Anybody who knows me knows I don’t drink vodka. I don’t do tequila. And I’ve never been a big fan of anything that comes with a garnish. I am, however, a beer girl. Raised in Cincinnati, a town with German roots, I have a deep love of hops, and over the years my tastes have been refined from Hudepohl and Schlitz to craft beers. Don’t get me wrong — when stuck on a riverboat for a bachelorette party in, say, Austin, Texas (thanks to my sister Emily), I will still happily down a Bud, a Coors, or a Schlitz. But I have learned to appreciate the fine craft of beer making and love a small-batch brew. So on my trip to Greenland, when I heard there was a craft brewery in town, I made a beeline for it.
The Godthaab Bryghus brewery is in a building that conveniently also houses a dive bar called Daddy’s. While “Daddy” is a great guy named Gert, the actual brewery is run by Mikael Sorenson, who swears that the beer there is made with glacier ice that is at least 2,000 years old.
“Yes, we have men who go out onto the ice and cut slabs off the glaciers for us and bring them back here for our beer,” Sorenson said.
[Side note: Apparently ice cutting is a big business. Down the street is an ice cream shop that also uses 2,000-year-old ice. “Ice cream in Greenland?” you may be asking. “Isn’t it cold enough?” No. It’s not. Greenland has the second largest ice cream consumption per capita in the world, second only to Finland. Go figure.]
While there are no official stats on how much beer is consumed in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital, judging by the crowds in the bars and the continual snow, I’d say it ranks right up there. And frankly, I can’t say I blame them — the weather is rough (see previous episode: “Snowmageddon 2015: Cabin Fever Hits Hard in Greenland”), and the beer is delicious. At the time I visited, there were five beers on tap, including the Musk Ox, the Eric the Red, and the Polar Bear (they like to name the beers after local animals). And here’s a tip: While they are all delicious, if you ever find yourself at Daddy’s in Nuuk, ask for Gert and Mikael and get them to give you the unfiltered versions of all the beers. They may smell like dirty feet, but they taste like heaven.
There is only one problem with the Godthaab Bryghus beer — while it is possibly the best beer I have ever tasted (and trust: I have tasted a lot of beer), they don’t export. So to get 2,000-year-old glacier-water beer, you have to go to the source. It’s worth it.
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