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In Baltimore, Homegrown Beer Now On Draft

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Sam Greenspan

For the past 15 years, National Bohemian beer -- otherwise known as Natty Boh -- has only been available in cans and bottles. In some Baltimore bars, you can now welcome it back with four words that haven't been heard in over a decade: "Natty Boh on draft."

Outside Nacho Mama's bar in Fells Point, owner Scunny McCusker is celebrating with patrons.

"I think Natty Boh is such an iconic thing in Baltimore. It's like white marble stoops, it's like going to Hamden [on] Christmas on 34th Street...It's a good thing for the city," he says.

McCusker ordered four kegs for the night. Three were tapped out in the first two hours.

But for Curt Heydt, the celebration is bittersweet.

"It's sad that it's not brewed in Baltimore. I mean where you saw the big Natty Boh sign, that's where they used to brew it. That was the brewery," he says.

Heydt gestures up the street toward Brewers Hill. You can still see the one-eyed, mustachioed face of Mr. Boh, the beer's icon, lit up in red neon over the former plant.

Natty Boh left the tap the same time it left Baltimore -- in 1996, when it was bought out by Pabst.

Aside from the festivities at Nacho Mama's, it's unclear if the rest of the city is giving it as enthusiastic a welcome. Three other nearby bars haven't bought a single keg of Boh.


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