Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Canada Day!

In honour of Canada Day I review a slew of beers from one of Canada's great breweries, Mill Street in Toronto.


Mill Street Brewery Tankhouse Ale (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 5.2%

This beer has a very visually appealing old-style bottle and logo. The beer itself is a copper colour in a glass. It has a rather hoppy aroma and bitter taste but this is balanced with a sweet rustic red malt flavour, with a roasty tone. It is spicy and has a certain hint of citrus in the hops character. The aftertaste is bitter and hoppy but also appetizingly sweet and malty in a way that reminds me a of bakery fresh brown bread.

Tankhouse Ale seems like an ideal pub or restaurant beer: due to it's hops character it's an exceptionally refreshing beer that would pair well with a wide variety of foods and though it is bitter, it is still a very drinkable beer.

Mill Street Brewery Pilsner (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 5.2%

Packs a suprisingly sweet punch at first. Has that characteristic dry crisp hops flavour associated with European style pilsners, that same hops flavour is the predominant aroma in the nose of the beer.

The beer is a deep gold in a glass and is a little cloudy - perhaps I served it a little too cold? Unfortunately I only have the one bottle to sample. I like the throwback label.

Nicely bitter, perfect for the style. The sweetness is a little unexpected but it quickly fades behind the hops and bitterness. Just a hint of citrus and floral tones in the finish of the beer with a moderately bitter aftertaste - all in all a very nice pilsner.

Mill Street Brewery's Pilsner is very refreshing and true to the style but with a little twist to keep things interesting while remaining well balanced throughout. I recommend you try this one.

Mill Street Brewery Traditional Ginger (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 5.0%

A bright clear beer that is a coppery gold colour in a glass. A gingery smell and taste, with a spicy kick if you take a large swig. It is very gingery in a way that tastes like fresh ginger, rather than ginger ale, but is also reminiscent of ginger bread and a little bit like pumpkin pie. I really appreciate the fact that Mill Street used actual ginger puree and no sweetener because ginger beers have been around for a long time and yet most of the modern versions are full of sugar and artificial flavourings. Also it is quite bitter which makes it stand out from other ginger flavoured beers on the market and makes it seem all the more authentic for it.

Mill Street Brewery Stock Ale (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 5.0%

A richly malty brew, sweet with roasted malt tones also. Something pleasantly creamy about the flavour of the malt that pairs nicely with the bitterness of the hops which is on the tame side of moderate. The sweet slightly roasty aroma is reminiscent of honey with a touch of hoppy bitterness for good measure.

A pleasant well crafted lighter ale. I've liked every beer I've tried from Mill Street Brewing so far, and this one is no exception, from the taste down to the design of each label this is a top tier craft brewery.

Mill Street Brewery Original Organic Lager (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 4.2%

Pale gold in a glass. This beer is sweet, malty and crisp but also springy on the palate. An interesting floral hops character that is reminiscent of a wheat beer. Refreshing and tasty but with a very short lived aftertaste.

This beer is an excellent lager: proof that a lager doesn't have to be bland or uncomplicated to be refreshing. If you are looking for a lager and are into organic foods you can't miss this beer.

Mill Street Brewery Coffee Porter (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 5.5%

With a rich coffee aroma that could kick-start a morning as effectively as a true cuppa joe, this beer certainly lives up its name. This should come as no surprise though since it is brewed with actual coffee! To be honest, I think including actual coffee in a porter borders on cheating since so many brewmasters strive to (and often succeed in) coaxing that coffee flavour out of specially malted barley.

In Mill Street's Coffee Porter though I have to say the merits of their coffee-blending approach is in the drinking: this is a very nice porter, strong flavours of coffee, smoke, a lovely level of sweetness that gives it a pronounced chocolate tone. It is also nutty and has a somewhat bitter aftertaste. The combination of aroma and aftertaste remind of the mix of smells I associate with pubs that are just around a street corner from a major thoroughfare and down a half flight of stairs: the pot of coffee behind the bar, the glass of ale on the table in front of you and the lingering hint of smoke from the night before.

This porter would do just as well as an after dinner desert as it would paired with an omelette at brunch. Also, and as always, I love the throwback style bottles Mill Street uses. All around a great purchase and worth trying more than once.
Mill Street Brewery Ambre de la Chaudiere (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 7.0%

A brass colour in a glass. A yeasty, floral and citrus aroma. A very yeasty floral explosion of a taste. Spicy but I think it could use a bit more spice to add to the yeast and sherry-like tones. Really nice beer all-in-all with an interesting story on the label to match the interesting flavour. A creamy mouthfeel with a touch of alcohol burn that cause this beer to drink as a fine wine, an exotic sherry or a robust scotch.

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