Svalbard Brewery Beer - Gastro Obscura
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Svalbard Brewery Beer

The world's northernmost commercial brewery makes beer with water from a glacier.

When you brew beer in the Arctic, you have easy access to a special ingredient: glaciers. Sixteen percent of the water used to brew Svalbard Brewery’s beer comes from the Bogerbreen glacier, a neighbor of the small, local airport. Its makers claim the meltwater from the hunk of ice is what gives their drinks a unique flavor. 

In 2009, Robert Johansen, a Svalbard coal miner, hatched a plan to open the first brewery on Svalbard, an archipelago between Norway and the North Pole. When the authorities denied his application for a brewing license, he spent years advocating to overturn a 1928 law that banned the production of alcohol within the isolated archipelago. (It was meant to keep unruly miners in line.) Johansen succeeded, and brewed his first batch at Svalbard Bryggeri, the world’s northernmost commercial brewery, in 2015. The location is a point of pride, and the brewery website states that 94% of the ingredients come from the island.

Now, Svalbard Bryggeri produces five different beers: an IPA, a stout, a pale ale, a pilsner, and a weissbier. In addition to serving Arctic travelers, it ships its products to mainland Norway and beyond, so the rest of us can enjoy a pint from a bit closer to home.

Need to Know

Visitors hoping to visit the brewery can search out flights or cruise ships that dock at the island—Svalbard tourism is known for adventure sports, dog sledding, and glimpses of the Northern lights. 

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Kerry Wolfe Kerry Wolfe
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