The Show: Historical Fiction Action-Drama // 2013-2021 // History Channel
The Brews: Traditional-style Meads, lower ABV Ales – preferably served in a horn, of course.
After months of persuasion, my boyfriend finally convinced me to join him in watching Vikings. That was in 2017, and it didn’t take long for me to to realize I had been seriously missing out on years of exciting episodes. Hey, in my defense, the History Channel was best known at the time for Ancient Aliens, a total train wreck of a show (and one that I’ll rant about in great detail when I find a beer strong enough to get me through more viewings. If you need to know right now why I hate it, this sums it up). But I digress. Vikings is plain-and-simple awesome even with its flaws, and I am brimming with excitement for the final season – er, the second half of the final season – set to premiere early on Amazon Prime at the end of the month.
Is Bjorn actually alive? Will Ivar and the Rus seize Kattegat? Will Torvi ever age? Time put on my comfiest TV-bingeing leggings and find out! And whether you’re in your own leggings, sweats, jeans, or some furs you grabbed on your last raid, here are five Viking-appropriate brews to enhance your viewing:
- Dansk Mjöd – Viking Blod Mead
According to just about every Viking history website I’ve checked out (not History Channel; actual history on sites like NorseTradesman.com, norse-mythology.org, sonsofvikings.com, etc.), the most common alcoholic beverage by far amongst the Vikings of yore was Mead. If you don’t drink Mead often, it may come as a bit of a surprise that you actually have a lot to choose from these days. In fact, some of the top 10-rated “breweries” over on Untappd are actually Meaderies, and they’re whipping up tons of flavorful creations that go beyond simple honey wine.
But for a Mead rendition that truly captures the Viking spirit, I gotta go with Viking Blod Mead from Denmark’s own Dansk Mjod (you can get this stateside at Total Wine & More). Clocking in at a mind-numbing 19% ABV, this Mead is simply fermented water, honey, ginger, and hibiscus. You can practically hear the political ramblings from Kattegat’s elite in every sip.
2. Anchorage Brewing – A Deal with the Devil
In addition to Mead, Vikings definitely drank beer. That said, historians seem to have little detailed information on the subject, referring to Viking beer only as “Strong Ales” or “Strong beer” that was made primarily from barley. So, we can afford to get a bit imaginative here and choose one of today’s super-strong Barleywines to fill in.
Since the final season of Vikings is bound to be rife with drama, I’m going hard and heavy with Anchorage Brewing‘s A Deal with the Devil Barleywine. This is one of those beers that craft fans yearn for, like the Iceland Vikings seeking out their fortunes in a land few have visited. Plus it’s brewed in Alaska, whose snowy reputation is reminiscent of Iceland and old Russia if you’re seeking further connection with this season of Vikings. But make no mistake, this beer is the real deal. Anchorage brews it with Galaxy Hops, then ages it for a minimum 11 months in Cognac barrels. There’s tons of complexity here, and you’ll definitely feel as powerful as a Viking warrior while drinking it.
3. Carlsberg – Elephant Beer
For those who want to feel a little closer to actual Norse territory, there’s this beer from Denmark’s Carlsberg. Their Elephant Beer is a Strong Lager, considered “strong as an elephant both in flavor and alcohol content.” That alcohol content is a 7.2% ABV, by the way. It actually tastes pretty clean and crisp too – the perfect refreshment after a long day of scheming and battling your foes.
Did Vikings actually drink what we know as Lagers today? Probably not, unless they were an old version filled with barley and came with a big fat question mark for an ABV. That said, seeking out Elephant Beer here in the states (it’s possible but only at select stores) will feel like a Viking-esque voyage.
4. Kings County Brewers Collective – Viking Disco DDH IPA
So what if Hazy IPAs definitely were not a thing in the Viking days? You’re watching a History Channel show with a lot of creative liberties. Besides, I’ll take any excuse to try a new IPA from New York’s Kings County Brewers Collective (better known as KCBC). These guys are total Lagerthas when it comes to the hop game anyway, as in, they know what they want, and they’ve got the skills and the cunning to get there. They’re also not afraid to collaborate every now and then, which they did for Viking Disco DDH IPA (a team-up with Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co.).
Double Dry Hopped IPA with Mosaic, Citra and Vic Secret, Viking Disco is a juicy quencher that’d pair nicely alongside a whole smorgasbord of Viking meats, stews, and breads.
5. Drekker Brewing – Techno Viking Berliner Weisse
If you’re familiar with Drekker Brewing Co., you know they’re in Fargo, North Dakota. You also know that they freaking love Vikings (the people, anyway – not sure about the brewers’ feelings on the show), and everything from their logo to their taproom to their charity project follows some kind of Norse theme. So if you’re opting for some cool beers to sip during the final season of Vikings, you really can’t go wrong with these guys.
Techno Viking Berliner Weisse is a great place to start. No, Vikings probably didn’t drink Berliner Weisse-style beers per se, but it is possible that they had access to early Sour Ales and Wheat Ales, which this style stems from. Besides, it’s some great refreshment while you’re groaning about Hvitserk going back to being useless.
*Bonus Brew* The Red Miller (Red Wine) – Balfour Hush Heath Estate
Only on rare occasions did actual Vikings drink wine, and I’m actually struggling to think of a single moment in the show featuring wine (if you can think of one, please let me know, and I’ll add it in faster than Ivar throws axes). But if you simply must drink wine during Vikings, try going with an old world one, like The Red Miller from Balfour Hush Heath Estate. Hey, you can always pretend you scurried overseas and picked it up while storming a castle.