Toronto trip, day 2: Saturday, June 2, 2007

Worked all day. Upon exiting the convention center, I noticed a brick building with Steam Whistle Brewing Steam Whistlein big letters. Brewing? Hmm, that’s not one of the ones on my list. Let’s go check it out. I dragged two coworkers along. We walked into the crowded doorway and were handed 2 tasting tickets. Walked up to the bar and were given 2 plastic cups of Steam Whistle, Canada’s Premium Pilsner. They went down easy enough – a smooth, refreshing pilsner, and were on our way back to the hotel to change for dinner (group dinner: excellent steak, but alas, no decent beer).

After dinner, I headed to the distillery district and Mill Street Brewpub. There was a line to get a table, but plenty of seats at the bar. The bartender gave me a small sample of their kriek in a small plastic cup as I sat down. They don’t have a sampler, but the bartender was generous with the samples after I asked (in glass, instead of plastic). I had 11 drafts and 1 cask. I’ll highlight some of my favorites: the Tankhouse Ale was light amber and clear, with a floral, orange blossom, citrus aroma and the same flavor and a nice biscuity maltiness to back it up. The Coffee Porter was a dark brown, with a huge tight tan head, roasted coffee predominating in the nose, excellent roasted coffee tones, bittering slightly at the end, with a sweet maltiness underlying and rounding out the flavor profile. I found the Mill Street Pilsner to have a clean, grainy sweet aroma, same in the flavor with a bit of hop spice, a well-balanced pilsner. The ESB had biscuity maltiness in the aroma, with some herbal hoppiness as well. It was light-bodied, with a nice biscuity maltiness, bittering nicely at the end, quite balanced, with some clean sweetness. Their lightest offering is the Original Organic Lager, which I think is very cool – at least the light beer crowd is drinking organic at Mill Street. Mill Street barThe wood bar at Mill St seats about 13, set in a large lofty brick space. The brewing equipment is in a glassed-off area in the middle of the room, hockey was playing on the 2 flat screens in the bar area, with several more flat screens scattered throughout the restaurant. Pop music from the 60s to now was playing, and the lighting is diverse and relaxed. There’s also a retail store where you can buy beer and schwag. A comfortable place. And the Distillery District is very cool – lots of shops, galleries, restaurants, etc in a historic and interesting location.

Steam Whistle Brewing
The Roundhouse
255 Bremner Blvd
nearest station: Union, walk west on Front St, south on York, west on Bremner. You’ll see the Roundhouse at the end of the park.
Open noon-6 pm Monday-Saturday, noon-5 on Sunday

Mill Street Brewpub
55 Mill St, Bldg 63
Directions to the Distillery District can be found on their website.

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