They say that presentation is everything. Most people would agree that if something looks good, it usually is good. But how you present, shouldn’t be all you're striving for. There has to be a solid base to back up a great presentation, a real dedication to the product you’re putting forth. Presentation can be everything, but shouldn’t be the only thing.
I recently had an opportunity to drop in at the Mill Street Brew Pub Ottawa. I had been there before but this time I went with the express intention of stopping to smell the roses. I think the first two times I went I was so awe struck by the place I didn’t take the opportunity to really enjoy it. This is an establishment that takes the precepts of great presentation to new heights. The Brew Pub opened this year, in what was once a pulp mill, just off the Ottawa River. It’s a fantastic location and a beautiful building. I am a fairly big Mill Street fan and was very pleased to hear they had opened up an establishment in Ottawa. It’s a nice blend of rustic and modern inside, and has a serious cool factor about it. There is a fantastic glass enclosure in the center of the building where you can see the burnished steel of the brew house and admire the several gleaming vats of their in-house brewing operations. The menu is fairly standard pub food with a few stand outs like pulled chicken poutine, port steak salad and brewery tourtiere. All the menu items are prepared with Mill Street beer so they do try their best to sew it all together. The wait staff were helpful and courteous and did try to help me out with my beer choices, though suggesting the seasonal offerings seemed to be their “go to” when making suggestions. As some of you may know by now, beer is my major concern, so I took a moment away from my musings on the establishments other offerings and got down to beer business. I studied their beer list and was frankly a little underwhelmed. I didn’t see anything that really got my beer brain excited. When coming to a destination spot, like a brew Pub, I’m often looking for, and expecting, something special. I want something I can’t get at the LCBO. I want something that peaks my curiosity, something unique. Sadly, in this case, I found nothing to stimulate my barley senses. I settled on their seasonal Frambozen and found it decent but unmemorable (I’ll let the boys who do the beer reviews give you the skinny on this). After the Frambozen I decided to mix things up, literally, and ordered a flight. The flight was reasonably priced and allowed me to give a few old favourites a run around my taste buds. I should point out that the Ottawa Mill Street Brew Pub does brew 3 Ottawa specific beers: Amber de la Chaudiere, Irish Valley Red and Portage Ale. These have all been available in mixer packs at the LCBO from time to time. The Amber de la Chaudiere is quite good, with great flavour but the other two did not register on my “gotta have it” list. I was thoroughly disappointed to find out they did not have their new Brown Ale on tap as I had tried it at another Ottawa establishment earlier in the week and loved it.
All in all, once I took the time to sit back and look past all the glitter I found the Mill Street Brew Pub was trying a little too hard. They put on a good show, but couldn’t really back it up. The beer is cold, the food is decent and the service is standard, but the whole package was a bit of a let down. Sure it’s flashy and did a few things very well but I found the follow through lacking. You want to showcase what you’ve got, not gloss it over with a few fancy tricks. Mill Street is a fantastic organization and brews some of the best craft beer out there. They should focus on that, not on all the glitz and glam.
Ottawa Beer Club
A group of beer enthusiasts in the Ottawa region.
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What emotion comes to mind when you reach the bottom of the glass? Sadness because the beer is gone? Or happiness because it's time for another beer? It's hard to be a "glass half full" kinda guy when the glass is completely empty... but the prospect of another beer definitely lifts the spirits... #craftbeer #emptyglass #deepthoughts #spieglau
Finally got the chance to pop in to @straydogbrewingco here in Orleans. Beauty of a spot! Awesome taproom and of course great beer! Loving this Anytime Pale Ale, stoked to take a few home! #craftbeer #613beer
Wedding day for one of our members! With a few hours to kill between the ceremony and the reception, we figured we'd swing by @bigrigbrewery for a quick pint. Alpha Bomb is the perfect thirst quencher on this beautiful summer day! #613beer #AlphaBomb #IPA #craftbeer #ontariocraftbeer
What trip to Toronto is complete without a stop into Whitby's @5paddlesbrewing? No way would we miss out on a chance for some #craftbeer in a #canoe! Today's offerings include Canoe & Paddle Saison, Italian Backyard, Shillelagh O'Sullivan Stout, and Midnight Paddler Royal Canadian Stout.
Now departing. Stone City Ales newest selections. Nothing better on a rainy day. These beers taste like more. #craftbeer #sothirsty #beersbeersbeers
@nickelbrookbrewing's Ceres Cucumber & Lime Gose recently hit the shelves at my local LCBO, which made me happy to finally get a chance to try it out. Combining the citrus juiciness of the lime with the fresh hit of cucumber into this saline sour style of beer works really well. All three aspects come together to create a highly refreshing summer sipper! Nickelbrook keeps bringing it with their sours, first with their Raspberry Uber, and now this beauty! Can't wait to see what they're brewing up next! -James #craftbeer #ontariocraftbeer #gose #sour #cucumber #lime #ceres #lcbo
@greatlakesbeer tap takeover @brosbeerbistro Who doesn't want to crush some delicious beers on a Thursday! 3 flight choices? I've got performance anxiety.
So last night we hit up @brothersbeerbistro for a few tasties. Brothers has really been bringing it with their tap and bottle lists lately, and last night was no exception! Great selection from some of Ontario's best breweries, such as @indiealehouse, @burdockonbloor, and @sawdustcitybeer. And if I can be real for a second, the Rare flight is probably the best deal in the house. I got to sample some of Indie's work with Brett, alongside @muskokabrewery's Hazed and Confused (sick name, by the way!) and @amsterdambeer's Vinifera (my fave of the night... such an interesting brew!) And of course, hanging out with Nathan at @rndbeer was also a great time! -James #ontariocraftbeer #craftbeer
@bloodbrothersbrewing - Love Trip. One of the boys in the club brought this back for me from Toronto over the weekend. Massive pine up front, smelling like freshly raked pine needles, with a sticky sap-like quality on the tongue. Mildly floral and earthy. Subtle hints of fruit. Pleasantly creamy mouthfeel, with a light lingering bitterness. Overall, this is well crafted and quite delicious. This was my first beer from Blood Brothers, and honestly, you can colour me impressed. It was thoroughly enjoyable. #craftbeer #ontariocraftbeer #ipa #lovetrip
Finally got a chance to check out @brasserieetiennebrule in Embrun. Great line up! Here's Backdraft, their Black IPA, brewed with Nelson Sauvin. Nice bitterness blended with a pleasant roasted malt characteristic. Awesome spot, and only a half hour out of town. Definitely worth a visit! #ontariocraftbeer #craftbeer #ipa #blackipa
As always, @collectivebrew kills it with their labeling! The can for "Radio the Mothership Imperial IPA" is sick! The artist featured on this is Joshua Roman, I can't wait to check out some of his other work. And the beer? Super smooth and juicy for an IIPA. Nice tropical fruit notes balanced with a nice amount of bitterness. There's a nice malt sweetness on the backend, too. Nothing too overpowering, and you can tell this is well crafted. Ideally, I would want a little more "pop" in an IIPA - where the flavour profile just jumps out and slaps you in the face, y'know? - but this is coming up on a month old... so it may have lost some of that initial boldness one would usually get. Either way, this is still fantastic and I'm glad I picked up a second to enjoy later this week! #ontariocraftbeer #imperial #ipa #iipa #craftbeer
When I see friends checking in awesome beer on @Untappd without me. #untappd #craftbeer #Logan #limo #SadWolverine
@dominioncity are makers of very good beer, and this #fidelis is no exception. Tons of fresh and floral hops. Clean finish that keeps you going back to the grumbler. #lovethisbeer #treatyourself #mustdrinkcraftbeer
Have you had this! I mean, I've always liked this beer but Holy Schnikees! This batch of @amsterdambeer Fracture is incredible. Fresh and floral. Delicious tropical fruit notes with tons of citrus put the hops front and center in this Brew. Balanced bitterness makes this beer a f*ing champ. #mustdrinkthis #howgoodisthis #beerner #ianismyhero
Stein Club @jackslansdowne enjoying a hoppy lineup from @amsterdambeer Get down here and grab your flight. Great service, great beer, good times. #boneshaker #fracture
Hey Ottawa! @amsterdambeer tap takeover @brothersbeerbistro #demonhost #XXdoubletempest If you're not here, you should be.
"Iceberg, IIPA aux Pêches" by Microbrasserie Le BockAle, out of Drummondville, Québec. I've been hearing a lot of good things about these folks, so I jumped on the opportunity to pick up one of their offerings during a recent trip to Broue Ha Ha in Gatineau. Let's just say this did not disappoint! Huge ester notes coupled with peach and tropical fruit. Juicy. Low bitterness, with just enough of a drying effect to keep you coming back for more. Peppery. Pleasant malt backbone. Well balanced. I can definitely see why people are talking about this brewery! I can't wait to try more of their offerings! Anyone have any recommendations of what else to try from them? @le_bockale #iipa #iceberg #craftbeer #quebeccraftbeer
Sometimes you just gotta pop open some @nickelbrookbrewing #KentuckyBastard and share with friends. Cheers to a beautiful February afternoon fellow beer lovers! #craftbeer #bba #russianimperialstout
Sometimes... when it's 8am and you're packaging beer... you end up having to drink some. Because... Oops! Overfill! Here's a little top-shot of @dominioncity's Sunsplit IPA. Incredibly juicy with a huge burst of tropical fruit citrus goodness. #crushable #613beer #craftbeer #sunsplit #ipa