I’m not exactly sure why, but I asked Karl Alzner what his favorite beer was the other day.
“I have I guess two,” the Caps defenseman responded. “I always have a Bud Light if I’m going to be drinking beer, which is kind of average, but the other one that I have been leaning towards more is called Redbridge. “It’s actually gluten free, and it’s got a great taste to it. I don’t have beer that often — I sound like the Dos Equis man — I don’t have beer that often, but when I do, it’s a Redbridge.”
Well, there’s a lot there.But the gluten-free thing seemed like it was worth exploring. Alzner explained that he and Jay Beagle gave up gluten together upon a suggestion from their trainer over the summer, and that he started eating gluten-free bread, and gluten-free pasta, and passing on cereal and oatmeal, and drinking gluten-free beer, and that “I just noticed a difference with the stomach, it settles the stomach down quite a bit.”
(Speaking of Alzner and beverages, maybe you remember him posting this image of a frosted Paulaner mug on his Twitter account last week, with the message “Everyone should have a good drinking cup. Makes things taste so much better.”
Turns out that wasn’t an endorsement of Paulaner.
“I was just saying that I think it’s kind of cool to have your own drinking cup,” Alzner explained. “I bought a mug that’s probably 10 inches tall and heavy, glass, literally tough to bring it up to your mouth to drink. And I keep it in the freezer now, and for whatever reason the drink tastes better now when it’s out of that mug.”
The picture, if you’re curious, showed Pellegrino and lemonade, but Alzner said he uses the special mug for “whatever’s in the fridge.”)
Back to gluten. Beagle thought the notion of banishing gluten seemed “impossible” at first, but when he started removing items from his diet, he felt less bloated, healthier, more spry. And he said he doesn’t miss the glutenny products.
“I was always trying to eat pretty healthy anyways,” he said. “I’ve always been a guy, I don’t eat for pleasure, I eat for gains, to gain muscle and gain strength and recover.”
Alzner, though, needed to work at the diet.
(Another Alzner note: he’s in the process of getting his first tattoo on his right arm. It depicts a nautical scene, including an old-school sailing ship and a water vista, as homage to his native Vancouver.
“People don’t really understand the vision,” Alzner said. No photos allowed until it’s finished.)
Anyhow, Alzner needed to work at the diet.
“It’s not like the foods are any better, that’s for sure,” he told me. “One thing that I actually did have a lot of this summer, there’s this company in Calgary called Spolumbo’s, and they make the best chicken sausages I’ve ever had. And I’m not a sausage guy, I never eat sausage in the morning or anything, but ever since I’ve tried Spolumbo’s, it’s pretty amazing. When we go to Calgary or Edmonton, I’m gonna bring a bunch of packs of those back.”
In fact, Alzner said, he now eats a Spolumbo’s chicken sausage for breakfast every morning. And if he doesn’t wake up next week with huge shipments of both Redbridge gluten-free beer and Spolumbo’s chicken sausages on his front stoop, I’m doing something wrong.
Oh, one more thing. Alzner and his fiancee decided to vacation in Playa del Carmen over the summer. Her family thought that sounded like a great idea, so they tagged along. And one day, there at the Mexican resort, one of the other guests went up to Alzner’s fiancee’s step-dad, and and asked whether Karl would mind if a hockey fan said hey.
“I was like, Mexico, seriously?” Alzner said. “How does that happen? Never in a million years would have thought that.”
The guy never came up and said hey, though. Maybe he was chased off by the Redbridge. Or the nautical-themed tattoo.