Viking Knutr (Ross Taylor) tries Ragnar’s Revenge with Brew York’s Wayne Smith and Lee Grabham. Picture: Charlotte Graham


The Vikings were known for their love of alcohol-fuelled celebrations, so what better occasion to launch a new beer than Europe’s largest Viking celebration?

Brew York will be releasing a new, Finnish-inspired beer called Ragnar’s Revenge, to coincide with the launch of Jorvik Viking Festival 2018 on Monday (February 12).

The new beer, which will be available in cans and on tap in selected venues, is based upon the historic Finnish ale called Sahti. It has a distinct flavour, with the bitterness usually introduced to the beer using hops replaced with herbs, including juniper, fennel and rosemary.

Lee Grabham, head brewer at Brew York, said: “We have made a few changes to the traditional Sahti recipe to make the unique blend of herbs more appealing for a modern audience.

“Where, historically, the beer would be filtered through juniper and other branches and the mix would not be boiled, we’ve added the herb mixture to the mash prior to boiling, and used a farmhouse yeast to replicate a traditional flavour.

“The result is an unusual beer which is a history lesson for the tastebuds — this is a taste that the residents of Viking-age York might have enjoyed.”

The name for the new ale was suggested by the team at Jorvik Viking Centre, but Brew York has another connection to the Viking attraction — the building in which the beer is brewed was previously used as a warehouse by York Archaeological Trust for artefacts, timbers and even props used inside earlier incarnations of Jorvik Viking Centre.

Jorvik’s marketing manager, Paul Whiting, said: “We’re delighted to be involved in this collaboration with Brew York, and our Vikings are particularly excited about sampling the first samples of the new beer.

“Jorvik Viking Centre provides the sights, sounds and smells of Viking-age York, and during Jorvik Viking Festival our encampment enables you to touch replica armour and weaponry, and now you can taste a Viking-inspired beer — a Norse experience for all five senses!”

Brew York is brewing a ten-barrel batch — 1650 litres — half of which will be canned, with some to be sold at the Viking Centre’s gift shop, and the remainder as a cask beer, available to local and national outlets.

Traditional Sahti has a particularly high alcohol content (7% to 11% proof) but Ragnar’s Revenge is a more palatable 4.5%. Enthusiasts wanting to sample it first can do so in Brew York’s Walmgate Taphouse.

• For more information on the JORVIK Viking Festival, which runs from February 12-18, visit 

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