This morning’s “Today” programme on Radio 4 featured an story on the initiative of British brewers to recreate the traditional journey of Russian Imperial Stout by ship from England to St Petersburg. A favourite of Catherine the Great, Russian Imperial Stout was once exported in vast quanities as strong English beer-styles became popular in the imperial courts of Russia. It was Britian’s first great export market and many would like to see it revived.
So, in what is essential a PR exercise designed to reignite this traditional trade, 11 breweries have created Russian Imperial Stouts which have been loaded onto a yacht crewed, I believe, by brewers. After crossing the North Sea and Baltic Sea it is about to enter St Petersburgh at the end of its journey. Among the crew is Pete Brown, the writer dubbed “the beer brinker’s Bill Bryson”. He once made a similar trip tracing the journey of IPA from Burton-on-Trent to India which he chronicled in his book “Hops and Glory: One man’s search for the beer that built the British Empire“. No doubt he will be writing up his latest adventure on his excellent blog if not in another book.
There is also a website dedicated to the Great Baltic Adventure at http://www.wix.com/seanor/gba which is pretty cool looking but I don’t know what they didn’t splash out on a domain name.