Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beer Geekin'

Willard's Tap House has opened just down the road.  Life as we know it has changed forever.  Willard's is the most elemental tap room you can imagine:  50 feet of polished bar, half a dozen tables, and 40 beer taps.  Yeah, 40.  A couple of TV's, no significant food, no video poker, no dancing girls, no Captain Morgan or Patron.  Just 40 taps.  And, if I my eyes have not deceived me, none of those taps has Bud Light dripping out of it.  O frabjous joy!  Paul Unwin, owner and beermeister of  the Cajun Cafe, put me onto the place.  Paul has 80 beers of his own, 15 on tap, and he goes to Willard's on his off hours.  Get the picture?  The knowledgeable staff at Willard's considers Paul a god, which makes sense.

The truth be known, Willard's is on the way to the Cajun.  Is that karma, or what?  So, naturally, I stopped in on my way to the Cajun for crawfish.  Willard's lineup includes everything from AB Oaked IPA  (that's Arrogant Bastard from Stone Brewery, not that other AB) to Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barley Wine to Victory Wild Devil, which was my choice for the night.  Wild Devil is from the same folks who make the amazing Hop Devil IPA, and in fact is the same beer brewed with Belgian ale yeast. Great malt body and big time hops, an IPA blessed with that slightly sour funkiness that makes Belgians so wonderful.

A careful review of the tap lineup reveals an inordinate number of highly hopped ales, a commodity that is in notorious short supply in Tampa Bay and Pinellas County in particular.  This joint has a big future with real beer lovers, (One such beer lover in attendance tonight was a certain middle linebacker with our favorite local football team.)   And lucky for me, Willard's is located across from my favorite breakfast spot, The Golden Bear, so I can always stop in for a brew on the way out for waffles.

Willard's Tap House is at 12500 Starkey Road in Largo (that's Florida, folks), half a mile south of Ulmerton Road.