One of the most popular stereotypes about Russian culture is the love of local people for vodka and supernatural ability to drink it in incredible amounts. But the alcoholic preferences of Russians are very diverse. And lately, it seems like beer is relieving a sort of cultural revival. In the last several years countless pubs, unusual recipes and new technologies of beer brewing appeared in the country. A big role in it played several craft breweries, that we will take a look at below.
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Probably one of the most known Moscow craft breweries is Volkovskaya. The bottles with their recognisable logo in the form of a quaint cartoonish wolf with an open mouth stand out among the others on the shelfs of the grocery stores.
It adopted it’s name after the village Volkovo, on which former territory now stands their beer factory. A significant role in it’s destiny played Mikhail Ershov, an established craft beer expert.
They focus on creating unusual palettes of tastes and aren’t afraid to shake things up with a little experimental brewing. Apart from the usual APA and IPA with a twist of unexpected flavours, they produce traditional for slavic countries mead and many novice and unique drinks. If you love easy and light, you should try their “Gravity” that is made with a little addition of natural watermelon juice. “Back’n’Black” milk stout would surprise the connoisseurs with a subtle hint of mint. They also have dark ale “Kalevala”, that is brewed with pinecones.
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This brewery is located in the cultural capital of Russia, in St. Petersburg. It has a long history and their first beer was made in 2002. In 2012, after introducing couple of other drinks of their making, they have started producing bottled beer. This became a breaking point for the brand and they quickly started to gain popularity in other parts of the country.
Vasileostrovskaya Brewery now occupies a new building and it’s resources allow them to produce many signature and seasonal products. They have a large assortment of fruit ales, flavoured by different kinds of berries that can be found in Russia. Another highlight is their specialty Halloween beer with pumpkin flavour and traces of vanilla and spice. For those of you who are not very fond of alcohol, they also make traditional cultural drink – kvas. It has less than 1,2 % in it.
Another unusual thing they experimented with, were different brewing techniques. Some of their drinks are created using a curious and unusual technology, when the postfermentation of beer is happening after being poured in a bottle and sealed. Currently four of their beers are made that way, and they are the ones to go for if you are trying to keep up with the new trends in culinary sphere.
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One may think that the brewing industry in Russia is domineered by companies from Moscow and St. Pete, but this is far from the truth. Jaws, a brand from Yekaterinburg, is definitely one of the most acclaimed in the culture of Russian craft beers.
Their name is quite poetic in it’s origin. It comes from the huge waves that appear in the winter, near the cost of the Hawaiian island of Maui. The brewery was found in 2008, when craft beers were non-existent for the mainstream audience and none knew how different and creative one could get with this alcoholic beverage. And Jaws definitely managed to break the stereotypical view on this drink with their crazy flavours and astonishing variety.
Around 40 different kinds of beer are now produced on their factory, that takes place in an abandoned laundry building. Among them everyone will certainly find something to their liking or something they’ve never tasted before. Their “Holy Trip” possesses a rich spicy flavour of cloves and pepper. If you like wine or bold experimental drinks, try “Cynic” – a beer that smells of grapes and dried fruit and it’s slightly sour taste very much reminds you of the dry red wine. For those of you who’d like a little taste of Russia, there is a beer with smoky flavour, amplified by the hints of chocolate, prune, and woody notes.