Thursday Night Loaded: A Correction With Beer Chaser

I had intended that tonight’s article would be about the uses of egg whites and the mysteries of Pisco brandy but I just don’t have pep enough in me for anything that involved. See, technically, I’m on holiday in Edmonton and I wasn’t smart enough to have a couple back up columns in the can for situations like this one.

There is, however, one loose end I didn’t get to last week so I’ll deal with it now.

In our Drink! feature, I mentioned in my piece on how to stock a home bar that you would need an añejo tequila for use in margaritas. Well, Dylan, the Fainting Goat’s bar manager, wrote in to say….

Never use anejo tequila in a marg.  A good silver 100% agave will do. The oak notes interfere with the pure flavours of orange, agave and lime.

Ahem. Well. Yes. Look, I have to confess, my relationship with tequila is…. fraught. It tastes too much of midwinter bush parties on the Alberta prairie and broken finger, if you must know.

As a result, while I’ve read that you should use silver tequila in margaritas, whenever I’ve been compelled to make them, I’ve always purchased añejo tequilas because I’ve been told that peculiar cactussy flavour is more muted than in the not-so aged silver incarnation. The añejo-style I hoped would be less provocative to my palate (and memory).

Plus, I’ve noticed that while the Mexican restaurants I’ve been to all use silver tequila in their margaritas, they also all use artificially flavoured fruit slushes. Seeing as those margaritas are the cheapest tasting drinks money can buy, it seems reasonable that maybe everything these Mexican restaurants do where booze is concerned is best avoided. Silver tequila included.

Dylan, however, is a barman I respect and I will defer to his judgment on this subject. From now on, silver tequila it is.

If anyone wants to recommend a particular brand, I’d be much obliged.

Meanwhile, whenever folk here in Oil Country learn I’m writing a weekly booze column, they immediately start offering beer suggestions. I try to explain it’s not that kind of a booze column (not yet, anyway) but I will dutifully — and quickly — report on a couple of their recommendations.

First, there are the Brown Ale and Wred Wheat Ale from Wild Rose Brewery. I’ve had a chance to taste both and enjoyed them but I will say they exhibit a rather strong beery character (“beery” being a functional, placeholder adjective but I’m really tired and that’s the best you’re going to get out of me right now). If you like your beer strongly “beery”, these are the beers for you. Wild Rose, by the way, is a fairly new brewery from Calgary (or, rather, fairly new to me) and I look forward to trying others from their line.

Meanwhile, I’ve been assured that Edmonton’s Alley Kat Brewery — which has as far as I’m concerned never managed to make a beer better than a mediocre home brew — is maturing nicely and now produces a couple worthwhile bottles. Of particular note, their 15th Anniversary Ginger Beer is supposed to be very interesting. I haven’t had an opportunity to give it a go, though.

On a side note, Alley Kat’s label design has improved dramatically over the last decade. (Yes, that matters.) They still use their original logo here and there — the one with all the cockeyed letters that maybe seemed zany cool back in the mid 90s but now just looks goofy and amateurish. Mercifully, that’s starting to disappear in favour of something much more reserved and elegant.

In short, I’m just about ready to give Alley Kat another try. Then again, I’m not exactly racing off to the late night beer store either.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5’10” tall and he was born in a place. He’s not there now. He’s sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It’s “Girl From Ipanema”, thanks for asking.

You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

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