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Beer and mead in the Viking period

Beer and mead
Field of barley. Photo: Peter Leth.

Beer and mead are associated with the Viking period.

Beer was made from barley. It was consumed in large quantities, because water could be dangerous to drink in the Viking period. Therefore both weak and strong beer was produced. The weak beer could be consumed by children, as well as adults. It quenched the thirst after the salty Viking food had been eaten.

The Vikings drank strong beer at festive occasions, together with the popular drink of mead. Mead was a sweet, fermented drink made from honey, water and spices.

Wine made from grapes was also known of, but had to be imported, from France, for example. It was thus a luxury product, which only a few wealthy individuals could afford.