Vacay.ca Food Columnist
OTTAWA — The Mill St. Brewery has been an installment in Toronto’s Distillery District for 10 years now, and what better way to celebrate a decade of great beer than by opening a brand spanking new Mill St. Brew Pub in Ottawa?
Towards the end of my recent long weekend in Ottawa I ventured out to the former grist mill at LeBreton Flats, home to the pub. The 140-year-old building has been beautifully transformed into a fully functioning microbrewery while still maintaining the building’s historic charm.
The stone and wood exterior creates a welcoming atmosphere with a cozy bar taking up most of the back wall. From my table I could look down onto the old mill components that had been preserved in the building’s courtyard. This venue screams Mill St., inside and out.
BEER IS THE STAR ATTRACTION
Alongside the microbrewery, the new brew pub boasts a large basement kitchen that produces an abundance of tested and true “drinking food.”
Chicken wings (1 pound for $12 or 2 pounds for $20), flatbread pizza ($14-$15) and smoked chicken pot pie ($14) are just a few of the menu options. Staying for dinner? Try the Duck Confit Sandwich ($16), pulled duck confit leg meat, cranberry orange juice with baby spinach leaves or a good old Bison Burger ($15), topped with red pepper and apple relish.
The food is very good but the beer is without question the star of the show. Having trouble deciding which type you would like to try first? No problem. You can opt for a “Flight of Beer” or beer sample (6-ounce glasses for $7.12 or 9-ounce for $9.50), allowing you to choose four beers at once.
The Mill St. Brew Pub in Ottawa offers a lot of the beers you can find in Toronto or in your local beer store, but there are a few brews that are not only exclusive to Ottawa but are brewed right at Mill St. The Ambre de la Chaudiere is an amber ale served with the yeast still in it to bring out flavours of fruit and spice. The brewpub also offers its Portage Ale, whose name comes from the popular canoeing activity in Algonquin Park, and the Valley Irish Red, which is a nod to the people in the Ottawa Valley. The Portage is a twice-fermented cream ale with a crisp flavour and the Valley Irish is a traditional Irish ale with some added maple syrup to complement the caramel flavour of the beer. Cost for a pint at Mill St. will run you about $6.50.
The brewpub offers daily tours of their brewery, which takes about 15 minutes (short and sweet, but still informative).
The resident brewmaster, Adam Rader, moved to Ottawa to open up the brewpub. As the mastermind behind these new beer creations, he has made Ottawa his new home after working at the original Mill St. in Toronto for the past several years.
MORE FUN TO BREW BEER THAN COFFEE
“I started off roasting coffee in Stratford, where I’m from, but I soon discovered that brewing beer was a lot more fun and interesting than brewing coffee,” he said.
Rader was taught about the finer details of brewing beer for three years by Mike Duggan, one of the original Mill Street Brewmasters, before becoming an expert himself.
After Rader finished his last tour of the evening he joined us at our table for another pint and a quick chat. An articulate and good-natured guy, possibly the only thing Rader enjoys more than talking about his craft is … well … drinking it.
Determined to find out how the brewmaster holds up against a Cape Bretoner like me, I challenged him to a chugging competition.
He accepted. I lost. But I really enjoyed my night at the new Mill Street Brew Pub in Ottawa.
MORE ABOUT MILL STREET BREWPUB
Location: 555 Wellington St., Ottawa ON
For reservations or brewery tour inquiries call: 613-567-2337
Brewery Tour Schedule: Daily at 5 pm and 5:30 pm
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Tuesday: 11 am-10 pm
Wednesday-Thursday: 11 am-12 am
Friday: 11 am-2 am
Saturday: 10:30 am-2 am
Sunday: 10:30 am-10 pm