Saint Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, has an exciting rapidly growing craft beer scene, in part due to its history and geography. Historically, the Russian empire was influenced by Northern Europe, and the Dutch & English beer-drinking culture eventually made its way here.
Today is Saint Petersburg home to a growing number of modern microbreweries, cool taprooms and bars.
Geographically, Russia is not a grape-growing region, which forced the locals to turn to other methods of making intoxicating drinks, mostly hops and barley. Pivo (beer) is the second most popular drink in Russia after vodka.
Saint Petersburg is home to Stepan Razin Brewery the oldest brewery in Russia (now, of course, owned by Heiniken), which was opened in 1795, today is the building turned into the Saint Petersburg beer museum showcasing the history of beer in Russia and the Soviet Union.
Russia´s largest brewery Baltika is also located in Saint Petersburg, and it´s possible to take a brewery tour of their huge brewery.
International brands like Carlsberg and Heineken dominate the Russian beer market. Western-style pubs, including the Irish pub’s Shamrock and Mollie’s, are the heart of the bar scene in the imperial city.
Belgian pubs in Saint Petersburg are increasingly more common. KwakInn has several outlets with a great selection of Belgian brews. However, the newest revolution sweeping Saint Petersburg is craft beer. Some of the breweries leading this change include:
Vasileostrovskaya Pivovarnya: An independent local brewery that makes Russian Imperial Stouts and Indian Pale Ales. They don’t have any bars, but their beers are available everywhere.
Knightberg: Centrally located brewery where you can see the beer being made and buy a pint or bottle.
My Phone got stolen from my during my visit to Saint Petersburg, so, unfortunately, do I only have 2 photos from this trip, but I will go back to Saint Petersburg and update this post later.
Craft Brew Riots: A contract brewery that encourages creativity. You can sample and buy their latest flavours at Crazy Craft in the city centre, which is a part shop and part bar.
There are a couple of events that beer lovers might find interesting. Crazy Craft organises an annual Old Skull Festival in which dozens of Russian breweries participate. There’s also a healthy dose of punk and metal music.
The St. Petersburg Craft Weekend organised by KwaInn is a tad more sophisticated but also more expensive.
HERE´S MY PICK OF THE 10 BEST CRAFT BEER BARS IN SAINT PETERSBURG.
A pioneer of the craft beer culture in Saint Petersburg, Redrum is never empty on the weekends. Located in a busy part of the city centre, they serve 24 different types of beers, many of which are made by the local brewery AFBrew who owns the restaurant. The bar is modelled along Scandinavian lines. The smorrebrod sandwiches are the best in the city.
Ulitsa Nekrasova, 26
2. ROCKETS AND BISHOPS
With about 20 taps including local and imported craft beers, Rockets and Bishops are worth visiting if you’re in Saint Petersburg. It is owned by the brewing company Bakunin which started out with bottle shops and later expanded into bars. My favourite here is a double IPA called Red Maniac. Combine it with one of their delicious burgers.
Gorokhovaya Street, 26
3. TOP HOPS
Come here for a love of funk and soul music and a great selection of craft beers. The food is mostly Mexican at this trendy bar in the Saint City. The bartenders are friendly, and the food is reasonably priced. There are some 20 beers on tap to choose from, mostly local but some international. This is a good pitstop if you’re bar hopping in the centre of St. P.
Nab. Reky Fontanky, 55
A beer bar with a casual and friendly atmosphere and a great choice of craft beers, some of which are constants and some guests. There are also more than 250 bottles for sale with new arrivals every week. There are beer tastings and foosball to keep you entertained. But the real draw is the impressive collection of bottled beers from all over the world.
Mayakovskogo Street, 11
5. BEER GEEK
This is a charming (some may call it claustrophobic) basement bar and bottle shop which starts to feel packed if there are more than a dozen people. It boasts of an extensive catalogue of bottled beers and a dozen taps, mostly from local breweries like Knightberg and Bakunin. Beer connoisseurs may find themselves returning to sample more local brews.
Rubinstein Street, 2/45
6. FISH FABRIQUE
The oldest surviving rock club in St. Petersburg has recently started offering local craft beers along with the usual lagers from Europe. This dark and somewhat grungy club attracts a diverse crowd. On relaxed nights, it’s a great place to chill and listen to music. On busy nights, you’ll find it difficult to find a place to sit.
Ligovsky Pr. 53
7. CRAFT BREW CAFE
Within walking distance of every top tourist place in the city, this is a chic place with a chilled-out vibe. It’s popular, and you can expect slow service. I would recommend avoiding the more expensive items on their menu and going for what they do best, beer and street food. Try the local cider called Vasilievsky Island.
Mal. Morskaya Ul. 15
8. pivnaya karta
A boutique beer shop that has more than 400 different beers on sale, including craft beers from all over the world. There is a long bar counter where you can enjoy a drink or two. Good for a short stop to sample some beers, but not the kind of place where you can spend the entire evening since there are no tables and chairs.
Ulitsa Vosstaniya, 55
9. BREAKING BAD
Named after the popular TV show, this is a great place to get your craft beer fix and try some brews from local manufacturers like AFBrew and Bakunin. It’s a small bar located not far from the Peter and Paul Fortress. A loud crowd of football fans is not unusual here. Prices are favourable compared to other outlets nearby.
10. FARSH AND BOCHKA
The name translates to Mince and Barrel, This is a large Californa style beer Hall with about 30 craft brews on tap there, the food here is also amazing
Ulitsa Belinskogo, 11
CRAFT BEER IN SAINT PETERSBURG.
Every month there’s a new craft beer establishment popping up in Saint Petersburg, competing for customers with the best local brew or the most exclusive imported beer. This is good news for beer connoisseurs who can spend every evening discovering the new trends and classic destinations in the St. Petersburg craft beer scene.