There are people who swear that German pilsners taste best in pilsner glasses or that American barley wine should be served in a snifter. When it comes to braggot, the beer/mead cross that was the choice of seafaring Scandinavians, what better way to enjoy it than in a Viking drinking horn?
There’s one place where bands of ruffians or business executives can buy handcrafted glass replicas of such vessels: The Eugene, OR, Viking Braggot Co. brewery (motto: “pillage responsibly”), owned by Addison Stern and Dan McTavish.
Stern has been blowing glass since his sophomore year at Palo Alto High School in Northern California. The school had one of only four high school glass-blowing programs in the country, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated teacher. Stern took to the art form immediately and spent the rest of his formative years learning the craft.
“It’s my creative outlet,” he says. “I like being able to see things in the world and transform them into glass.”
He turned most of his attention to Viking Braggot Co. after graduating from the University of Oregon business school in 2012. But he also thought it would be fun to craft a themed glass for customers.
Ancient groups of pirates weren’t exactly taking selfies while they plundered foreign ports, so no one knows what their beer glasses looked like. But “Viking culture is a ubiquitous thing that people grew up with,” Stern says. And when most people think of Vikings, the first thing that comes to mind is a pointy helmet with two horns protruding out the sides.
To fit with that image, Stern created what he calls a “cone beaker” in the shape of one of those famous horns. Each piece has a lip that helps keep it upright, but Stern wanted to create some kind of stand to keep the horns safe from spills and breakage. He just wasn’t sure how.
He mentioned his quest to a couple of frequent customers. Soon after, they showed up at the brewery with a box full of wire candle holders and other finds they’d picked up from local thrift stores. They worked perfectly. The best part is that Stern doesn’t even have to buy them. He trades free pints and merchandise for them.
Viking drinking horns retail for $30. They are available at the brewery.