House Divided Bottles & Taps on West Market Street chose an unusual location for a bar and bottleshop: Set in a shopping center in west Greensboro, it’s closer to Donut World and Triad Homebrew Supply than to any of the craft beer outposts on Spring Garden Street.
But it makes sense once you start talking to the owners, Jen and KB Matthew, who are Greensboro College graduates.
“We’re bringing craft beer to this part of town,” KB said.
In the craft beer world, the lack of diversity is painful. Look at any brewery or beer festival crowd, and you’re likely to see the effects of our nation’s racial segmentation. All the more reason to respect the Matthews’ initiative and entrepreneurship.
One difference between Jen and KB is apparent: He’s black, and she’s white. But the venue name stems from something else.
Visit House Divided Bottles & Taps at 5545 W. Market St. (GSO) or find it on Facebook.
“We’re different in every way,” Jen said. “He likes Carolina, I like Duke. He likes the Giants, I like the Redskins. He likes beer, and I like wine.”
The playful theme spans the entire shop. A white zigzag line, painted on the concrete floor, stretches from the front door to the back. A banner near the restroom announces “House Divided,” with half Carolina blue and half Duke blue colors.
A colorful chalkboard behind the bar announces the booze options: several types of wine, including Shelton Vineyard riesling and Alamos malbec, and a handful of draft beers. The list on the Beer Menus app is up to date, and though the rotation isn’t as frequent as say Beer Co. or Bestway, the menu changes often enough to warrant an occasional check on the app.
On March 18, the Stillwater Artisanal On Fleek imperial stout was a perfect match for the indecisively cold weather. The fudgy chocolate head reminded me of icing on cake, and the 13 percent body went down much easier than it should have.
My husband Ryan, a classic IPA drinker, ordered the Ballast Point Big Eye IPA, as well as their Smoke Screen smoked Helles lager. In our “divided” household, I tend toward darker beers and high-gravity tipples. Ryan likes the smoky peatiness of Scottish single malts and tropical notes of IPAs. Even I had to admit to the spot-on punch of the Big Eye, though the Smoke Screen was decidedly not my jam.
We carried our plastic cups to the couch, where we could view all three flatscreens behind the bar at once. We don’t follow March Madness, but the constant stream of old-school R&B through the speakers lulled us into the comfort of watching games we didn’t have a stake in. It would have been the perfect place for fans to have watched insanity Sunday, with UNC narrowly winning while Duke fell in a close one to South Carolina in the second round of the NCAA tourney.
Before leaving, we scoured the fridges for cans and bottles to make our own carryout six-pack. In January, I picked up a bottle of what has become my new favorite, the fairly ubiquitous Old Rasputin Russian imperial stout. This time, I chose a can of Horny Goat Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter and a few various bottles like the Bourbon Peach “kombucha beer” from Unity Vibration.
I asked KB if their effort to bring craft beer to “this part of town” has been successful.
“We made it through the winter!” he said, laughing.