Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Classic beer: Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Over at Zzyzx Road Kitchen, Zanne has been getting a steady Russian invasion after posting a recipe for povitica, the Croatian Easter bread that has different names and forms throughout Eastern Europe.  Judging by my traffic sources, Zanne has led the Russians onto my ship!  Zanne's reponse to the invasion was to make 'em more hungry and post a recipe for Chicken Kiev.  My response is to get 'em thirsty...

I am not alone in considering Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout not only one of the best examples of this style but also one of the best microbews ever.  I have two marvelous memories of Rasputin.  The first was at Petrushka Restaurant on College Avenue in Berkeley.  I was an undergrad and just exploring the world of beer, and this knocked my socks off, because it was so unlike anything I'd ever had.  Petrushka--like my dear Rasputin Restaurant in Vancouver--is now sadly gone.  The second was at the brewery itself, North Coast in Fort Bragg, California.  I was on a family vacation a few years back, and I insisted we go south from Eureka where we were staying to eat and drink at North Coast.  I had a great burger and a few Rasputins on tap, directly from the source.  They only served it in schooners, not full pints, apparently because they considered the 9% ABV worthy of tighter 'control.'  This evening at the pub probably beats out all the redwoods, steam trains, and beaches of the rest of that trip.

How do I describe Rasputin?  Think of it this way.  Stout is to beer what chocolate is to candy.  Russian Imperial is to stout what 82% cacao is to chocolate.  And Rasputin is to Russian Imperial what Scharffen Berger is to dark chocolate.  It is the best of the best of the best.

So, welcome aboard ye Russian sailors.  Zanne's got the food on.  May I interest ye in a little libation?  Aye, there's vodka, too.  Na zdorovye, mates!  Who's gonna choose the first song?

1 comment:

  1. Damn, why do we have no Rasputin in the house?! Oh, yeah, because you have it on an IV drip!

    No Chicken Kiev for you for that. BTW, Chicken Kiev is actually French. It's not Ukranian, despite the name, but it was brought over to Russia from France. See--my people have made some quality contributions to the world other than six-foot-high powdered wigs and poutine. Don't even think about going down that road.