Despite what some politicians may rally against, there is plenty of value of what a globalized society can bring. The different perspectives and experiences that flow from one border to the next has created a connectivity that enhance ideas the world over. It may come as no surprise, that also lends itself to how people from different countries use hops and malt, too.
On assignment for GBH, I traveled in February to Reykjavik, Iceland with the goal of learning more about what that country’s beer scene is and what it offers drinkers a world apart from my bubble stateside. It’s easy to get caught up in an almost orthodox point of view of the global beer industry, where the Old World - countries like England, Belgium or Germany - and the New World - the United States - are the areas we most believe are worth our attention. But the flip side of that is the influence and cultural cache these places have, and how they’re helping to shape the way others think about and make beer.
At KEX Hostel in downtown Reykjavik, I met with Hinrik Carl Ellertsson and Steinn Stefansson to talk about their small-time gypsy brewing operation and popular interests in the Iceland beer scene, which, no surprise, seem to be trending toward the hoppy side of things as Scandinavians look to the U.S. for inspiration. With visitors from around the world coming to Iceland for an annual beer festival, we found a spot in the shared space of the hostel where Hinrik and Steinn described what it’s like to work in a young industry seeking inspiration from today’s biggest names in beer. Some that will sound awfully familiar to American beer lovers.