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Viking Beer Party to Invade Midtown With Skull-Splitting Suds

By Mathew Katz | January 21, 2013 7:00am

MIDTOWN — Strap on your Viking helmet — this is one beer that will hurt your brain.

Scotland’s Orkney Brewery is bringing its Viking-themed, extra-strong beer to American taps, and is celebrating with — what else? — a party that’s guaranteed to get you to Valhalla.

The beer, Skull Splitter, gets its name from the nickname of Torfinn Hausakljuv, who was the Earl of Orkeny, Scotland, in roughly 950 A.D. and was famous for, well, splitting skulls. At 8.6 percent ABV, the strong brew warms the belly and has a fruity taste with hints of spice.

Skull Splitter’s been available in bottles for years, but it will be served for the first time on tap in bars on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at St. Andrews Restaurant & Bar at 140 W. 46th St., where the party will go down from 6 to 9 p.m.

With costumes, brews and an armored Viking, it promises a Valhalla-like atmosphere for any beer lover, especially those hoping for a boozy respite from the cold.

“Scotch ales and ‘Wee Heavys’ are perfect for wintertime drinking — full-bodied, high in alcohol and richly flavored,” said Norman Sinclair, Skull Splitter’s managing director. “Skull Splitter is one of the finest examples of the genre available in the world today.”

Most of Orkney's beers have a bit of a medieval feel, with names like Dark Island and Dragon Head.

Weary warriors hoping for a taste of the brew will also have a chance to pose with a costumed Viking, and organizers encourage them to post photos to Instagram with the hashtag #skullsplitter. The most outrageous photo will win a prize, including a pair of pint glasses and a $50 gift certificate to St. Andrews.

The Scottish brew will soon spread to other craft beer bars around the city, according to a spokeswoman, including Beer Authority, The Ginger Man and Rattle N Hum.