«Carl and Friedrich» - first brew house in Russia

Krestovsky Island in St. Petersburg is the place of the most original and exciting entertainments of the city. Here are located many fascinating and captivating amusements for people of all ages – and this is known not only by Peter’s residents, but also by guests of the capital of the North. But only a few people know that the story of another popular amusement for adults started exactly here.

Here, in the northeast of  St. Petersburg, 290 years ago, in 1724 Russian brew house originated. According to the legend, that time one German pastor Reichmuth lived. He had two sons    Carl and Friedrich that graduated Munich brewer school and wanted to set up a brew house in a new capital city. When the emperor became aware of that idea, he talked to Reichmuth and gifted him a land on the Krestovsky Island. The emperor had a conference with Carl and Friedrich, later on he laid the foundation stone of the first brew house in the Russian Empire. According to the idea, this brew house was supposed to have a malt-crashing windmill.
After a few months the emperor died and German brewers had to leave Russia. But the business kept on existing. Later on the story of the Reichmuths turned into legend in Petersburg and Bavaria. Taverns that brewed beer were appearing thick and fast. Their owners said they were keeping on the Reichmuth’s business. Many people used to do brewing on the Krestovsky Island: Germans Krause and Baum, even Tartarian Yalishev.

At the end of  the 19th century the restaurant “Krestovsky sud” was opened. The legend about Carl and Friedrich affected this restaurant’s concept: beer was considered to be the main drink here. Igor Severyanin,  Alexander Block, Alexander Kuprin, Alexander Popov, Miklouho-Mackay – all these people used to visit this restaurant and have some beer.

In Soviet times “Krestovsky sud” was considered to be unacceptable place for the victorious proletariat, this place was burned. Instead of marvelous beer restaurant there was a waste land where later on automobilists used to study.
The story got a new turn in 1999 when the descendant of Reichmuth, Ludvig Reichmuth, came to Petersburg to research his family story. The restaurant “Russkaya ribalka” was situated on the place where Peter ordered to build a beer house, but Reichmuth got in touch with him and proposed a deal. The businessman promised to share the family secret of beer production provided that the new beer house of the Reichmuths would be built on its historic spot.  Having received approval, Ludvig started construction of the brew house. While breaking the ground the foundation stone was discovered, it was dated 1725 and inscribed that «Hie domini MDCCXXIV iussu imperatoris Russiae Petri I prima bracina Petropolitana est.», which means that «Here in 1724 first Russian brewing was founded by order of Peter the First». This Ludvig’s production was named “Carl and Friedrich” – in memory of first brewers of the Krestovsky Island.

Nowadays this restaurant is the successor of the best traditions of the Bavarian brewing and welcomes you its varied menu. According to information from the official website, “Carl and Friedrich” offers dishes of “meat cuisine”. Local brewers say: “Menu of this restaurant is the best that exists in the European cuisine”. It is possible to see the whole list if dishes on the official website of the brewing.

“Carl and Friedrich” is the only restaurant in St. Petersburg with the real Biergarten -«beer garden» for 1000 people. During summer time from Thursday to Sunday here you can see music performances and guests dance in the open air. During other seasons performances are arranged in a special hall. The restaurant’s hall is double leveled; first one is devoted for noisy get-togethers, the second floor is for business meetings and solitary rest.

Yes, and, sure, beer. “Carl and Friedrich” has its own brewing where several types of barley drink are being produced:
·         Carl I — pale barley hazy beer of low fermentation. Is of Pilsner beer type. It has nice hop aroma and bold bitterness; is produced of pale barley malt and aromatic hop.

·         Carl II – half-light barley hazy beer of low fermentation. It is of Lager type. It has mild, slightly sweetish taste and malt aroma; is produced of light barley malt, Munich malt and aromatic hop.

·         Carl III – light wheat hazy beer of top fermentation. It is of Weizen type. This beer has specific aroma where you can notice flavors of “banana” and “cloves” that is connected with the usage of special yeast. Aroma and high content of carbon dioxide make the wheat beer very popular, especially in warm seasons; is produced of barley and wheat malt and hop.

·         Friedrich – dark hazy barley beer of low fermentation. In a general sense it is of the Lager type. In Germany it is called Dunkel. This beer is heavy, it has sweetish caramelized taste of bread and some malt bitterness; is made from light barley Munich caramelized and burnt hot.

Restaurant’s clients consider that this is the place where the best beer in Petersburg is brewed. We suggest you neither to take our word, nor take their word, but we suggest you to visit this place and to taste all you want. After all a real traveler and a real beer-lover should visit “Carl and Friedrich” in Petersburg; the same thing when you visit Munich, you definitely visit Hofbräuhaus. We had a great cup of barley drink in the place where the history of Russian brewing had started and we wish you to visit this place also.

Ivan Kuznetsov, Gayanat project © 2014