The buzz of excited voices filled the air on Friday evening as a long line of beer-lovers waited to be let into the grand opening of Mill Street Brewpub in Ottawa.
Tucked away from the main hustle-and-bustle of downtown in the northwest corner of where Portage Bridge meets Wellington Street, the brewpub is a unique departure from the pubs that fill the Byward Market.
The brewpub’s general manager Peter Chase said the company wanted to establish itself somewhere away from the Market so as not to compete with other pubs that sell their products.
“We want to enhance the craft brewery market. We don’t want to seem invasive but we really wanted a place that stands out for us and has our own signature on it,” Chase said.
Mill Street selected the historic Thompson-Perkins Mill, a heritage building located in the LeBreton Flats area, as the site for the brewpub.
“This place had been blank, empty, for about five or six years, and we thought, you know, let’s just take a look,” Chase said. “And it just spoke to us.”
But beer-drinkers beware: the location that appears on Google Maps for 555 Wellington St., the brewpub’s address, is incorrect.
Chase said he doesn’t think the less-than-central location will mean fewer customers.
“We’re a seven-minute cab ride from the Market and a 12-minute walk to Parliament Hill. So if people want to find the place, they can and they will,” said Chase.
On the outside, the brewpub is a long, stone building with a reddish roof and grand, black double-doors. Antique-looking streetlamps scattered over the parking area give the site a warm feeling in the cold winter weather. Upon walking through the entrance, guests are greeted by massive copper tanks used to brew select beers on-site, which range from about six to eight dollars a pint.
The two-floor brewpub has an open-concept feel, with high ceilings, lots of space, and a view of the Ottawa River at the back of the room. Up to 300 people can dine and drink at Mill Street in the winter and up to 500 can be accommodated in the summer months when three patios will be opened.
There is also a small store where people can buy Mill Street beer on site.
The brewpub expansion into Ottawa marks the company’s first location outside of Toronto, where the craft brewery is based.
“Ottawa was a great fit for us because they love our brand here,” Chase said. “It was a no-brainer”
In fact, Mill Street created three beers–an Irish red ale, a cream ale, and a golden ale–that are only available at the Ottawa brewpub.
“That’s what the beers are all about. They’re so individualized,” Chase said.
–Photo courtesy of Emily