“They who want beer will drink beer”: Irish Pub Night returns

It’s Tuesday night again and Matt Jungers ’03 is gripping his glass of Guinness with determination and pride. A copy of Anthony Bourdain’s “A Cook’s Tour” sits unread under his arm, testifying to a love of cooking put on hold for a love of beer. To drink out of a glass, to taste the rich freshness of life, pressure-tapped, frothy and dark. His partner in this spirited love affair, Chris Sommerfeld ’03, puts down his glass – number two of three – and leans across the table to explain to me how two German men – a Jungers and a Sommerfeld – became associated with that most Irish of nights at the Log: Irish Pub Night.

“There’s no comparison to Irish Pub Night,” Frank, regular bartender at the Log says. “I love it.”

So do we, Frank.

The short of the long, as Sommerfeld says, begins at the beginning, with the founding of the club in the fall of 2001. Upon returning from study abroad in Ireland, then-senior Emmett Tracy ’02 decided to continue his internationalism through drink. Slow to start, Irish Pub Night quickly became a favorite gathering of seniors and eligible underclassmen during the luke-warm January of 2002.

During a gathering of mutual friends that January at the Log, Jungers and Sommerfeld met and enjoyed a Guinness together for the first time. But Tracy finally graduated, and when they returned to the Log on the first Tuesday of this year, they met supreme disappointment. There was no Guinness.

“No one picked up the ball,” Jungers said. “So when there was no Guinness – and definitely no glasses to drink out of – we decided to do it ourselves. Now it has picked up. People include it in their weekly schedule.”

At first, the Log staff objected to the return of Guinness because of the added difficulty of acquiring and tapping it. The Log imports its Guinness kegs from Burt Beverage in Springfield, rather than from the local distributor. Unlike regular bar kegs, which are tapped using carbon dioxide, Guinness must be tapped using a combination of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, making set-up and pumping harder. For this reason, the Log staff wanted assurance that, if they bought a keg of Guinness, there would be people to drink it. Success, in the world of the Log, is measured in cold, hard bodies.

Recognizing the demand for cheap Irish stout, Jungers and Sommerfeld responded by supplying the bodies. Lots of them. Pretty soon, students of all ages were spending their $4.50 on three glasses – real glasses! – of Guinness.

Of course, Irish fever has yet to catch on campus-wide. In fact, as Frank, also a bartender at the president’s house, reveals, Guinness is not even offered at presidential functions, even when an open bar is provided. Has Morty ever tasted the sweet dark nectars? Frank says no.

“At least, I never served him one,” he clarifies.

Notwithstanding the presidential stonewall, Jungers and Sommerfeld have made further headway in bringing the people what they want (stout), when they want it (every Tuesday from 9 p.m. to midnight) and in quantities they desire. With the success of Irish Pub Night, the two began to attend meetings of the Log committee. There, they used the popularity of Irish Pub Night as leverage for another of their projects: the end of the three-drink minimum.

The Log committee, eager to match the success of the Irish Pub, agreed to try a new “21 and over” night on the last Friday of Winter Study 2003. Because only legal drinkers were allowed to enter, no drink minimum was enforced. Once again students were allowed to revel in unlimited dollar drinks, Snack Bar points for beer and a healthy, constructive forgetting of the busy week. Now every Friday is unlimited drinks – for those with proper ID.

The Log, it seems, is back.

“This place is happening!” Jamon Frostenson ’03 exclaims over a tall, frothy glass of Guiness.

Indeed it is, Jamon. Indeed it is.

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