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Off up the Baltic

Writing this from a Helsinki hotel room: endless days, Mediterranean temperatures and six quid pints.

Hope the boat is bigger than this one

I blogged in March about the harebrained scheme that’s been hatched to take casks of Imperial Russian Stout from London to St Petersburg by boat.  I won’t repeat the overall idea here – if you didn’t catch it, check out the link.

In mid-May, pins of each beer were tapped in Woolwich, South London, and I was one of a dozen or so people to take part in a blind tasting of them.  Beer style purists would have disappeared in a twisted spiral of smoke at the extraordinary diversity of beers all supposedly brewed to the same quite distinct style.  There were some awful ones, some OK ones and some fabulous ones.  Some of the latter were from the people you would expect, others were surprising (it was supposed to be blind – I made a note of what they were afterwards).  I’m not going to go into more detail now, because I want to wait until we taste them in St Petersburg and compare the effect of the journey.

So after four weeks the ship, containing more pins of each beer, has travelled from St Petersburg as far as Helsinki.  Thermopylae, her crew and a bunch of ragged beer eccentrics all entered port yesterday, while the Beer Widow and I landed at the airport late last night in the 10pm sunshine.  We all meet up today.

We set sail for St Pete’s early tomorrow morning.  For most of next week I’ll be out of email and phone contact so apologies for any unanswered messages or blog comments that go unpublished (I have to keep comment moderation on because of the immense volume of spam – I’ll check up whenever I have a signal).

I’ll try to blog from St Pete’s about how it all goes- y’all behave now!



Pub Diaries

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