Harvey’s Imperial Extra Double Stout (275ml, 9.0%)

“One moment, comrade. What is this you are trying to import into Russia? Beer, you say? But we already have vodka. What we need with beer?

Hmm. Quite a name it has. Think it can live up to ‘Imperial’, ‘Extra’ and ‘Double’?

Wait a moment. This bottle has Cyrillic on it, but also has English. What is going on? Is brewed in England? What you mean all Imperial stouts are brewed in England? What you mean is historical style brewed for the Czars of my country?

007I see many awards on bottle. Back-slapping of the bourgeois Western beer industry, maybe?

I think I will have to pop off cap, see for myself.

Oof! Smells of red wine, maybe coffee beans. You are importing wine? But no – I pour into glass and liquid is dark as the gulag. Foam is brown. Is like mousse – bubbles do not pop but stare at you like a thousand hungry peasants.

I sip. Thick, like treacle. Only 9%? Tastes like more. Much more! Roasted malt, toffee, raisins, dates. I smack my lips at your bitter English hops. Aftertaste of sweet black coffee.

Mother Russia, this beer is as bold as a cavalry charge! One bottle would keep my entire family warm for the winter.

‘Imperial’? Yes. ‘Extra’? Yes. ‘Double’? Yes. All this and more. It makes one think. What we need with vodka?

I will keep one case for, uh … quality control. The rest you may take through.

Carry on, tovarishch. Carry on.”

Harvey’s Imperial Extra Double Stout…. Written by Richard Salsbury

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