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Natty Pro and Con

City Paper taste tests National Premium

Photo: Baynard Woods, License: N/A

Baynard Woods

George’s at the Peabody Court, right across from Mount Vernon Square Park, seems like a good place for CP to get a wide cross section of people to test National Premium during a First Thursdays festival. Bartender John Hartzell has been pushing the beer since its release, and in George’s, where it is called Natty Pro, it has developed a loyal following. Hartzell helps us set up a blind taste test between National Premium, National Bohemian, and the Raven. We ask customers to taste the beers, identify them, and choose the one they like best.

Vince Robinson (who gets credit for the Natty Pro coinage) identifies the beers right off the bat. “I mostly drink the Natty Pro now—except that most places don’t have it,” he says. “It’s got more flavor than the Boh, but it isn’t as intense as the Raven.”

Lester Bachren says he remembers the old Premium. He is certain that the Raven, a much darker beer, is the Premium, and says he prefers it to the others. When told that the Premium was the much lighter beer beside his preference, he says, “I remember Premium being much more full-bodied.”

Ashad Ruffin correctly identifies the beers, though he is far too young to have had the original Premium. He also prefers the Premium. “It’s smoother, milder, more like a light beer,” he says.

Carl Klein correctly identifies the beers, and prefers the Raven, while acknowledging, “I drink more Boh because it’s cheaper.”

Robert and Lise Kulinski are sitting at the corner of the bar. They are beer aficionados. While Lise has trouble identifying the beers, her husband nails it. “Smooth,” he says of the Premium, while ’fessing up that he likes the Raven better. “I think I would have liked the Premium better if it were really, really cold,” he says. “But it tastes like I remember it, though I was only 18 or 19. It was the stuff I’d swipe out of my dad’s fridge.”

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