St Austell Brewery’s latest collaboration ale, Black Square Russian Imperial Stout comes in from the cold and into the cooler this week, following time spent maturing in oak barrels to bring the authentic brew to its very best condition.
Russian Imperial stout is a strong dark beer after the style that was brewed in the 18th century by Thrale’s brewery in London for export to the court of Catherine II of Russia. Black Square, a play on the famous Moscow Red Square landmark, is also the name of an iconic, pre-revolution Russian abstract artwork by Kazimir Malevich.
Tapped at this year’s Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) to much acclaim, Black Square was conceived and originally brewed by St Austell Brewing Director Roger Ryman alongside the team from the New Riga’s Brewery in Moscow back in 2016. Released in keg into the Russian market, it instantly became New Riga’s best-selling craft ale and remains their best-seller to date.
The collaboration was made between St Austell Brewery and the New Riga’s Brewery in Moscow to showcase St Austell Brewery in Russia, cementing its reputation for quality beers and to position the company as a premium producer to the Russian marketplace. The creation of Black Square also served to enhance New Riga’s reputation as a brewer of quality craft beer.
As Roger Ryman commented, “We’ve been working with New Riga’s for a number of years now as a distribution partner and when they opened their new brewery, it made perfect sense to go and work with them to create a brew that meant something to both of us and that we knew would work in both markets. It’s a fantastic brew and the collaboration simply adds to its authenticity. During our visit we were able to create some fantastic bonds of friendship, not only amongst the New Riga’s brewing team, but also amongst beer drinkers in Moscow who we know will tell all of their friends about us and share the story on social media! Such a positive story and such good will is invaluable and impossible to emulate unless it is genuine.”
Oleg Leandrov, New Riga’s General Manager echoed the sentiment, saying, “To be able to work with an award-winning brewer like Roger Ryman was a real treat for our brewing team. Our brewery is a relatively new addition to our business, so to be able to brew something in collaboration with St Austell was very special and the success of Black Square in the Russian craft beer market shows how well the two teams worked together. Between us, we have created something special and that will be remembered by beer lovers in Moscow and beyond who now look forward to St Austell beers being available which benefits both St Austell and New Riga’s. We were so pleased to work with Roger and we look forward to returning the favour in the UK and to welcoming more of the St Austell team to Moscow.”
Back in the UK, Black Square has been re-brewed on the St Austell Brewery Small Batch and, following its launch at GBBF is now ready for sampling by stout aficionados and beer lovers across the UK.