Where to find National Bohemian on tap

Local bars celebrate return of historic Baltimore brew with keg-tapping parties

February 10, 2011|By Erik Maza, The Baltimore Sun

If you've stayed away from the Internet or Baltimore bars in the past two weeks, you might not have heard that National Bohemian is back on tap.

Owner Pabst Brewing Co. made the announcement in late January and has sold kegs of the historic Baltimore brew to at least 80 locations in Maryland.

Some eight bars were selected to host official keg-tapping parties, and while most of them have happened already, there are two — White Marsh's Della Rose's and Columbia's Frisco Tap and Brew House — that will take place next week.

When Pabst decided to bring back Boh on draft, it planned an initial run of 300 kegs. But the demand has so far overwhelmed them, said Rachel Warren, a Baltimore sales representative for Pabst. Already, there's a waiting list of about 30 more locations that want to carry it, Warren said.

"We never thought we'd need to do almost 1,000 kegs," she said. "Hopefully, 600 will be enough, but we have to play it by ear."

Of the initial 80 bars that will carry the draft product, Sidebar, Brewer's Art, Ottobar, Frazier's, Hamilton Tavern and Idle Hour have all had keg-tapping parties. Nacho Mama's was the first, attracting a big crowd last week. Owner Patrick McCusker hosted it while wearing a giant, bulbous Mr. Boh head.

The rest of the list includes the usual suspects — like Mount Royal Tavern and the Laughing Pint — and some surprises, like the Japanese restaurant and bar Sticky Rice.

On Wednesday, Frisco and Della Rose's will join them by tapping their own kegs. They're among the 20-some bars outside the city that will carry National by the glass. Warren acknowledged that it's hard to tell whether they'll keep selling 900 kegs a month.

"There's always enthusiasm at first, so we have to see how it shakes out," she said.

Fans, on the other hand, are still divided on the biggest question of all: Does it taste different on tap? The longtime locals seem to agree: It's never been about the taste.

On Wednesday, National Bohemian keg-tapping parties will be held at Della Rose's, 8153 Honeygo Blvd # A, White Marsh; and Frisco Tap and Brew House, 6695 Dobbin Road, Columbia.

—Erik Maza

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