Beer, Cider and Aquavit Week

Aquavit Week in Portland is December 3-9 and this year organizer Jacob Grier has put together a whole host of spirit inspired beers, ciders, and pairings at local restaurants and watering holes. Aquavit is a semi-obscure Scandinavian spirit with a cult following. Like similar historic spirits such as gin, it has different interpretations with varying spices, but the primary signature ingredients are caraway and dill. Like vodka, Aquavit is distilled from potato or grain. Many of the 2017 Aquavit Week’s participating beer bars and breweries have turned to the spirit’s Nordic roots for even further inspiration. This series of beer and aquavit pairings and spinoffs is called Snaps & Taps.

These special brews will be featured at the restaurants and bars below, each paired with a different aquavit. Plan a crawl around to Portland to catch these before the kegs run dry!

Bazi Bierbrasserie will be featuring Breakside Brewing’s New Nordic Porter. A robust porter inspired by the flavors of aquavit, New Nordic Porter was originally brewed by Breakside back in 2012 and is being brewed for the first time since then to celebrate Aquavit Week 2017. This year’s version incorporates caraway seed and birch bark and clocks in at 6.7%. Find it at Bazi paired with Aalborg Jubilaeums aquavit.

Imperial Restaurant turns to Norway for inspiration, tapping a collaboration between Culmination Brewing and Laurelwood Brewing, Keeping It Loki. It’s a Norwegian farmhouse ale fermented with Loki, the traditional kvass strain. Pilsner malt with malted and unmalted wheat give this beer a full body complimented by tropical fruit esters from a very warm fermentation and dry hopping. Find it at Imperial paired with Krogstad Gamle aquavit.

La Moule is tapping a special keg based on Upright Brewing Six, the brewery’s original dark rye saison that drinks both malty and dry. Added to the beer is an infusion of orange peel and grains of paradise, both playing into a pairing with aquavit where the spirit and beer soften each other, letting the more subtle notes in both step up while still hitting the palate firmly and in appetizing fashion. Find it at La Moule paired with Linie aquavit.

Loyal Legion will feature the Akvavit IPA from Stickmen Brewing. This unique IPA was aged in a freshly emptied Bull Run aquavit barrel. After aging, it was dry-hopped with Cascade, Amarillo, and Chinook hops. This IPA has amazing aromas of star anise, caraway, citrus, and flowery herbs, coming in at 6.5% abv. Find it Loyal Legion paired with Bull Run Regnig Dag Aquavit.

Raven and Rose has their hands on this year’s special Aquavit Week cider offering. Reverend Nat’s An Ode to Snorri is a blend of heirloom apples fermented with Icelandic mulberries and finished with black pepper. Find it at Raven and Rose and The Rookery Bar paired with Brennivin 80th Anniversary, a rare Icelandic aquavit aged in Islay Scotch, American bourbon, and new American oak barrels.

Wayfinder Beer puts a Scandinavian twist on pilsner, taking their Pils Project #2, a decocted pils made with Bohemian malt and heavily hopped with Saaz, and infusing it with caraway and dillseed to complement the flavors of aquavit. Find it at Wayfinder Beer paired with Wayfinder’s top secret aquavit blend.

For more on Aquavit Week and it’s annual lineup of events:

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: