When my family moved to Sweden, our plane refueled in Iceland - the home of Erik the Red, the polite gentleman who is my namesake. We were only there a couple hours and never even got to leave the airport. I have always been interested in returning.
Living in Sweden in 2nd grade was a fascinating experience, but the only relevant detail is how I spent my allowance money: on comic books (which is how I learned Swedish), and on Svagdricka - a stout "near beer" similar to Kvass.
About a dozen years ago a series of events unfolded (or folded up), and I found myself living in Santa Rosa with no particular reason to stay. I thought this would be a great time to visit Iceland. I wrote to the Icelandic Consulate and expressed my interest in a work-exchange program to study Icelandic (which is similar to Swedish). While waiting for a response, the news reported that a volcano in Iceland was erupting under a glacier, which not only sent floodwater into the town, but also threatened to come loose and wipe the town off the earth. I began to think it wasn't the best time to move to Fire-and-Iceland, and then Santa Rosa opened a public access tv station - which was much more relevant to my interests.
Years later, after winning a few video awards, I began working on a documentary series about brewpubs, and once again Destiny had other plans for me - and Cache Valley Brewing Company was born. I continued studying under the banner of the New Albion (pictured above, at the top of photo).
A month ago at Russian River Brewing Company I met Stulli, an apprentice from Iceland's brewery Ölgerðin Egill Skallagrímsson, named after the Viking hero Egill Skallagrímsson. Besides talking about Scandinavian delicacies like svagdricka and blodpudding (made from reindeer blood) we also talked about brewing in Iceland - and I was surprised to discover that breweries were legalized in Utah before they were in Iceland!
I also airbrushed a unique shirt for Stulli (above) - an unusual triumverate of Egils, Russian River, and Cache Valley Brewing Companies. (I can neither confirm nor deny that opening a brewpub is just an elaborate excuse to make t-shirts.)