The story of Aegir’s Ale


In Nordic mythology Ægir (also Ägir, Gymir or Hlér) is the name of a giant of the sea, a so called jötunn, that is often mistaken for a god. Ægir is the brother of Kári (Wind) and Logi (Fire), and lives with his wife Ran and 9 daughters in a hall beneath the sea that is home to the souls of everyone who drowns. In the Edda (a prosa written shortly after Iceland’s Christianization), Ægir is a friend of the gods and known to brew the best beer (mead) in the Nine Worlds. 

Ægir’s hall is not lit by fire but instead by bright gold reflecting the light in his palace under the sea. Every year he invites the Norse gods to a great feast in his hall. According to legend the food was magically transported to the guests and the drinking-horns fill themselves with Ægir’s famous ale (mead).  According to Odin, Ægir ale (mead) is the best of all beers. As gods are known to be thirsty, fights among gods were not allowed in Ægir’s hall. Rule breakers making trouble were banished for all eternity from the hall under the sea.

One day, all gods were at Ægir banquet when they learned that the was no ale (mead) left. The giant explained that he had no brewing cattle large enough to satisfy the thirst of the gods. Immediately, Thor went to Jotunheim to acquire a large cauldron for the Lord of the Sea to brew more beer. On his quest, Thor encountered Jormungand and he managed to win the large brewing cattle from the giant Hyme which he handed to Ægir. This made Ægir the owner of the world’s largest brewing kettle which was said to be about a mile deep. From that moment on, Ægir had the most fitting cauldron for any occasion – and no god ever had to leave thirsty again.


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