Polar beer at the world's northernmost brewery

Polar beer at the world's northernmost brewery
By Joanna Gill
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"To make something of our own, that was the idea and beer was something as a coal miner we drank a lot of." Robert Johansen's passion project, a brewery deep in the Arctic circle.


Deep in the Arctic circle, in the last town before the North Pole, you will find the world’s northernmost brewery.

The beer has been made using melt waters (16%) from the local Bogerbreen glacier, some 2,000 years old.

Ex-miner Robert Johansen is the man behind the Svalbard brewery. He campaigned for five years to get the Norwegian government to change a law which forbade the production of alcohol.

Brewing beer was illegal in Svalbard from 1928 – the law was to prevent miners from making their own and over-indulging in their favourite tipple.

“The idea was to make something of our own, and beer was something as a coal miner we drank a lot of,” explained Johansen.

“We don’t want to become a big brewery. We want to stay at around 500, 700,000 litre,” he added.

The first brew was served up in 2015 and now there are five different types of beers – IPA, Weissbeer, Pale Ale, Pilsner and Stout.

The malt is from Finland, the hops from around the world and the cans come from Wales.

The cans are no accident. Carrying 20 bottles of beer on a ski-mobile can weigh you down in the Arctic, so cans were chosen for their portability.

The kegs and cans supply local restaurants, and Norwegian Airlines will soon be serving the Spitsbergen brews on their long-haul flights.

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