Alley Kat Brewery

An Edmonton company’s plans to wade into the lucrative Calgary beer market are already well on their way.

Founded in 1993, Alley Kat Brewing Company is already available at over half a dozen local establishments. That number is rapidly growing with the recent addition of a full-time representative in Calgary. But does Calgary really need another brand of beer?

"We’re aiming for the young people. They’re looking for something other than the Molson, Bud, Labatt’s," says Gloria Hrynuik, the Alley Kat rep mentioned earlier. "They don’t want the same-old, same-old." With six distinct flagship brands, the "same-old" moniker doesn’t even apply. A brief tour of Alley Kat’s brews confirms this.

Alligator, appropriately available at Cajun Charlie’s, is an adventure in beer. Blackened with molasses, sweet and malty, this is an extremely drinkable beverage. Its spiciness makes it unique without being unpleasant, which is why it was my favourite of the bunch.

Buffalo and Charlie Flint’s are two other lagers that showcase Alley Kat’s main strength: friendliness. Both are flavourful, unique and far more interesting than the usual college-boy grog. Charlie Flint’s, in particular, is completely inoffensive and made me wish for a hot, sunny day to drink it on.

Another of Alley Kat’s most popular beverages is Aprikat, a fruit beer made with apricots grown in B.C. It’s a fruity, sweet ale with a distinct apricot aroma, perfect for sipping on the patio. This is a great drink, especially for those who do not usually like beer and it’s dignified enough to be featured in the Grad Lounge. As well, it was chosen as one of the best six beers in the country by CBC’s Market Place.

While there are many excellent beers already available in Calgary, this doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more, especially in the case of Alley Kat. So next time you’re somewhere like the Ship or Original Joe’s, give it a try. But watch out–your usual beer might never taste the same again.