Monday, November 19, 2012

Beer O'Clock: MBA and Other Rewards

I feel such a sense of accomplishment.

As many of you know, I have made Mill Street Brew Pub my second home. I try to make an appearance once a week, if not more. I have organized a few tweetups and hope to continue that tradition for as long as the brew pub allows. (I even hope to hold one in December: details will follow.) And I've attended their first Brewmaster Dinner and will be attending my second one this Thursday (and yes, I'll blog about that next week).

And, if that wasn't enough, I write many blog posts from the bar and I'm also working on the sequel to Songsaengnim from time to time.

So it is no surprise that I love that brew pub and will sing their praises every chance I get.

But last week, I earned an honour that I've been working on pretty much since I started going to that pub in January. I've earned my MBA.

Master of Beer Appreciation.

Mill Street has a loyalty program that can earn patrons swag, such as t-shirts, pint glasses, bottle openers, dinner, and more. But the grand prize is what I sought as soon as I joined the program: the right to have your name engraved and affixed to a stainless-steel keg, much like the Stanley Cup (but to me, a bigger deal).

Every time you drink a pint in the brew pub (preferably, a set number of each variety), you earn an initial on your MBA card. When you reach a certain number of pints, you earn the swag. Fill the card and you earn your MBA.

How many pints for an MBA? Eighty: eight-zero.

Now, in truth, I should have earned my MBA sooner. Many times over the months, I either forgot to bring my card, or I would bring the card but forget to present it for an initial. Sometimes, I'd remind the staff and they'd oblige. Other times, I just didn't bother.

But last Tuesday, I officially consumed my 80th pint and was able to hoist the keg on high. Not only does my name go on the keg, but a computer graphic is etched next to it, signifying me as their writer in residence. I also earned a pint glass with my name etched on the side, which I now keep there as my personal glass.

Hoisting the keg
It would be so embarrassing if I dropped that sucker
GM Peter Chase presents my name plate and personalized pint glass
I feel special. Even though my name is the 53rd on the keg. I'm in the top 100 (and I don't have a drinking problem).

My 80th pint was a special one too, and I suggest that you high-tail it to Mill Street to get some before it's gone. I'll be drinking it from my pint glass until it's done.

Which brings us to my review.
Double-Chocolate Imperial Stout
Mill Street Brew Pub
Ottawa, ON (only)
ABV: 7.6% (approx.)
This is one dark ale: so dark, in fact, that when I switched on my very powerful iTorch flashlight, no light passed through the glass. Served in a tapered glass, though, slight tones of red highlighted the edges of the glass. But this is a murky, brownish-black stout with a very creamy, dense head.

Chocolate hits you firmly on the nose, along with malts and a bit of dark-roasted coffee. In the mouth, the chocolate continues in a creaminess that coats the tongue and gives you the impression that you're drinking not beer, but a very special cocoa beverage. The malts are ever-present and the alcohol comes through in a complex and balanced finish. Though the alcohol content is high, it isn't overpowering at all. This imperial stout is perfectly put together and is possibly the best chocolate stout I've ever had.

My hat goes off and I bow to head brewer, Adam Rader. An awesome brew, my friend. On my scale of beer caps, I give the Double-Chocolate Imperial Stout a perfect 5.

As I said, this stout is made in a limited batch. Once it's gone, it will be gone for as long as a year, if not longer. Adam wants to keep this brew special.

That it is.

My thanks to the great folks at Mill Street for making my MBA celebration so special. Thanks especially to Peter, Adam, Hanna, Pete, Kyle, and Victoria.

And a special thanks to my friends, Katie and Tom, who joined me for pints 79 and 80.


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