Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ordering a Beer

If you are in a Russian-speaking country, chances are you will order a beer (or three) while you are there. There are some basic beer-ordering words that will help you out in this department.

First, what kind of beer do you want? Russian beer is grouped by color. Светлое пиво is light in color, although not necessarily light in calories as in the U.S. Тёмное пиво is dark, and красное пиво is red. I once had красное пиво at a microbrewery in Nizhniy Novgorod and it was quite good--something like a Killian’s Red. Make sure to use the neuter ending when using adjectives referring to beer in order to be understood by your официант(ка).

What size of beer do you want? Like in America, you can usually get beer in 0.33 L or 0.5 L sizes. To order a smaller beer, ask for ноль три (literally “zero three”); to get a pint, ask for ноль пять (“zero five”).

Do you want your beer on draft? In that case, ask for разливное пиво, or пиво на разлив. You also may be able to find fresh, unpasteurized beer, so if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try the живое пиво.

Finally, as a fan of the Pyramid beers in the U.S., I like to have a wheat beer every once and a while. If you’re at a place with a decent selection, you may be able to find пшеничное пиво. Or, you can just order Балтика восмёрка.

Speaking of Балтика, a post on the various types and how to order them will be forthcoming!

Happy drinking!

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