Wednesday 17th July 2013
I have visited this brew pub once before and that was just over twelve years earlier, on 1st July 2001. So it was very pleasing to find that it had hardly changed at all.
It is located in former industrial premises and opened in 1995. The other occupants of the complex include bars, restaurants, shops and a large cinema. The story behind these buildings is very interesting and it starts at the beginning of the 19th Century.
It starts in 1820 when a Scotsman, James Findlayson established a cotton mill on the site. This was possible because alongside was a short yet fast-flowing river called Tammerkoski. This had a drop of 17 metres as it flowed from an upper lake, Näsijävi to the lower Pyhäjärvi lake. There were rapids at this point so it was easy to drive machinery by water power. This is a direct parallel with the establishment of cotton mills in the steep sided valleys to the north of Manchester in the UK. There steam power changed them later but the locations remained the same.
Back in Finland, then part of the Russian Empire, there was great demand for Findlayson's products and the building the brewery is in, was erected in 1877 and was the weaving hall.
The name is also interesting as at the time Russia was involved in the Russo-Turkish war (1877-1878). A very important battle, and siege, occurred at Plevna in Bulgaria in 1877.
As the mill complex extended, each new building received the name of an important event in the year of its inauguration, thus Plevna. In a bizarre twist, I passed through Plevna just two months later and was able to recount the story to my travelling companions! One more notable event occurred just a few years later when, in 1882, electric lighting was installed throughout the mill. Even more notable when you realise the Edison had only invented it three years earlier. I suppose the flow of the river could just as easily produce electricity. This was the first example in all of the Nordic countries.
I entered through a brick arch with "Findlayson & Co." in stone embedded in it. Immediately on the left was the pub. Most of it is actually in the cellar, although there an outside terrace. At the lowest level I found the long bar.
I marvelled at the choice available to me. I settled and began my investigations into the beer menu. I was lucky as all of their draught products were available. This is what was offered:
Luoma Pils (4.7%); Tumma (5.6%), a dark lager; Bock (6.6%); Dry Stout (7.0%); Severin Extra IPA (5.9%); Pikku Musta (3.8%), a dark Czech-style lager; Vehnaolut (5.0%), a wheat beer; Tähti (Star) III (4.7%), a Finnish-style lager brewed to Grade III strength; Tähti (Star) IV (5.2%), similar, but in a higher Grade; Siperia Stout (8.0%), in the Imperial Russian style; James Savuolut (5.2%), a rauchbier (smoked); Smörre Ruis IPA, in a US style with some rye malt and five hops, and finally Panimo Sima, a mead! There was also a seasonal beer: Cotton Ale (4.7%) in the Best Bitter style.
The beers are brewed according to the Rheinheitsgebot and undergo a primary fermentation of a week, followed by a secondary maturation of two to four weeks, according to type.
Incidentally they also serve Karhu, a national beer that, in my humble opinion, is the worst beer in Finland; all malt and not a hint of bitterness! With this fantastic selection why would anybody want to have it, especially as they brew their own versions of the Finnish domestic styles?
Then there were the ciders and perry. Puolikuiva Omenasiideri (4.5%) was a medium-dry cider; Kuiva Omenasiideri (4.5%) was a dry version; and Päärynäsiideri (4.4%), a perry.
All of these are made in-house and use local fruit. In addition to all this, they have their own distillery.
There is a full restaurant menu and some of the stand-out items are reindeer steaks and a local speciality of Tampere: Tapola. This is a black pudding sausage and is served with Lingonberry sauce and mashed potato.
Panimoravintola Plevna, Itäinenkatu 8, Tampere, 33210. Tel: 0368 3260 1200
Open: Monday 11.00-23.00; Tuesday-Thursday 11.00-01.00;
Friday-Saturday 11.00-02.00; Sunday: 12.00-23.00
The pub is on the north side of the City Square and many bus routes pass the north and south sides.
It's about fifteen minutes from the Railway station, which has good connections to many parts of the country. Tampere has a regional airport.