Wednesday 2nd October 2013
We arrived at Koprotkin a bit earlier than intended because we had hoped to visit another brew-pub, Hmel / Хмель, on the other side of Plac Pobedy / Плас Победы (Victory Square). Its name means hops and it is on the second floor of Klover Shopping Centre. Unfortunately it was hosting a private party that evening and we weren't allowed to enter. Well, maybe another day!
Koprotkin is diagonally across the square from Hmel and is to be found within the building of another shopping centre, the Europa. However it does have an entrance onto the main square. We entered and on the left noticed a small bar. There had to be more of this place than that!
We soon discovered that it was another basement pub. We descended the stairs, checked in our coats, passing a statue of an old man with a beard who was sitting on a bench-type seat. I paid no further attention at the time but in reality he was the inspiration for the name of the pub.
Whilst doing research afterwards I discovered he was Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin, who was a Russian zoologist, evolutionary theorist, philosopher, scientist, revolutionary, philologist, economist, activist, geographer, writer, and prominent anarchist and communist. A bit of an all-rounder really but I bet he had to leave some of those jobs off his CV! This is according to a well-known on-line encyclopaedia. He was born on 9th December, 1842, in Moscow and died on 8th February 1921 in Dmitrov. I don't think he had any connection with the German city of Königsberg, as Kaliningrad was then.
We entered and noticed that the pub was huge and resembled a cross between a beer hall and a typically large American brew pub.
The furniture is wooden and this gave the place a rather rustic look. It was very busy and a "Meeter and Greeter" took us along the side of the pub's main room with the bar / service area on the left, followed by the brewery. I, along with Patrick, Russell and Vaughan, were seated in an area facing some pool tables and a full sized one for billiards. There a five of these and this illustrates how big this pub is. There are also several dart boards. The walls are covered by paintings depicting country scenes.
It appears that the generic name for the brewery is Keller's. There were four beers on offer and these were:
Keller's Gold/Келлерс Голд. A Golden Pils.
Kellers Brazen/Келлерс Бразен. A Bronze Lager.
Schwartz Keller's/Шварцц Келлерс. A Dark Lager.
Weizen Keller's/Вайцен Келлерс. A Hefe Weizen (Wheat Beer).
Our tasting notes describe our disappointment at the condition of some of the beers. Whist there is no doubt that they were well constructed, the presentation left quite a lot lacking. The reason this pub still has an entry in BeerVisits is that this could have been purely a temporary problem. I have noticed that there are no previous comments regarding this by other reviewers.
We thought the Gold wasn't bitter enough to be classified as a Pils and it hardly had any conditioning in it. The Brazen (Amber) was even worst; it was so flat you could have put on a stamp and posted it to someone! Of the lager beers the Dark was the best of the bunch with a nice Black Malt taste and a little residual bitterness. It had normal conditioning. Patrick pronounced the wheat beer as being satisfactory but no more.
The food was very good. It would be nice to revisit this pub again to reappraise its beers, the most important aspect as far as this website is concerned. However, it would be nice to get a second opinion on their quality.
Kropotkin/Кропоткинь, ul Teatralnaya 30/Театральная 30. Tel: (4012) 668060
Open: Monday-Sunday 12.00-02.00. Upstairs Bar: 10.00-02.00
Despite its official address, the entrance to the pub is located in a far corner of Victory Square, next to McDonald's. It is in the basement of the Europa Centre/Европа Центр, a shopping mall.
The last two tram routes in the city run through the square. Using these you can get to the Herkules brew-pub and the Central (south) Railway station. The North station is behind the Hmel/Хмель brew-pub.
There is a local bus station just off the square so other city transportation should be easy. Also, there always seems to be a huge queue of taxis waiting.
The main (South) station has, apart from local services within Kaliningrad province, long distance trains to Moscow and St Petersburg daily, also to other places in Russia and Belorus operating every two days. These all run via Lithuania so it is fairly easy to get to Kaunas and Vilnius. The rail service to Poland and Germany no longer seems to operate. The North station serves other towns in the Kaliningrad Oblast (province).
There is a good bus service to the other Baltic States and a frequent route to Gdansk in Poland. The airport mostly serves Russian destinations but also Copenhagen and Riga.