Courtesy of Icelandair
Harriet Baskas
April 20, 2018

Icelandair gets creative when it comes to giving things names.

Its planes honor glaciers, volcanoes and other natural wonders found in Iceland. And headrest covers inform passengers that Thor, Frigg, Odin, Freyja, or some other Norse god or goddess may have just vacated that business class seat.

Now the airline has a bespoke craft beer that was created to honor its new aircraft and the journeys it will take.

Related: Take a Virtual Vacation Through the Best of Iceland

The first cans of Icelandair’s aptly named 737 Transatlantic IPA were cracked open last week on a celebratory, scenic return-flight from Reykjavik on the carrier’s first Boeing 737 MAX, which is named Jökulsárlon in honor of a glacial lagoon in southeast Iceland. The plane is quiet and fuel-efficient, with Boeing’s Sky Interior, which boasts newly designed windows, ambient LED lighting and large overhead compartments.

The special-edition pale ale was created at Boyne Brewhouse in Ireland and is made from European malts and hops from the Pacific Northwest, which is where Boeing is also brewing up the next fifteen 737 MAX 8 and 9 aircraft Icelandair will add to its transatlantic fleet over the next four years.

While the Jökulsárlon 737 MAX is now in service (with a photo competition underway for those who spot the new plane), the 737 Transatlantic IPA won’t cycle onto the in-flight menu and into the carrier’s Saga Lounge at Keflavik International airport until May 30. When it does, it will be available for about four months.

While the beer has a catchy name, how will it stand up to challenge of tickling taste buds at 30,000 feet?

Sigurður Helgason, Icelandair's past CEO and Bjorgolfur Johannsson, Icelandair's current President and CEO, toast the new plane with cans of the new 737 Transatlantic IPA.
Harriet Baskas

“The 737 Transatlantic IPA has extra fruity hops, a good strong color, a nice viscosity and a good head on it,” said FoodRepublic.com’s Jess Kapadia, who tasted the beer inflight, “I could taste pineapple, grapefruit, pine, and a little bit of banana. It’s a strong, classic IPA that reminds me of Pacific style IPA, which is a wonderful style to emulate.”

Related: How to See the Northern Lights in Iceland

Icelandair’s new beer is not only tasty, it will deliver a kick. While most beers are less than 5 percent ABV (alcohol percent by volume), the 737 Transatlantic IPA has an airline-requested ABV of 7.37 percent.

“That’s much higher than usual,” said Kapadia. “But that’s nice is you want to take a nap on your flight. And if you’re going to be flying transatlantic, you might just want to.”

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