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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Shake a shamrock, it’s time for green beer

By Joe Stumpe
Eagle correspondent

If you’ve ever wondered about all that green beer flowing on St. Patrick’s Day, talk to Pam Irish.

Irish is director of special events for the House of Schwan, Wichita’s Anheuser-Busch distributorship. And yes, that is her real name.

Irish would like to report that leprechauns sneak into the brewery at night to turn the beer green (kind of like those commercials for Lucky Charms).

Alas, the real story is that House of Schwan employees put green food coloring into kegs of beer for the bars that request it.

And a lot of bars request it. By Thursday, 93 kegs of the stuff were on order, with Larry Bud’s Sports Bar currently in the lead by taking 13.

"St. Patrick’s Day kind of kicks off the beer-drinking season," Irish said. "Summer’s kind of coming."

Another measure of the holiday’s popularity around the city are banners that the House of Schwan makes for bars, restaurants and clubs hosting St. Patrick’s Day parties.

At last count, the distributorship had produced 50 of those.

In other words, it doesn’t take the luck of the Irish to find a St. Patrick’s Day party. Still, if you’re running low in that department, here’s a look at some of the bigger events around town.

Artichoke Sandwich Bar, 811 N. Broadway — The Artichoke and Wichita Irish Cultural Society have teamed up to put on an Irish Tent Festival. It will start about 1 p.m. and feature, among other entertainment, the Corry School of Irish Dance, Piper Leigh, Knocknasheega, a limerick contest and Pop and the Boys, with Mulligan and Guinness stews and "all the libations one could ever encounter" being served, according to owner Pat Audley. Admission is $10 for adults (kids are free) and includes a membership in the Wichita Irish Cultural Association.

Shamrock Lounge, 1724 W. Douglas — The Shamrock is opening at 9 a.m. for a breakfast of Potatoes O’Brien, soda bread and what owner Dave Stough calls "pre-parade lubrication." The Delano neighborhood’s St. Patrick’s Day parade starts at noon. The Shamrock will also dish up corned beef and cabbage throughout the day and night. Bagpipes are scheduled to play at 1 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. and Stough promises lots of "Celtic beads and other swag" will be given away.

Pumphouse, 825 E. Second St. — The Pumphouse is holding a "kegs and eggs" breakfast starting at 9 a.m. Later, there will be music from two bands, a DJ and drink specials throughout the night.

Port of Wichita, 1548 S. Webb — The Port is serving a brunch of green eggs and ham at 11 a.m., along with corned beef and cabbage throughout the day. There will also be drink specials and live music from Uche, Bus Station Brown, Poultry in Motion and others.

Larry Bud’s Sports Bar, 2120 N. Woodlawn — In addition to its industry-leading kegs of green beer, Larry Bud’s will be serving corned beef and cabbage, with appearances by bagpipers scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Heroes Sports Bar, 117 N. Mosley — Heroes is featuring corned beef, "Fighting Irish meatballs" and drink specials, with bagpipers expected to play about 6:30 p.m.

Walt’s East, 7732 E. Central — Walt’s is serving up corned beef, soda bread and lots of drink specials.

The Brickyard, 129 Rock Island — The Brickyard kicks off its open-air season with drink specials and more.

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