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Mill Street Tankhouse

May 21, 2009


Mill Street’s True Franchise Beer

Anthony Says:


A few years ago, back when the Ontario microbrewery explosion was still in its infancy, I tried a Mill Street Organic on the recommendation of a friend. As with most North American style lagers, I was decidedly under whelmed; my first experience with Mill Street would be my last for some time. In fact, I didn’t sample any of their other brews until I had a pint of Tankhouse Ale on my birthday last year- purchased, no less, than by that same friend whose recommendation of Organic caused me to initially shelf Mill Street. Ironically enough, Tankhouse has since become one of my favorite Ontario craft beers.

Tankhouse pours a deep copper-red with a creamy dense head (both on tap and from the bottle) that dissipates into a layer of light froth. After an initial blast of toasted malt, Tankhouse subsides in a very nice nutty slightly caramel flavor. Cascade hops give the beer a spicy almost cinnamon like smell and a pleasantly lingering semi-bitter aftertaste. Light carbonation assures that it goes down easy and doesn’t feel as heavy as its rich color and complex aromas might suggest.

Tankhouse definitely represents a more balanced approach to the pale ale than most North-American breweries. While I have nothing against the typically hop laden varieties of American pale ale, Tankhouse is just a more versatile drinkable beer. Perhaps my favorite thing about Tankhouse is that it is equally as good on a scorching hot summer day as it is in the dead of winter. In close, I’ll never quite understand why Tankhouse takes a backseat to Organic Lager as Mill Street’s flagship brew, and judging by the ubiquity with which it can now be found on tap in Toronto, I reckon the average beer drinker shares that sentiment.



Gatlin Says:

To be honest, I’ve never spent that much time with a Tankhouse. Whenever I decided to buy Mill Street I always went with the Stock Ale (as a session beer). After trying the product again for the purpose of this review, I feel slightly regretful for ignoring it over the past couple years.

Technical Run Down:

  • Container: 341 mL brown glass bottle
  • Alcohol: 5.20% by volume, 4.16% by weight
  • Colour: 20 SRM
  • Bitterness: 43 IBU

This beer had a nice bubble-up off the pour and it felt like you could be aggressive without over-foaming. The ¾ inch snow white head reduced down to a thin, small-bubble film rather quickly. Some thin, sporadic lacing was visible.

For a pale ale this beer is quite dark in colour and almost resembles a nut brown ale with an orange hue. I suspect that the dark colour comes from the broad range of malts used in this brew. The smell up front presents a citrusy hop note with a spicy or peppery gloss. In the background the solid malty base comes through as caramelly with slight hints of wood and old leather.

Tastewise, the hops are very much present up-front. However, they lack the floral quality the citrusy smell suggests should be there. In general, there is some excellent and straightforward bitterness here. The spiciness of the Cascade hops comes through strongly, but not too overwhelmingly.

The malty base shines through the bitterness producing an excellent balance. Flavours of wood, a little smokiness and some fruit are all present. I am totally convinced that the juxtaposition of the complex malts with the ever-present bitterness is what makes this beer so drinkable (and I guarantee you it is VERY drinkable).


Some Final Thoughts

Anthony Thinks:


  • Nice balance of spicy hops and caramel malts
  • More drinkable than complex, rich nose indicates
  • Very dynamic beer- suitable for all times of year


  • Can feel a little heavy on tap
  • Spiciness of the aroma outstrips the flavor slightly
  • Perhaps too balanced?

A solid 4 star pale ale. Sufficiently flavorful and nuanced to satisfy the more discerning type, but drinkable and versatile enough for the casual beer drinker looking to sample a different brew

Gatlin Thinks:

This is a 4 star pale ale. This beer is VERY drinkable but has some complex flavours on both ends of the spectrum. Tankhouse would make an excellent purchase for a macro-lager drinker looking to branch out

So, What’s On Your Mind?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sebastian Padina permalink
    September 6, 2009 10:04 pm

    “… a macro-lager drinker looking to branch out.”

    That would be me. So, on the weight of this little review I’ve bought myself some Tankhouse Ale. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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