Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Drinking beer at the arena

As I mentioned in my Times-Union column last month, the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena now has gluten-free beer. And as I also mentioned in that column, now that there is gluten-free beer, I was more interested in attending a Jacksonville Sharks game.

So I went to my first Sharks game Monday night and I am able to confirm that, yes, you can get Omission or Dogfish Head Tweason'Ale. But like everything else, it wasn't simple, even though the menu boards at the concession stands prominently displayed "gluten-free beer" on the signs. The signs were even flashing photos of Omission beer.

I bought two beers at two different cashiers and both times, the cashier didn't know what I was talking about when I asked for a gluten-free beer, even when I pointed to the signs. This was basically the same problem I encountered last fall at EverBank Field, which I described in a previous column.

That debacle, when the concession workers didn't understand and served me gluten, was potentially dangerous. This was just annoying, because I could clearly see what bottles of beer they were looking at (trying to figure out what a gluten-free beer is) and when they showed me the Omission and Tweason'Ale bottles, I was able to say "yes, that's it."

I'd worry about this if they were serving gluten-free food items. But other than gluten-free JimmyBars!, which are prepackaged (and also displayed on the menu boards), there isn't any. So they can't really poison us. Considering how much work it took to get the beers and how appalling the service was last year at EverBank Field, I'm not sure I want the arena to offer gluten-free food.

But at least it's nice to have a beer at the arena.

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