There are many bars on Wilton Drive, the main drag of gaytopian Wilton Manors, and they all have their charms. There is chummy, sporty Sidelines. Rosie's (the subject of this week's dish column) has kitsch. There are low prices and lower lights at Tropics. Boom has beats, Georgie's Alibi the friendly press of the crowd, New Moon its lesbians, and Matty's ... well, it's got benches.
But they have no craft beer.
Now, that's not technically true -- Sam Adams is a craft, and
they've got that, and the Naked Grape wine bar used to sell the occasional big bottle of Rogue.
But I don't know if
they still do. I'd have to go to the Drive
to find out, and I don't do that because I'm a beer guy, and for a
street with as many bars as the Drive to offer up nothing more for beers
guys than Sam Adams and an occasional Rogue is a crime against nature, or
at least capitalism. So I go north to Brother Tuckers, or out west to
World of Beer, or I stay the hell the home because I don't like driving
with a head full of Belgian booze. Wilton Drive is walkable from my
house, but it's dead to me.
Ah ha, you might say -- Wilton Manors
is full of homosexuals, and homosexuals do not care for craft beer. But
you are both wrong and homophobic. I am a homosexual, and I love craft
beer. Anyway, the best beers in the world are brewed by Christian
clergy, a population notoriously committed to sodomy.
suspect the bar owners along the Drive themselves believe that gays
don't quite dig craft beers, and I suspect they believe this because
their bars are full, night after night, with massed crowds who seem to
actually enjoy the repellent swill issuing from the taps. What
these businessmen don't understand is that the gays come not because of the
repellent swill, but in spite of it. They come for the company. They are
willing to brave the plastic cups of Michelwieser and Budmiller or
whateverthehell because it's dangerous out there in the
Floridian wilds beyond Wilton Manors. They may find more delicious
things to drink out west or up north, sure, but is it really worth
getting into bar fights with gay-hating rednecks?
I say yes. I put on some
flannel, some unfashionable cuts of denim, studiously avoid lisping and
rock out with Southern Tier, Dogfish, Unibroue, Chimay, and Rochefort.
Others -- those who don't own flannel, perhaps -- go to to the gay bars
and suffer through their Heinestels and Amekens. They put on brave
faces. They look like they're having fun. Perhaps they are. But it's not
because of the drinks.
If you're a Wilton Manors bar owner, I'm
imploring you: Serve good beer. There are a lot of us who'd visit your
establishments if you did. Start with something basic and
non-threatening -- maybe Magic Hat #9. It's fruity, with a
half-concealed bitter undertone. Should catch on. Then maybe some
Ommegang BPA, because it's both similar to and infinitely better than
those Blue Moon and Shock Top things the kids like nowadays. If you own
Tropics, you could maybe serve some Belgian quadrupels -- they're
overripe, and full of those complexities which attend great age, and
which are so under-appreciated in our youth-crazy culture. If you own
Sidelines, maybe you could serve some of those rowdy Dogfish beers, like
their 90 Minute IPA, which is so full of life and energy and flavor
that it makes me wanna tackle somebody. Mattie's would pair reasonably
well with Unibroue's dark, mysterious Tres Pistoles; a beer so
overwhelming that people will forget to wonder why the hell they're not
across the street at The Manor. And if you own The Manor, your place is probably big enough to serve every one of these beers, and maybe a whole slew more.
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