St Petersburg (Санкт-Петербург):
Bar na Mokhovoi / Bар на Моховой
Monday 22nd July 2013
From the outside, this is a rather unprepossessing bar north of Nevsky Prospekt, the main avenue of central St Petersburg. Go down a few steps and you are have a choice of left or right. Both rooms are small; I went left, quite simply because that is where I could see that's where the beer fonts were located. The bar's name derives from the street it is on, ulica Mokhovaya (Улица Моховая), in English: Moss Street. Thus, it is the "Bar on Moss".
Inside you can see it has been created from two of the cellars of the building above. I studied the beer list which was displayed on the bar.
It was written in Russian naturally, but was without a transliteration to Latin script so I struggled a bit. I don't speak Russian, although I do understand the letters of the Cyrillic alphabet.
It took me some time to decide what I wanted but I got there in the end. The lady behind the bar was very patient.
One of the reasons it took me so long was that the list was very extensive. To give you a flavour of sheer variety of what was offered, here it is in full with my notes on their origins:
From Munhell (Мюнхель), a brew pub in the north-eastern part of St Petersburg, there was: Red (Красное) (4.7%) and Wheat (Мшеничное) (4.5%).
Produced by the Bochkarev (Бочкарев) brewery located in the village of the same name in the Altai mountains far to the east, there was Irish Ale (Ирандский Эль), a dark beer of 6.7%.
The Khvoininsky brewery in the Novgorod area supplied Khvoininsky Elite (Элитное Хвойнинское) (4.7%), a filtered and unpasteurized beer that is made with English hops and malt and has no preservatives.
There were two beers from the Suzdalskoe Brewery (Суэдальская Пивоварня) of Suzdal. Their beers are branded under the Yuzberg (ЮЗБЕРГ) name and on offer here were: Yuzberg Light (ЮЗБЕРГ Суздаь Светлое) (4.7%) and Yuzberg Wheat (ЮЗБЕРГ ВАЙС Суздаь) (4.9%) which was unfiltered.
All the way from Belarus was a wheat beer from the Alivaria Brewery of Minsk. This brewery is a bit different to the others on the list, as it is the third largest in Belarus and is owned by Carlsberg. The beer represented was Alviria White Gold (Beloe Zloto) (Аливария Белое Золото) (5.0%).
This pub is a virtual brewery tap for the Vasileostrovkaya Brewery (Василеостровская Пивоварня) of St Petersburg. It was founded in 2002 on Vasely Island, hence the name. It is now a regional brewery serving over a 1,000 customers in St Petersburg and Leningrad, Karelia and Pskov provinces. Their beers are unpasteurized and mostly unfiltered.
There was a choice of four beers from the standard range: Light (Светлое) (4.5%), a lager in the Pilsner style; Red (Красное) (4.5%), that uses English malts; Home (Домашнее) (4.5%), another lager, but this time in the Russian style and Dark (Темное) (5.2%), which is the only one that is filtered. I thought it was excellent. Some of the abvs shown on the pub's beer menu are different to those quoted by the brewery, so I have used the latter's version in this piece.
They also sell the, very low alcohol, old Russian drink; Kvas (Квас) which is brewed employing yeast similar to that used to raise bread.
It is still often sold on the streets direct from little tankers that are brought to site towed behind the maker's car. There are, of course, industrial versions that are sold in supermarkets. The Vasileostrovkaya Kvas is strictly traditional and sold unpasteurized and was on sale in this pub.
Yet another beer from this brewery appears under the name of Weizenfeld Kirsch (Ваиченфельд Кирш) (3.2%) and, as the name implies, it is a cherry wheat beer. It was also available here.
Then there were the ciders. From Vasileostrovsky Cider (Василеостровская Сидр) there was "Sparkling Pearl" Cider (Сидр Яблочный Игристый Жемчужный) (4.7%). Their other offering was "La Rouge" semi-dark Cherry Cider (Сидр Вишневый Полутемный "Ля Руж") (4.7%) which is unpasteurized. I don't think it has any connection with the brewery of the same name, I suppose it just comes from the same part of the city.
You could be fooled into thinking that was finally it, but then there is mead. Russian mead! I never knew it existed, yet here it was, made by the MEDOVARUS company. This name is a combination of Med (Honey), pronounced mead in Russian, Pivovar, part of the word for brewery and Rus, short for Russia; thus Russian Honey Brewery. I had great difficulty translating the titles of these meads but I think I've got it now. They are Wild Honey (Coniferous) Amber Mead (Мед янтарный, хвойной) (5.7%) and Wild Honey (Pine) Mead (Мед дикий хвойный) (5.8%).
So, what a fantastic selection of traditional drinks in one small bar! If you should be in St Petersburg it shouldn't be missed.
Bar na Mokhovoi, ulica Mokhovaya 27-29, Sankt Peterburg. Tel: 896 507 99421
Bар на Моховой, Улица Моховая 27-29, Санкт-Петербург
Open: Monday-Sunday 11.00-23.00
It's about twenty minutes from Tchnernyshevskaya/Чернышевская Metro station
on line 1 (Red) and also around twenty minutes walk from the Nevsky Prospekt.