There wasn't as much sacking and pillaging going on at Fremont's Viking-themed Asgard Tavern as their website suggests (perhaps I went too early in the day?), but there was plenty of tasty beer from Odin Brewing Company. Which beer is most like what Vikings actually drank? Owner Dan Lee said many of the Viking recipes haven't survived for a reason, though some of their beers were filtered through juniper branches, and his own Odin's Gift is brewed with giant mesh bags of juniper. Lee previously did marketing for Miller, and then for Sonicare. "A lot of people are passionate about oral health care," he said, "I'm just not one of them." Lee's love of beer and Norse mythology, in combination with his ambivalence about toothbrushes, inspired him to start Odin and Asgard.
Odin donated its first keg to the Nordic Heritage Museum, and they're now annual sponsors of Viking Days. I tried the hoppy but not-too-bitter Sigrun IPA and the potent Belgian-style Thor's Equinox, which Lee says goes well with chocolate cake. You can also sample a stout aged in oak whiskey barrels from Oola Distillery. Odin's slogan is "Great Beer Designed with Great Food in Mind," and while the tavern oddly doesn't serve food, they do pairing events that might recall Viking banquet halls, though hopefully not Viking mushroom-induced berserker rages. (Up next: a pop-up dinner with Mr. Fox—aka Joel Jester, formerly of Revel—on October 22.)