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  • Milling About

    Your intrepid liquor reporter has grown quite enamoured of the Mill Street Seasonal Sampler 6-packs, widely available at your local booze merchant, and can often be seen ogling the six different brands of beer while carrying it home.

    Your humble narrator’s first experience with the Mill Street Brewery was during a trip to Toronto around 5 years ago, when I just happened to book the closest hotel to what Google Maps told me was a craft brewery.

    A few short months from now will mark the tenth anniversary of the Mill Street Brewery, which opened in Toronto in December 2002, and your humble narrator is already planning a Christmas pilgrimage back to the wellspring to suckle the divine liquid directly from the brass teats at the brew pub.

    While the most popular brews are bottled for distribution to Alberta, there are several specialty brews made available only in limited quantities right at the brew pub, so the most dedicated of beer snobs will want to make the occasional visit straight to the source.

    The surprisingly unoriginal name comes from the brewery address at 55 Mill Street in Toronto’s historic Distillery District, but there is nothing unoriginal about the beer.

    Despite being a relative newcomer to the beer scene, the Mill Street Brewery has already won Canadian Brewery Of The Year three times in a row from 2007-2009, and have picked up countless other local awards.

    With six different beer styles bottled for nationwide availability, and nearly a dozen more available only on tap at select locations, Mill Street has a beer for every occasion.

    Novice boozers like my paramour, who I am still trying to wean off of Coors Lite, will enjoy the Original Organic Lager, a light and refreshing German-styled Pilsner that has none of those weird flavours the beer snobs seem to always be raving about. In short, this is a good beer for the teeming millions that are currently drinking Blue or Bud.

    The Tankhouse Ale is your humble narrator’s preferred session beer. Made in the traditional English Pale Ale style, this beer has a bit of spice on the palate, with a full malty taste that is well balanced with hop bitterness. If you are drinking the same beer all night, this would be the one.

    Those who enjoy the occasional Hoegaarden or Rickards White will enjoy Mill Street’s Belgian Wit, their unique taste on the Belgian-styled wheat beer.

    Wheat beers are particularly popular in the summer months, as they generally have more flavour and aromas of fruits and spices due to the esters derived from the wheat during the fermentation process. Most wheat beers have quite low hop levels, so they are less bitter than most other styles. This allows the spice and fruit profiles of these beers to come through nicely, rather than being overpowered by the hops.

    Unfortunately, while the esters can provide for a more flavourful beer, they also tend to cause nastier hangovers, so try to enjoy your wheat beers in moderation.

    For the truly adventurous, the Coffee Porter is a darling of beer snobs everywhere, your humble narrator included.

    A jet-black beer made with real roasted coffee beans in each batch, there are aromas of dark barley malt, burnt chocolate, and even toasted bread. A full-flavoured beer that is almost thick enough to enjoy with a spoon, is best enjoyed with a chocolate dessert. The flavours are intense enough that this is a beer you will only have one of per night.

    There is only one beer in the Seasonal Sampler six-pack that your intrepid liquor reporter is not a fan of, and that is the Lemon Tea Beer.

    This beer starts as a traditional wheat beer, but is then infused with Earl Grey and Orange Pekoe teas, as well as a sugary/lemony flavour.

    This is one of those un-beerlike beers that purist snobs like your humble narrator will take no stock in.

    However, in the interest of fairness, the Mill Street offering is much more flavourful than the bandwagon-jumping Coors Lite Iced T, which has either the most unintentionally awful or intentionally genius acronyms ever devised by the megabrew marketroids.

    So, the next time you are browsing the rows at your local beer store, take home a Mill Street Seasonal Sampler box to broaden your beer horizons!