St Petersburg (Санкт-Петербург):
Café Bakunin / Кафе Бакунин
Visited on: Sunday 14th October 2018
The Brewery is a strange beast. It doesn’t own its own equipment and so is referred to a “Cuckoo” brewery, producing its beers on other company’s plants. That is not so unusual in itself but this brewery has no intention of obtaining its own brewery in the future; now that is different. “Cuckoo” brewing is usually a somewhat reluctant step brewers make to produce a cash flow before building their own breweries.
Bakunin is not small and employs personnel to handle sales, marketing and advertising. They must have beers being brewed at several different breweries simultaneously. The company was founded in 2013 by three partners: Alexander Romanenko, Yuri Mitin and Vladimir Naumkin. Their beers are distributed widely throughout Russia and to a number of other European countries. The brewery (and bar) is named after Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin (1814-1876) who was a thinker and revolutionary and came from around here.
Some of their beer has even been contract brewed outside the country. For instance in Estonia and they do a large number of collaborations with other brewers. Thinking about it, that is not much different from their normal method of brewing except that the partner brewery has some input instead of being told what to brew. Nearly every beer is available in bottle (or can) and 20 litre kegs.
If I have got this right the three founders of the company met at the Café Bakunin sometime in 2013 and at that meeting it was founded. This implies that the café was already functioning previously.
I may be wrong but I think a small brewery was established here shortly afterwards. This was not going to last as the company expanded. There are a large number of beers under the Bakunin name and it is quite unlikely that you will see the same beer twice, although there is a core range.
The beer blackboard in the pub is an example of this as there are twenty draught beers listed on it. When we visited about half were from Bakunin. We had two beers, one from the home side and that was Первый Авиатор / The First Aviator (4.4%), a session IPA.
Our other choice was from the Courage Brewery (really!) of Moscow and it was their Дом Культуры / Hall of Culture (7.0%), an American IPA. The local Hall of Culture was a feature of Soviet and communist Eastern European life. We thought they were both good beers.
The pub itself is quite close to Plochad Vosstaniya; approximately 10-15 minutes walk. To enter you go up a few steps and into the main front room.
To your left you will see the bar counter, which is used directly, English style. Behind are shelves and shelves of bottled beers; this is also a bottle shop. The room is rather small. You can pass out of it into another room at the back.
On the end of the bar is a hand pump with label. We asked the ever-helpful barman Dan (Daniel) what was on it and he said it was a Brown Ale.
We had a small glass and it was OK taste-wise but a bit flat and very cold. Researching Woodbridge Brown Ale which seems at times to have been brewed by Marston’s and Daniel Thwaites there is no mention of cask.
So I guess it had arrived in Key-keg. This is a container that can hold anything, pasteurized beer, keg, filtered cask, so who knows what it actually was. However, it didn’t possess the conditioning you would have expected from a genuine cask beer.
This is a friendly bar and you should visit it if you have time in St Petersburg.
Cafe Bakunin/Кафе Бакyнин, 2. Sovetskaya/Советская 25a, St. Petersburg/Санкт Петербург.
Tel: 78122745613. Web: bakuningroup.com.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 13.00-24.00; Friday-Saturday 13.00-02.00
The pub is about 10-15 minutes walk from Plochad Vosstaniya/Площадь Восстзния with its many metro, bus and train connections.
This is the location for the excellent Щелкунчик/Shchelkunchik (Nutcracker) Brew-Pub.
For directions to Bakunin stand in front of the pub looking across to Московский Вокзал/Moscow Station. Turn left and walk along Nevsky Prospekt/Невский Пр. There is a slight kink in the road, continue along it. Go left into Дегтярная Ул/Degtyarnaya St.
At the first junction turn right into 2. Sovetskaya/2. Советская Ул. Walk along a short way and the pub is on the right. Note that this street is in 2 Советская Ул. There are 10!