Mill Street's Facebook page was building up a buzz around the Ottawa pub's upcoming seasonal: a cherry ale. The only thing that was missing was a name for this new brew.
Being a regular of their pub (they sometimes refer to me as their in-house writer), I would sit with head brewer, Adam Rader, and share in his excitement for this beer. Eighty kilos of frozen, sour cherries were added to the mash. Fourty percent of the brew would be wheat malt. And, with many of Adam's creations, it was going to be a strong beer.
Nineteen kegs of this ale were created, and I wouldn't be surprised if it went fast.
Big Red Cherry Wheat Ale (7% ABV)Appearance: crimson red with copper highlights and a pinkish-beige head that dissipates quickly.
Mill Street Brew Pub
Beer O'Clock rating: 4.5
Nose: as Adam pointed out, the initial scent is reminiscent of what you get when you open a fresh package of Twizzlers red licorice. I found it also made me think of cherry cola: there was a sweet, intense fruitiness to the bouquet.
Palate: a definite sour cherry that coated the tongue and held on for a full, dry finish. There is no sweetness in the mouth, but there is intense fruit.
Overall impression: although I'm not generally one for fruit-infused beer, I love the flavour in this ale. This is a well-balanced, full bodied beer that would be perfect for patio season. It's a keeper beer, even though it won't last long in the pub and won't return again for some time.
But you will be counting the days for when it does come back.
Why do I not give this ale a perfect score? I'd like to say it's because of the name. When Mill Street started a contest where fans would suggest names on their Facebook page, I offered Adam my suggestion: Cherry Blossom. I thought it would coincide with the time of year, when cherry trees are not far from blooming. I posted my suggestion on their page, and judging by the other entries, I felt my name was a sure thing.
Big Red? Really?
I love the beer: hate the name.
Get some while you can. Cheers!