Before I went to Russia, my fellow blogger the Beer Nut wrote somewhere - was it twitter? - I can't find it anyway, something to the effect of "Just wait to you see a country totally ruled by strong drink". So when I went, I thought I'd find the place littered with scary drunks, pubs full of gangsters and an attitude to drink that would make Glasgow seem like a temperance hall. Instead I found a very civilised place - OK it was posh Moscow and St Petersburg - and no sign of drunkeness at all. The bars and pubs were filled with lovely, well dressed people sipping wine and having a very nice time in a quiet way. The only potential drunk I came across was me.
OK. It was so expensive that you couldn't afford to get drunk, so worryingly these anti alcohol Johnnies have a case study that they could possibly use. But that was in bars. Drinking from the offie was cheap. Not as cheap as good old GB, but still reasonably cheap. So maybe they just get pissed at home?
In one bar, a short measure half litre of Young's Double Chocolate Stout and a half of Harp (in a McEwan's glass) was over a tenner. Why did I choose Young's? It was on offer. Why didn't I drink Russian beer? They didn't sell any - a feature of many Moscow bars.
More of Russia soon, but building works at home make internet access and somewhere to sit and do it, tricky at the moment.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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