Pivnoi Zavod Saratova / Пивной Завод Саратова
Tuesday 2nd October 2018
Myself and wife Linda had just commenced our epic journey by private train around Eastern Russia. We had left Moscow at 09.00 the previous morning, travelling through the night to arrive in Saratov mid-morning. It was a 913 kilometre journey and the reason it had taken so long was that the train was hauled by steam locomotives throughout. They stop every 100 kms. for servicing and water and about every 400-500 kms. for coal or to change over to the next pair.
So here we are in Saratov on the banks of the River Volga. Whilst the rest of the travellers went off on a sightseeing tour of the city we arranged with one of the train staff to order a taxi to take us to Pivnoi Zavod Saratova, which translates as the Saratov Beer Factory. We didn’t regret seeing another onion domed church or a walled Kremlin.
However there was one small problem to be overcome. When the taxi driver dropped us off we realised that the pub was located in a pedestrianised area. It took about five minutes to get to the pub, no problem, but what about coming back to the railway station? We were intending to ask the pub to order a taxi for us. Ah well, we’ll worry about that later.
The pub was very noticeable from the street yet it was with some surprise when we realised that it was not on the ground floor and we had to ascend stairs to get there.
We turned left into the main room, there was also a small room to the right at the top of the stairs. The pub first opened its doors on 31st January 2004.
When we entered the main room we noticed there were windows facing out to the street. Along the far wall opposite the door was the brewing equipment protected by a glass wall. We could see the mash tun, the copper and four fermentation tanks. I wonder how they got them all in here! To the right was a gleaming copper fronted bar counter which is in a rather strange curved shape.
The walls are bare brick and the furniture was square dark-varnished tables along with matching chairs. Hanging from the ceiling were many flags. I didn’t recognise any of them so by presumption, I believe they represent the autonomous republics and regions of Russia. Above head height on either side of the bar counter there were large plasma-screen televisions.
There are usually four beers offered yet unfortunately one was missing. A pity because it seemed to be the most promising. The choice available was Светлое, light lager; Тёмное, dark lager and Красный Зль, Red Ale. The missing beer was Monastery Ale in the Belgian style, which was disappointing as I’m sure it would have been very interesting. We had all three of those offered and they were quite good, without being exceptional.
Well, as predicted, we left the pub and could find no easy way back to the railway station. Luckily I had left a lot of time to make the move, long enough to walk if required. Also, I remembered back to our cab journey to the pub. For most of the way we travelled along a road with trolleybuses.
So we set off to locate this thoroughfare and after about 15 minutes we found ул. Московская / ul. Moskovskaya or Moscow Street if you like. Here we managed to get a trolleybus to the station. Memo: if you visit this pub plan your return journey first!
One amusing anecdote regarding our return journey. When the trolleybus arrived the driver would not open the front doors and gestured us back to the rear doors. They was no conductor, although there was a seat for one. When we got to the station I said to Linda, “let’s wait and see what the other passengers do”. They all walked past the driver and handed over the money for the fare or showed a pass, and got off. The rear doors were not open. I’d heard that there was one city in Russia that didn’t do things the normal way. Little did I realise it was Saratov!
Pivnoi Zavod Saratova/Пивной Завод Саратова, Prospekt Kirova/ пр Кирова 5, Saratov 410012.
Tel: 8452 26 44 76. Web: sar-brewery.com (defunct)
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 11:00-23:00.
Regarding directions, I think you should go by taxi but if you have the time and inclination it can be done by public transport. One tip: The pub is only five minutes walk from the Radishchev Art Museum, the largest art gallery outside of Moscow or St Petersburg; the biggest draw in town. That might help if you are on a tour.