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February 8, 2010

All tapped out

Here's guest blogger Peter Hermann on an unfortunate side efect to this weekend's snowstorm:

Tapped out

A sad occurrence the day after the big storm:

    The neighborhood bar has tapped out of beer.

    After suffering through a snowy, paralyzing Saturday, the folks in South Baltimore put away their shovels and headed for the taverns along Fort Avenue.

    The owner of Rafters, Paul Hartman, lost count of patrons that packed his rowhouse establishment, which straddles the world of old-time South Baltimore and the gentrified who started moving in at the onset of the housing boom. This bar boasts Winter Bourbon Belgian Cask Ale on tap, and has Formstone on the inside.

    Some people count snow inches. Hartman counts kegs. And by lunchtime Sunday, he'd blown through six kegs. Customers, before they could even shed their parkas and gloves, were met with plastic cups covering the taps, the universal sign that the beer is no more.

     No more Bud Light. No more Pabst. That makes the old-timer's stomach sink.

     No more Cask Ale. No more Kona Fire Rock Pale Ale (this reporter tried that one, but the keg ran dry before a half-inch of beer hit the glass). No more Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA.

    The only beer on tap that was left was Yuengling and Shock Top Belgian White, which is just fine but not quite the hearty winter ale that warms the body in a deep snow, and after having walked a maze of narrow, icy, tree-laden trails cut through the snow.

    So many people packed Rafters on Saturday that when Hartman turned on the juke box Sunday, he discovered 68 songs in queue that people had paid to hear but didn't play  by the 2 a.m. closing time.

    Another hit at the tavern: the special of the day was homemade tomato soup and grill cheese, the comfort food of kids everywhere coming in from playing in the snow.

    Super Bowl Sunday is not usually a big night for neighborhood bars, with most people heading out to private parties. And Hartman had enough beer – Miller Lite in bottles is still one of his best sellers.

   The next beer shipment is expected Tuesday — if it can beat the next storm.

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Posted by at 10:21 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Heavens to Mergatroid! Do you mean that the poor schmucks may be actually be forced to drink a beer with FLAVOR, rather than a crappy North American Industrial Lager? O, cruelty! O, heaven and saints save us!

Alexander D. Mitchell IV - It's "Heavens to Murgatroyd!", get it right

"Exit, stage right!"

It's lonesome away from your kindred and all,
By the camp fire at night where the wild dingoes call.
But there's nothing so lonesome so morbid or drear,
Than to stand in a bar of a pub with no beer.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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