Black Sheep Brewery, in Masham, has produced its own version of Imperial Russian Stout, a favourite drink of Empress Catherine of Russia, in the hope of winning a competition to be held in Saint Petersburg next month.
However, 20 surplus firkins of the stout have been also brewed – and some have already been snapped up by a Knaresborough-based pub chain to serve to customers in the run up to the royal wedding.
The competition, named The Grand Baltic Adventure will re-trace earlier18th century sea journeys, when British porter – a dark, rich beer – was shipped to Russia where it was a great favourite with Empress Catherine the Great and renamed Imperial Russian Stout.
A small, four and a half gallon cask – a pin – of Black Sheep Brewery’s Imperial Russian Stout will leave Greenwich, London, on May 15 for the journey, which will take it across the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, stopping at Denmark, Sweden and Finland before arriving in St Petersburg on June 18.
Now, after pub chain Market Town taverns snapped up eight firkins of the limited edition stout, pubgoers can toast royal bride-to-be Catherine, in the last week of April only, with a drink inspired by her legendary royal namesake.
Market Town Taverns was founded 11 years ago and now boasts 14 sites across Yorkshire with a further one due to open this month. Black Sheep’s Imperial Russian Stout will be available in eight of its pubs from around April 18 – in perfect time for Easter and the Royal Wedding celebrations on April 29.
Black Sheep’s Imperial Russian Stout will be available to drinkers in Veritas, Leeds city centre; Town Street Tavern, Horsforth; Narrow Boat, Skipton; The Old Bell Tavern, Harrogate; Arcadia, Headingley; East of Arcadia, Meanwood, Leeds; Coopers, Guiseley and Brigantes in York.
Market Town Taverns Operations Director Simon Midgeley said: “I think the interest that an 8.5% Imperial Russian Stout is already generating with our customers is a testament to Black Sheep’s decision to brew such distinctive beer.”
Black Sheep Brewery’s head brewer and director Alan Dunn said: “We are delighted our fellow Yorkshiremen will get a chance to try our Russian Imperial Stout and I’m sure that if Catherine Middleton were to try it she would become as fond of it as Empress Catherine of Russia was.”