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The drinking o' the green
Chris Galloway places a pint of green beer on the bar top at Doyles Irish Pub. The pub has had the festive St. Patricks Day brew on tap since the pub crawl at the beginning of the month. (Times photo: Anthony Wahl)
MONROE - Her married name is Gutzmer, which is German, and her bar is called the French Quarter, which speaks for itself, but her maiden name is McNett.

With Irish blood tugging at her, Amy Gutzmer keeps a little container of green dye at the bar every St. Patrick's Day. So today, if you desire, she'll squirt you up.

"I get three or four requests a year - from the people stuck on the green-beer tradition," said Gutzmer, a co-owner of the tavern since 1990. "We used to buy the barrel of green beer back in the day, but we'd always be stuck with it the next day. Believe me, it's not easy to sell at that point."

Everyone seems to be going green these days, but maybe beer on St. Patrick's Day is the exception. Is the long-time tradition on the wane? Is the French Quarter's obligatory half-hearted commitment the norm?

It is at The Depot Bar.

"We dye to order," said manager Gary Sanders, whose bar has 23 years under its belt. "We stopped buying the green kegs about 10 years ago because the next day we were trying to get rid of it. We'd do a dollar-off to do so."

He said each year, the number of requests vary.

"There can be none, or you can get a couple of guys going on it and then everyone wants one and the bartenders' fingers are all green," Sanders said. "So it's inconsistent."

Bartel's & Co. Tap on the Square reports the same game plan for today.

Other bars have no interest.

"We don't mess with that," said the bartender at Old Smokey's.

At Sinners Saloon, they gave up on it after one try when it opened in 2013.

"Customers don't like it," said manager Josh Foulker. "It's a mindset thing."

The bartenders at the Friendly Inn, when asked on both Friday and Sunday, said they did not know. They were at least friendly about it.

Traditionalists can breathe a sigh of green-beer relief, however, in knowing that two local bars with Irish names are embracing the green-beer tradition.

At Flanagan's Shenanigans, a green barrel has been flowing since the March 7 pub crawl - which serves in many ways at the city's unofficial St. Patrick's Day.

Same for Doyle's Irish Pub.

"Oh, it's expected," said waitress Sherri Fiduccia. "I'd say 85 percent of the people ask for it. If we didn't have a keg of it they'd say, 'OK, go get the green dye.'"

With that dedication come the standard hesitations.

"A lot of people worry it will taste different - I used to be curious too," said Flanagan's bartender Tessa Brown. "I do know for sure it will make your teeth green if you drink enough."

Then there's the big question - the one that's hard to talk about but comes up constantly, as both servers attest: If it goes down green, does it come out green?

"Oh, it does, if you drink enough of it," Fiduccia said. "I didn't believe it until my son proved it to me. He said, 'Come take a look at the toilet.'"

Her son, 26-year-old Adam Chabucos, was intentionally not called seeking comment for this story.

Whether your faith is restored or whether you are repulsed, the tradition seems fairly alive and well in these parts. In fact, it is even a mainstay in the senior circuit.

That's right, Brittany Fenwick, the sales and marketing director at Aster Senior Community, introduced green beer three years ago as part of the center's annual St. Patrick's Day meal.

"It gets a good laugh," she said of the pitcher of beer that's available for a taste. "But some people do give it a try, just for fun."

Fenwick got the idea of her college days in Illinois.

"The local bars were always frustrated that spring break coincided with St. Patrick's Day, so they created their own day - sort of like Monroe did," she said. "At first, green beer creeped me out. Well, it didn't take long for it to not bother me."

Have her seniors made the necessary adjustments?

"I had one lady this year say, 'I'll have a beer, but not a green beer,'" Fenwick said. "It's all we had, but she said she still wanted a beer."