Posts Tagged ‘mead’

Longships and Mead

Saturday, August 4th, 2018

So today is National Mead Day, thank Odin! And thanks to Illinois’ own stone-carving mead-maker for imparting this wisdom, because otherwise I would probably have remained as ignorant as a giant’s hair follicle. And what better way to celebrate this holiday than by spontaneously visiting a random liquor store in the suburbs for some mead tasting hosted by the good folks from Groennfell and Havoc Meaderies?

I got all excited (like an 8 year old kid who just spent his allowance on the coolest Batmobile toy of all time) yesterday when I happened upon Groennfell’s Valkyrie’s Choice Mead completely by chance. And then also by chance, I discovered that they would be hosting this tasting event, and that it was less than half an hour away. So logic and necessity dictated the course of events that followed, and I am now one 4-pack of cranberry flavored Nordic Farmhouse Mead richer. And I was also able to try a couple of Havoc’s offerings in the process, all of which were also worthy of a horn-clinking skål. My only disappointment with this expedition was that there were only four samples to try, and that I learned that the Fire on Snow Mead (“smokey maple cinnamon mead”) is only available in the winter and at the source. But maybe that will provide an excuse to drive the chunky, 4-wheeled short-ship 3 hours north to the Colchester Mead Hall after the first snow has fallen. And is it just me or does the lower half of Groennfell’s logo strike a certain resemblance to Mjölnir? Maybe I’m just seeing what I want to see.

And on a final note, it is not only a good day for mead, but also for longships. Or more accurately, a good summer for longships, because the Draken Harald Hårfagre is plying the waters up and down the New Englandic coast all summer long. A plan to hail their vessel next weekend with a couple of my brothers-in-arms is in the works, but I sure do hope they update their schedule so we know where to go. In the meantime, this just feels entirely appropriate:

Vikingaliv: Return of the Swedish Pagans

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Stockholm’s got a brand new Viking museum on the way, set to open next weekend! And it’s about damn time, too. New Viking museums don’t come along often enough, or outside of Scandinavia enough either for that matter, but that’s a separate topic that will only lead to a downward spiral of depression and heavy mead drinking if followed.

So then on that uplifting note…Vikingaliv aims to rectify Stockholm’s problem of not having a full-out museum dedicated solely to Vikings. Its creators are promising an educational experience unlike any other, one based on the latest research to give visitors a complete and accurate representation of the Old Norse lifestyle. It will also have original artifacts on loan from Historiska Museet and a shop and restaurant selling and serving authentic, local goods and food. And being situated on Stockholm’s leafy Djurgården island beside Vasamuseet (17th century piratical-style ship museum) and Junibacken (the ultra hardcore Pipping Longstocking museum), Vikingaliv is set to be in good company.

And for those of us on the wrong side of the Atlantic, at least we have some genuine Swedish pagans from Falun visiting us tonight:

Of Stonework and Meadcraft

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

I’ve heard it said that you shouldn’t combine alcohol with certain activities involving the use of heavy machinery and/or sharp tools because if you do then you might not use your best judgement and accidentally do something clumsy like cut off your arm or leg. And then if something like that does happen then you only have yourself to blame which means that the option of starting a classic Norse blood feud goes out the window, and if there’s no chance of burning down your mortal enemies’ house then where’s the fun?

At any rate, up along the fringes of Lake Michigan Ted “Stenhugger” Strandt works with sharp tools and alcohol in the sense that he both carves badass sculptures from stone and brews his own mead. Yes, it was misleading of me to imply that drunken chainsaw operation was the activity of choice, but I have never claimed to possess a high standard of journalistic integrity and that is besides the point anyway. The point is that artfully chiseled stonework honoring Norse mythology and the craft brewing of mead are both activities that I support. The image above shows one of his latest works made of marble and entitled Eitri presenting Mjolnir, which should need no explanation for anyone who has somehow managed to find this website. Below you can see some of his mighty meadcraft. So here’s a big skål to Stenhugger for fighting the good fight!

Lastly, for those of you that might be feeling a bit confused by the name, Stenhugger is not in the business of hugging stones. Hugg actually means something quite different in the Scandinavian languages.

Keeping It Real at Aifur

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Stockholm is a magical place where they have a Viking restaurant and bar that actually strives for authenticity. Normally this kind of thing would be totally gimmicky and feel like a themed version of a Chuck E. Cheese; anyone over age 10 would stand out in a sad way if they weren’t there with a younger family member. Not so at Aifur. At Aifur it’s different. They’ve done their research to make the setting cozy and believable. The staff dress in garb appropriate to the setting and time period. The menu is based on archaeological records regarding the types of animals the Norse ate, and the types of spices they used to make those animals taste better. The drink menu consists of an extensive list of Nordic beers and meads, which alone is enough to make me excited. Throw in everything else I just mentioned, and it’s like Aifur goes to 11 when everyone else only goes to 10.

Check out their “about” page in English for more info:

And below is their booze menu!

Viking Booze Burial Mound

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Hail and skål! A substantial update to the Viking Brews and Booze directory has been made, and just in time for Friday night and Midsommar, no less. Besides the two new sub-directories of Fruity Booze (wines and ciders) and the Viking Booze Burial Mound (which celebrates the Einherjar of Viking beverages), the other sub-categories have been updated in recent weeks to include: Herslev Bryghus, Odin’s Brewing Company, Olvishult Brugghus’ Freyja Wheat Ale, Midnight Sun’s Viking Dark Strong Ale, Heidrun’s Meadery, Clontarf Whiskey, and more.

In other update news, Modern Viking Job Interview #5 ought to be going up in the next week or so. Yeah, I know. Pretty damn thrilling.

Happy midsummer!

Encounter with a Miscreant

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

This is a little ditty that once upon a time was published by an online literary magazine called Bananafish, but then Bananafish went and suicided itself. It was an unfortunate day because I like people who like me and Bananafish seemed to like me even though I was writing about mead, the violent flinging of bones, and inebriated/hostile leprechauns instead of more standard literary themes such as confused sexuality, the politics of confused sexuality, religion’s role in confused sexuality, sexual inequality and confused sexuality, confused sexuality under the influence of drugs, and teenage vampires/wizards.

Anyway, for those of you who missed it and actually don’t not give a shit, here it is in all its no-longer published glory:

Encounter with a Miscreant

A spare rib struck me in the face, causing me to spill my mead, which not only made me sad, but also made me the recipient of a large number of menacing stares. Before I could even attempt to recover from this public embarrassment, all of the projectiles that had been flying haphazardly across the wooden table just moments earlier started to be hurled relentlessly in my general direction. I needed to remove myself from the fray quickly if I wanted to avoid the age-old shame that comes from being buried alive beneath a pile of gnawed-upon bones.

I remembered noticing a small passageway near the entrance to this grand hall, so I stood up and started towards it.

“Faen ta deg!”

Just as someone shouted this insult, a skillfully aimed drumstick smacked me on the side of the head. It didn’t really hurt, but a bout of laughter broke out among the assembled drunkards just the same. I grumbled and hurried along, ducking into the passageway as soon as I came to it.

Once inside, I found that it was actually a stairwell: narrow and spiraling downward farther than I could see in the poor lighting. Sure, it looked creepy, but I was curious, and I didn’t want to go back to getting pelted with bones again just yet—better to give those guys a chance to forget my unforgiveable spillage first, so I began the descent. The sounds of drunken revelry slowly faded into the background and I reached the bottom several minutes later.

The space in which I found myself was what I had always imagined the hold of a decrepit Lithuanian freighter to be like. The air was heavy with damp and rot and the dim lighting flickered unreliably. The splatter of dripping wetness could be heard in several places, along with some indecipherable creaking noises and phlegmy-sounding coughing. But this was no freighter trafficking forlorn souls across the Baltic to a life of hopeless degradation within Stockholm’s underground criminal network. No, I was underground—literally—but it was deep in the fjords of rural Norway.

A stumpy form lying on the ground near me stirred a bit.

“Ye a banshee?” it asked in a groggy, confused voice.

“What the fuck?” I gasped, the words just sort of slipping out of me. I hadn’t expected the lump to speak.

“Hey, ye bollocksed tosser! I asked ye a feckin’ question. Are ye a banshee or aren’t ye?”

Agitation coursed through the stumpy form as its movements became more intense and it flailed itself into an upright position.

It was a little man.

And suddenly I knew where I was. I had heard rumors about this place. This was the final destination for miscreant leprechauns. A despair-ridden hellhole where all dreams of retrieving that special pot o’ gold have long since disappeared. It is said to be reserved only for the worst of the worst—as defined by the guys upstairs who were busy throwing bones around at one another. But since I’m a cynical product of modern society’s failed system, I appreciated the irony here.

“Well, what have ye got to say for yeself, ye feckin’ tosser?” he asked again, hobbling the rest of the way to his feet.

I snapped out of my daze and answered, “No, I’m not a banshee. I wasn’t even wailing.”

He sighed heavily, “Well then, I guess it was just the hangover wailin’ in me head again.” He looked at the empty bottle in his hand and a tear slid down his cheek. “Be a good lad n’ go n’ fetch me another whiskey, will ye?”


“Just a wee drop, laddy, could ye do that for me?”

“No, I think I better not.”

I tried to sound sympathetic, but as soon as the words had escaped my lips he smashed his bottle against the cold floor and started to charge towards me with his new weapon, roaring, “Blarney! Ye fetch me another feckin’ whiskey right now!”

I jumped to the side just as he slashed the air where I had been standing, the force of his effort propelling him into a disgraceful face-plant on the ground. I put my foot on the small of his back, towering above him like a goddamned giant straight out of Jotunheim and wondered why the hell this freak hadn’t been shackled down.

He struggled for a while, and then feebly tossed his glass shard away. I took a step back and allowed him to sit up. Exasperated and weary, he just sat there.

But I had had enough. This guy was a jerk, and dangerous, so I decided that it was time to take my chances with the violent bone flinging again. With any luck, the guys upstairs would have moved on to some other preferred target by now anyway. I edged backwards till I reached the stairs.

“Where ye goin’, tosser?” the miscreant asked, sniffling.

I looked at him, and though I felt some pity, it was outweighed by my residual anger. He had attempted to knife me, after all.

“I’m going to go have some whiskey,” I told him.

Well, I was actually going to go have some mead, but he didn’t need to know that.

End It Like a Viking

Monday, January 4th, 2010

In keeping with the global theme of expressing false hope for a good new year, I decided to kick off 2010 with a more upbeat and positive posting than is usual here at the world’s most obscure and futile website devoted to promoting modern Viking glory: by talking about scarring, emotionally devastating break-up scenarios. …Hail onwards »

Welcome to the Mead Hall

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Welcome to the Mead Hall is a glorified/self-deprecating account of the first time I ever met Trond Troll-Breath. Published online by Word Riot, this marks the first time a literary entity has not completely blown off my research about the Modern Viking Movement. Hail to Word Riot!

Click here to read Welcome to the Mead Hall at (Note to Norse nitpickers: the editor(s) changed “nithing” to “nothing” in the text, not me!…doesn’t really matter though since the meaning’s the same.)

But first, a short, highly educational video from Lasse Gjertsen that provides deep insight into Norwegian profanity:

Lessons for Norse Youth Forgotten

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

I’ve been wondering lately if the Norsemen raised their impressionable young children with such dogmatic life-lessons as these:

“You can be whatever you want to be when you grow up as long as you put your mind to it.” …Hail onwards »

Death Metal Recital

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Recently, by means of succubine trickery and beguilement, I found myself haplessly stuck in the Middle of Nowhere, Vermont (population: insignificant) attending a ballet recital. For four countless hours I suffered through various stages of boredom and depression, flirted with insanity, and listened to the entire The Lion King soundtrack twice, because once apparently just wasn’t enough …Hail onwards »