Review from the archives: Mill Street 100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager

Originally posted in the Brandon Sun back in February.

Toronto’s Mill Street Brewing was one of the first breweries to ship their beer to Manitoba when the craft beer craze was slowly becoming popular back around 2007. For the past 8 years, it was fairly easy to find their Coffee Porter, Tankhouse Ale and Organic Lager at just about any local Liquormart or beer vendor. However, in that time, Mill Street has branched out into one of Canada’s most popular brands in the beer scene. They have a very popular chain of brewpubs in Ontario and the brewery itself brews more beer than most other breweries in Canada now. They’ve become a Canadian success story.

8 years is a long time to wait for a new product from an established brand to arrive in Manitoba. So when they brought in four new (to Manitoba) beers to Liquormart and beer vendor shelves, of course it’s a great time to try them all! The new arrivals include Cobblestone Stout, Lemon Tea Ale, Vanilla Porter and 100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager. Being in Brandon after all, a place that’s right along the edge of the 100th Meridian, it only made sense to try the 100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager. 

The first thing that caught my eye about the beer was the label, a painted label with a sketch of a golden fields, bright sky and a grain elevator popping up from nowhere, your typical prairie sight. 100th Meridian pours a colourful golden straw lager with a good amount of bubbly carbonation that’s quite reminiscent to your standard prairie influenced pilsners & lagers. There’s a tad bit of snowy froth on top that’s sticking to the side of the glassware, so this looks like your classic craft brewery take on a Canadian lager.

The aroma has notes of barley, lots of sweet malted barley, a bit of lemon peel, very lightly hopped with a hint of alfalfa aroma to give it a light bitterness in the profile. This is quite a grassy lager, which is comparable to most microbrewed lagers, pilsners out there like Farmery or Steam Whistle.

This is a sweet lager, with a taste of orange peel, a bit of a caramel maltiness showing up, notes of lightly toasted organic Canadian prairie barley, a light sprinkling of Cascade hops to give it a bit of a grassy alfalfa aftertaste to it, but not so much that it tastes like you’re drinking plants. A malt forward lager rather than a hop forward lager, which may be too much for some, but a welcome change for others. I like this as it’s very smooth on the tongue, a great balance of hops, toasty & sweet malted barley, an amount of graininess that reminds me of cleaning grain bins as a child and it doesn’t have a lingering corn taste to it, which a lot of the top lagers seem to have - in order to keep costs to a minimum.

I’m not a lager fan, but this was actually a very solid lager by the folks at Mill Street, and not only that - it’s an organic lager too! This isn’t Mill Street’s only organic beer available here either - they have an Original Organic Lager that’s been available here for several years now, though I found it a bit too skunky for my liking.  For a beer named after a geographic point that involves Brandon, this is the best “Brandon themed” beer I’ve had yet - Sorry, Big Rock’s Assiniboine Lager - you were pretty bad. 100th Meridian Amber Lager looks like your classic Canadian lager, but sure enough tastes more like an amber lager.

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