exact same way the Vikings did.
Using an ancient type of yeast called kviek and a blend of herbs and spices known to have been used by ancient Scandanavians, Viking botanist Anneleen Kool and craft brewer Kjetil Johnson came up with a recipe they believe is pretty dang close to what ancient Vikings would have put in their drinking horns.
Can we just stop for a sec and talk about how awesome it would be to be a friggin’ Viking botanist? SO COOL (or should I say Kool?) Totally jealous. Ok – moving on.
To come up with her recipe, Kool researched herbs and plants found in viking ships, including barley, which was the Vikings’ primary grain. It’s not as simple as using what grew in Scandinavia at the time – the iron age was a time of trade among many cultures (or, in some cases, pillaging), which meant plants came in from a lot of different places.
The brewer botanist team have brewed 1,000 liters of dark beer in a first batch that was a bit too bitter for the general beer drinking public, so the folks at Grünerløkka Brygghus are brewing a modern version called “Schtøggen Viking Beer” which contains hops, sweet gale and yarrow to make it a bit more palatable. If you’re worried about a loss of authenticity with the “inspired” version of the beer, not to worry – yarrow was often used to spice beer served at Viking weddings. Kool notes that Schtøggen tastes spicy and smoky with a bitter aftertaste.
So that’s what vanquishing your enemies tastes like!