Sepia Tones: Baltimore Beer Lost

I’ve lived in Maryland most of my life and there is nothing more iconic about beer and Baltimore than National Bohemian Beer and the one-eyed, handlebar-mustachioed Boh man.

THE SESSIONS #135 BEER BLOGGING FRIDAY The Session, a.k.a. Beer Blogging Friday, is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic. Each month, a different beer blogger hosts the Session, chooses a topic and creates a round-up listing all of the participants, along with a short pithy critique of each entry. 

Alistair Reece at Fuggled hosted The Session #135 – Beer Blogging Friday – for May 2018. The theme of this month is "Sepia Tones". Alistair writes in his introduction to this months topic.

As the title of his post suggests, "Today I want you to put on your sepia tinted glasses and indulge in a little beer nostalgia, a bit of personal beer history you might say".

What kind of things would be suitable topics for today? Well, here's some suggestions:

  1. Discontinued beers that you miss.
  2. Breweries you once loved that are no longer around.
  3. Beers that are simply not what they once were.
  4. Your early steps in the world of beer drinking, whether craft or just in general.

Baltimore Beer Lost

Old National Bohemian Bottle and Can

Old National Bohemian Bottle and Can

I have written about this topic before. As I pondered the questions of this months Beer Blogging Friday, it seemed that one theme was carried, in some sort, through all of these. If you've spent anytime in Baltimore, Maryland USA, regardless if you are a beer geek status or era, you know that there is one emblem for Baltimore beer — the Natty Boh man. This is the iconic one-eyed image for National Brewing and National Bohemian beer and has been for decades.

While the old downtown brewery was closed in 1978. And brewing stopped in Baltimore in 2000. This symbol is still seen above the Baltimore skyline at Brewers Hill. Countless cars carry the one-eyed guy on their back car window. For many, it is still the beer to have with steamed crabs.

Maybe Some Day

The iconic Natty Boh man still sits atop a bottle of beer.

The iconic Natty Boh man still sits atop a bottle of beer.

But alas, that beer and that era has past. Yes, National Boh is still brewed, but not in Baltimore or Maryland, but according to Wikipedia it is contract brewed in Eden NC, Albany GA and Trenton OH. What? One source states that about 90 percent of all Natty Boh sales still come from Baltimore. That is not surprising. It is still a symbol of Baltimore and beer — we don't want to let that go. Yes, maybe some day the beer and its town will be reunited.