Drink with the Vikings!!
These are the words of the great god Óðinn, cautioning against drunkenness and unrestrained drinking. And yet the drinking of alcoholic beverages was a prominent feature of Scandinavian life in the Viking Age.
Unfortunately, while there are many passing references in Old Norse literature and occasional bits of evidence in the archaeological record, there is far from a complete picture of Viking Age brewing, vintning, and drinking customs. In the course of this article, evidence from several Germanic cultures will be presented to help fill out the evidence and provide a more complete view of this topic. Although the culture of other Germanic peoples was not exactly like that of the Norse, many similarities exist. In the case of drinking and rituals associated with drinking, the Old English materials seem to present the best detailed view of this activity, which further enlightens the materials surviving from Norse culture.
Many pieces of related evidence survive, even from the earliest records of the Germanic peoples. There are significant similarities that suggest the fundamental structure of drinking as a formal ritual activity was established in the early Germanic tribes before the Migration Age split the Germanic peoples into their familiar nations of the modern day.
Drinking and drinking customs among the Germanic tribes were recorded by Romans such as P. Cornelius Tacitus in his Germania: