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What would Elvis drink?

Before I stick my nose back into academic papers focused on terpenoids, sesquiterpenoids and preserving hop aroma and flavor . . . a few things I’ve been reading.

* The New York Times reports full-service gyms are losing members. “In the 70s, they came for community. Now they come in and disassociate themselves from everyone in the club. It’s killing the health club,” says a marketing consultant. A sign that “third places” revolve around community rather than design.

* Excellent observations (if “grim reading”) in Tandleman’s Beer Blog about dwindling beer sales and number of pubs in Great Britain.

Society is changing in ways we could never have predicted. The web, social networking, time shifting multi channel TV, more comfortable homes, price, health awareness, recession, job insecurity, generational attitude shifts and more, dictate that a pub will never again be on every street corner, bursting at the seams and the only place to go for an entertaining interlude.


There’s a mountain to climb. Nonetheless, the pub trade still refuses as a whole to face up to this and the fact that to attract customers and keep them, it has to be better. It has to offer a smile, a warm welcome (that just means a “hello” or a “thanks”), good surroundings, decent food and an experience that is attractive and competitive against other offerings. It has to offer good service and a wide range of beers that people actually want to drink, rather than the ones they can buy cheaply and sell dear.

Natty Bo at Nacho Mamas* Draft National Bohemian beer is returning to the Baltimore area. To the rest of the country this is like the return of PBR. For those of you thinking huh? . . . Natty Bo was a long time Baltimore fixture, with a history that pre-dates Prohibition. Carling bought the brewery in 1975, then Heileman acquired it, then Pabst. Today MillerCoors brews Natty Bo for Pabst.

Fact is that when we are next in Baltimore we’ll likely be drinking something brewed in Maryland and more expensive than Natty Bo. However, while I can’t tell you the last one of those better tasting beers I had when we last visited Charm City a while back I do remember where I was sitting when I last had a Natty Bo . . . almost 10 years ago.

We were in Nancho Mamas, one of the few places you could still find Natty Bo in bottles inn 2001 (and you drank it straight from bottle). Friends of ours took us there, because they understood we had to see a place where every available inch is covered with a picture of Elvis Presley or a photo from old Baltimore (mostly sports) or a piece National Bohemian memorabilia. These included signs large and small, a gallery of bottle caps on the wall at the front entrance, buckets hanging at the bar and more.

Lots of tourists, and lots of regulars (many with tourists in tow). These days reviews at Yelp mostly talk about the nachos and margaritas, but indicate in passing the decor remains intact. I hope the regulars are as well. Beer, communities, pubs (or bars) — they all make each other better. And a little Elvis on the side is OK.

9 Responses to What would Elvis drink?

  1. Darren January 30, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    I think Elvis would be all over a peanut butter banana Witt or a Wizenbock with bacon. Actually they sound pretty good, might be time to brew

  2. David Martin January 30, 2011 at 5:58 am #

    Bacon IPA, had it the other way around so it must be good. Elvis can have a peanut butter banana Porter cask conditioned.

  3. Darren January 30, 2011 at 6:26 am #

    not so much a cask David, just a really big peanut butter jar!

    • Stan Hieronymus January 30, 2011 at 9:53 am #

      The challenge with peanut butter is what the oil does to head retention.

  4. Darren January 31, 2011 at 12:10 am #

    Fair point Stan, just need to find the right part of the process to introduce the peanut butter (and oil) to the process. Apparently you can use olive oil in the ferment as an alternative to oxygenation (feeds the yeast and aids in cell wall production), havent tried it myself but the theory is sound but I think if fails on ecconomics.

    If Elvis emerges from my local 7/11 I’ll brew him a batch

  5. dave January 31, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    It seems the new owners of Pabst are holding true to their idea of resurrecting Pabst’s “two dozen defunct brands” (

  6. Steve January 31, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    “The company, based in Woodbridge, Ill., has about 200 employees and more than 80 trademarks and 42 beer brands…”

    Uh, that’s Woodridge. 😉

  7. Swordboarder January 31, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    What academic papers are you reading specifically?

    • Stan Hieronymus January 31, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

      Too many to list, but I will send you a partial list via email.

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