I like a head on my beer. You may not know that. But even I can feel that sometimes that there is a point where a line should be drawn. On our last day in St Petersburg, in glorious warm sunshine, we stopped at one of the two Soviet style cafes that we'd come across. Soviet in this case means only that they had stuck up a hammer and sickle sign and painted a few things red. Otherwise there was nothing different to elsewhere and the prices would probably have induced a fit in Leonid Brezhnev and his cronies.
Still we had roubles to get rid of and only an hour or two to go, so I plunged in. I have no idea what the beer was called, only that it sounded different and indeed it was. It was, as you can see served with rather a large head. It was so milky at first that a Yorkshireman, a lover of the autovac no less, may have paused with concern as he watched it settle. It wasn't nitrogen poured as far as I could tell, or if it was, it was with the lightest of mixes. The young waitress who spoke no English brought it to the table with a flourish. I looked at it dubiously. Our server gestured that I should sup it before it settled. Well when in Rome and all that. It was delicious. A pale auburn brown, it had hops, balancing malt and great mouthfeel. I ordered another despite it settling out to around a third of a pint of beer. I'm guessing that the equivalent pint price would probably be North of eight quid. Thinking ahead, I decided not to nick the glass (got far too many of them) as compensation, attractive though it was. Russia does things differently, but I have to say, cost aside, it was the best beer of the trip, even if I don't know what it was.
Any Russian speakers out there could maybe translate the glass and let me know and actually, I wish I had liberated it now. As tasty as the beer, it is half litre size.
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.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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