Taste Greenlandic nature with Immiaq Beer
In Greenland there’s only one way to craft beer: microbrew
By Tanny Por

Breweries in Greenland are by default micro, as they cater to small towns and settlements.
Microbreweries are hip and trendy around the world, but in Greenland there is only one way to craft beer: by hand and with local products.

Brewery Immiaq, based in Ilulissat, is one of the biggest breweries in Greenland. Or it could also be one of the smallest, since there are only two productions in the country.

Breweries in Greenland are by default micro, as they cater to small towns and settlements. The major microbrewery is Godthaab Bryghus in Nuuk.
The other is Brewery Immiaq, connected to Murphy’s Diskotek, Cafe Iluliaq and Ice Cap Tours. Together these different establishments form a social artery for the 4500 residents of Ilulissat.

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One person is responsible for crafting Immiaq’s beer. His name is Andreas, who came to Greenland two years ago with his girlfriend. One might say that his pathway to become a brewer was unorthodox, having worked as both a chef and a member of the Danish Royal Guard. Still, qualities like understanding of taste, patience and precision are necessary for quality control. For example, all ale needs to be brewed in a climate within a difference of two degrees celsius.

“It’s fairly easy to make beer, but it’s hard to make the same product consistently. It’s also easy to make good beer, but if you want to make the same good beer, it’s really hard,” he says, almost thinking out loud.

Brewery Immiaq is a humble looking space but it is the birthplace of 11 different types of classic and specialty beers. A few large silver-looking cylinders where fermentation occurs and shelves with beakers and measuring appliances give the room a pharmaceutical feeling.

One can smell hints of hops and spices. Small bags with dried herbs sit on shelves waiting for their turn to play a role in beer-making. It’s a room primed for making a quality brew, yet sometimes the simplest problems requires creative solutions in Greenland.

“In Greenland not everything is easily available, so you have to think creatively,” Andreas tells.
The former owners of the brewery tried to use iceberg water in all of their beers, but it didn’t work out.

“Fishermen were sent to carve pieces of ice off the icebergs, because you are not allowed to carry more than 30 kilos of ice at a time. Then the brewers had to hack the icebergs into little pieces and melt it so that they could fit into a container hole the size of a golf ball,” explains Andreas.

Pouring 1000 litres of water into this hole proved to be too expensive and time consuming so the idea was dropped and now Immiaq Brewery uses fresh local water, and spices the beers with flavours of Greenland.
This year, Immiaq expects to produce about 20,000 litres of beer. There are hopes that they will eventually export to other areas of the country including South Greenland, where a specialty ale made from Greenlandic honey has been requested.

For now, popular tastes include ‘Taseq’ meaning lake, which is infused with Arctic thyme, a crisp fresh cooling beer; ‘Ullorissat’ meaning the night sky, made of black crowberry; and ‘Qaqqaq’ meaning mountain, a Greenlandic herb beer which tastes like a walk in the mountains.

“So if you haven’t had enough of the nature at the end of your day, you now have the opportunity to drink it”, Andreas says with a smile.