A BELARUS BRIDE
RUSSIAN BEER REVIEWS
My Experiences With Russian Beer While We Were Living In Belarus.
If you have a favorite beer & would like to send a review, please e-mail your review to us.
Some time passed during intervals between beer reviews.
Total time covered in Vitebsk during this journal was about 1 year.
Enjoying a beer last night after we got all finished with work. I bought a new beer to try, called Black Prince. This is a dark beer made here in Belarus, tried one bottle. This stuff is OK, amazing it has 15% alcohol. I've never had a beer with that much alcohol to my knowledge. Interesting taste, I would go very easy with this stuff. Cost is reasonable at about 47 cents per 1/2 liter bottle. The weather turned much colder, nasty wind yesterday and so far today. We hope to get back to that mild weather. We walk to a small indoor Kiosk, a very small store about a 5 minute walk from here. This is where I get interesting beer, and a few other things we need.
This place is basically our convenience store.
It's run by Olga and her husband, some very nice people. Olga speaks English, it's great to stop in and say hello. She has an employee who is married but who has a sister who wants to join our agency. Olga knows her family, tells us they are good people. She will soon come over for her first interview.
It's nice speaking English with Olga. Her husband does not speak English.
Very hard working, good people.
Speaking about the Super Bowl and beer, since I got here I have found one of the best tasting dark beers ever. It's made in Russia, the name is "Baltika." They have different numbers, I prefer the dark #6. Great stuff. I shall stock up and enjoy while following the Super Bowl on this damn computer. Alex turned me onto this beer when we got to Minsk last month. He bought me a "mini keg," which we hauled on the train from Minsk to Vitebsk. I'm sure we turned a few heads as we went past people with the keg.
This is the label on the keg, which contains #7 only, a light beer.
Perhaps I should add a category to the rating system for our Russian women. It would go something like this. "Her attitude and acceptance of her future husband to be able to have a few Baltikas, watch a good football game, scream at the TV, and not be angry about that." Any rating over a 10, or average, in this category would simply Require any guy with any common sense at all to drop everything at once, get over here and Propose to this Russian Woman At Once!
You know when you just want to sit back, relax, have a beer and enjoy yourself the big question all us guys face is, which beer? This was the challenge facing me last night. Nina and I took a walk down to see our friends at our little convenience store, actually Nina and all the other Russian people were walking, I was sliding.
The people watching me try to walk on the ice must be thinking to themselves, "There goes that idiot American again, trying to find his footing." At least they are kind and keep those thoughts to themselves. Anyway, we go to the store, Olga and Viktor and the gang are all there, the dilemma hits me in the face. Which beer?
Anyone following our newsletter knows our friend Alex turned me on to "Baltika" beer, #6 is my favorite, the very dark beer. Thank you Alex! The problem last night was Olga and Viktor only had one Baltika #6, so the dilemma deepened. Viktor suggested Yaroslavl, so I got a few. Interesting that Nina was born in Yaroslavl Russia, a town about 150 miles north of Moscow. Yaroslavl is where this beer is made, hence the name.
On these cans, the wording on the name is a Russian letter "YA"..then a Russian letter "R"..which looks like our "P"..and then "Pero," or beer. So the name has the first two letters of Yaroslavl, then beer, meaning Yaroslavl Beer.
This beer is also a dark beer, but only about 50% as dark as Baltika #6. It is a lighter beer, not as rich or full flavored as Baltika. Still quite good.
Had a nice relaxing evening, Nina and I had a nice discussion about life in the USA verses life in Belarus. We have had many discussions comparing life in the two countries. Most of these discussions start out by talking about the differences between the two places.
Most of these conversations end up with the both of us realizing how similar life is between the two countries. Interesting small differences, some slight cultural differences of course. In general people live, work, raise families. Just like people do around the world.
Dark bottle with a green label (some with red label as shown below) with picture of a smiling farmer on the label. The name of the beer is actually an old Russian name, not used much anymore according to Nina. The top smaller label has a small picture of a ship that is difficult to see. When the beer is cooled down to about +12 degrees Celcius, the little ship becomes dark and much more easy to see. Your beer is now ready to drink. This is a slightly dark beer, but much lighter than Baltika #6. Nice flavor, just a tad sweet, very nice and light. Alcohol content is 4.8%, density listed on the bottle is 14%. Made in Tver, Russia. Nice beer. I need to do a follow up test as soon as possible.
The ship which turns color when the beer is cold enough is in the small circle in the small top label. It does not scan, sorry.
The name on the bottle sounds like "tolstyak." The literal meaning is of course "Fat Man." Made in Perm & Saransk, the label is light brown with the picture of a happy fat guy holding a mug of beer. Alcohol content is 6.1%, density is 14%. Nice tasting beer. Label says "In the company of friends, a good mood guaranteed." That's the best of our translation abilities. Similar to Afanasey above, a good light beer if you want to enjoy a few. Slightly higher alcohol content, not offensive to the taste.
The "original" is a light beer. See above for the darker beer of the same name. Green can, says "original" in English. Alcohol content is 4.7%, density is 11%. Good light beer with rich flavor. Not at all like American light beers which basically taste like watered down crap. To me all the big name light beers in the USA taste bad. Bud Light, Miller Light, so on down the list. This beer has a full flavor, nice light density, good all around beer. Comes in 1/2 liter cans, tastes as good to me as bottled beer. I recommend this beer.
This #5 is also a light beer. Not at all like the #6, which is my favorite sipping beer. Density is at 13%, alcohol content is 6%. Sold in 1/2 liter bottles. This beer is a little heavier than Yaroslavl Original, with a bit more richness in the flavor. It is not nearly as rich as Baltika #6..A good light beer again. Somehow this beer has a rich flavor without being dark. It has been my experience in the Ohio area, especially the Northeast part, that the best beer there tends to be from the micro-breweries. These beers are the closest to what I am experiencing here in bottles and cans. Too bad the large companies can't make a good canned & bottled beer in the USA. I think they are more concerned with marketing than the quality of their product. I for one will not buy into that garbage.
Testing beer at night, daytime interviewing ladies. Not bad.
Tried the #4 variety last night, this is also a dark beer. The bottle and label look exactly like the #6, but this dark beer is a bit lighter than the #6. Good flavor, really about the same as #6, just a bit lighter. Density is 15%, alcohol content is 5.6%. Higher density than #5, which is at 13% with just a bit less alcohol content. You remember #5 is a light beer. I generally prefer the dark varieties, more rich & flavorful. This particular flavor is made in St. Pete.
This is a very light beer. Same dark bottle, blue labels. Alcohol content is at 4.8%, density is at 12%. I tend to like darker, full beers with higher densities. This beer does not have much flavor. Reminds me of the light American beers, almost, but not quite that bad. Probably OK for light beer drinkers. Not as filling. I'll take #6.
As far as I know, there are at least 3 different flavors of this beer. I have the dark bottle with green labels. Alcohol content is 5.5%, density 12%. This is a light beer, but much better tasting than Baltika #3. Good beer flavor, not too bitter. This variety is made in St. Pete. As a bonus, there is a love story printed on the back of the bottle. The love story translates into something like this:
"A man meets a woman, she tells him she likes him. He decides to ask her out on a date, she agrees and he is to call her in a few days. Our guy is so excited, he goes to the local pub to tell his friends about his new girl friend. He of course buys two Botchkalevs. His friend and he have a beer together."
I don't know if this is a continuing story or not. I'll buy some more later to see how the story turns out, if it does continue. This beer is good enough to take a chance.
The story is on the back label, with the yellow background.
Nice light beer made in Minsk. Alcohol is at 5.1%, density is 12%. Nice full flavor for a light beer. Better than many other light beers in my opinion. Guess what. Priced at about 26 cents for a 1/2 liter, this beer costs about half as much as Baltika.
What a deal.
Bochka is the Russian word for "barrel." If you see a fat woman walking on the street, call her a Bochka..Then..Run For Your Life.
This is a nice dark beer full of flavor. Made in Kaluga Russia, about 100 KM from Moscow, brewed since 1875. Alcohol content is 5%, density is 12%. This beer has won many awards. Not surprising as it has a full, rich flavor, but not too heavy. Priced about the same as the Baltica products, this is a fine beer worth a try.
This is a light beer, alcohol content is at 4.6%. Density is 11%. Nice flavor, not as rich as some of the other light beers, but nice. Perhaps I'll have a few tonight, see if I can learn to pronounce the name in Russian.
This is a great Ukranian beer, dark, full of flavor. This beer rivals my favorite Baltika #6. Alcohol content at 5% density at 14%. This beer has a great flavor, very rich. If you like dark beer, do give this product a try. Priced about the same as Baltika products.