Japan gets a lot of press for its continued whaling operations, but it’s not the only country that still hunts whales. Iceland also fishes a couple hundred whales a year and is one of the last remaining commercial markets for whale meat.

In fact, during the upcoming winter festival of Þorrablót, the traditional nosh is pickled whale fat along with such delicacies as burned sheep heads and pickled sheep testicles. Now what’s a real Viking to wash all that down with? Why, whale beer of course!

Local micro-brewer Steðji, in collaboration with fishing company Hvalur, had planned to offer a limited-run brew for the festival this year that contains bone meal from the endangered fin whale. A representative for the brewery describes the beer as having a “smoked caramel taste with barbecued whale meat taste in undertone and aftertaste.” Whale meat apparently tastes something like a cross between fish and beef.


Unfortunately for the brewery, the fishing company didn’t actually have a license to produce bone meal for food production, so it looks like the sale of the whale beer will be barred due to food production regulations, although it had passed safety tests. Environmentalists are calling it a victory, since they were concerned the beer might open up more markets for commercial whale use. Based on the description of the taste, I can’t say that seems very likely, but who knows what might tickle the palette of those crazy Icelanders.

Sources: Yahoo! News and Foreign Policy
Images: One Green Planet, Steðji