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Blacklist Artisan Ales is always looking to differentiate themselves from the rest of Duluth’s craft beer scene. Usually this is done by making beers that are more unique and quality than the average amber or stout. This week, though, they took the other angle. They made a beer more basic than anyone else with the Homegrown Blue Ribbon (I feel like I’ve heard a similar name somewhere else before...). That beer is available this week and until the product runs out. But wait, isn’t this a cocktail column?
Bartender and social media marketer Ray Mindestrom told me they wanted to make a Mexican inspired drink for Cinco de Mayo, which is this Saturday. Thus, the Chick-a-Lada was created. Mindstrom also said the Chick-a-Lada is intended to be a morning-after-homegrown drink for people who were out the night before.
I was helped by two people; Mindestrom and Meghan Jager. Mindstrom used to be a bartender at Castle Danger for about two and a half years. He was friends with the managers at Blacklist and began working some shifts. Around this time he also became involved operating their social media. Jagar has been with Blacklist for a while on and off. She said her favorite thing about bartending is the beer, and her favorite style is Belgian, which Blacklist is famous for embracing.
The Chick-a-Lada is their take on a bloody mary. Bloody’s are typically made with vodka but a lot of places will take their own spin on it with different alcohols. Like I said earlier Blacklist uses their Homegrown Blue Ribbon. It is garnished with a chicken nugget, celery stick, and a jalapeno popper. It’s rim is salted with celery salt from McQuade’s Herbs, Spices, and More in Two Harbors. The alcohol content is much lower than a traditional Bloody Mary, making it more drinkable and thirst-quenching.
How is it?
The first flavor to hit you is the celery salt. This gets into the drink and makes each sip salty. The bloody mary mix was evenly matched with the beer making it very easy to drink. I can imagine this would be a good hair-of-the-dog drink, but I was not hungover when I had it. It is salty, and refreshing. Also the chicken nugget and celery were something nice to snack on.