Mill Street comes out with seasonals down at the brewpub all the time: Vanilla Porter, Scotch Ale, Roggenbier, Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale, Milk Stout, Oktoberfest Marzen, Rauchbier and more. Their brewpub allows them to experiment with recipes, going from kettle to keg to the draught lines, getting them into the hands of patrons at the pub in the Distillery District in a timely manner.
The dedicated crowd who frequent the brewpub on a regular basis usually do good work polishing off each product in a short amount of time. Thankfully Mill Street also has an excellent on-site retail store that allow individuals to purchase growlers, and many of these seasonal offerings mentioned above find their way to the fridge. Which is how I came across their latest batch - Father John's ESB, a beer that is close to heart of Mill Street's Brewmaster's.
"This is a beer that I last brewed in March, 1991 to give to Lisa’s (his wife) step-father, John Cooper who was a publican in the English Midlands (I think it was a Bank’s Brewery pub) but he originated in Devon on the south coast, so I made a beer in the style of his home county," stated Joel Manning.
"His quote to Lisa when she took it to him and he tried it was “Cor! THAT’S a beer a man can take his coat off to!” meaning of course that you can settle in and session this beer which is exactly what John Cooper then did. John used to call to Lisa’s English cocker spaniel named Billy by slapping his knees and yelling “Come to Father John, Billy! Come to Father John!” Thus the name of the beer. I married Lisa 5 months later. Dismissed as co-incidence? I don’t think so…"
The 6.3% ESB pours a bright cooper with a creamy froth of head that sticks around for most of the pint. The nose picks up notes of slightly roasted malt, a touch of nut, some sweet fruity esters and a very slight whiff of earthy hops. The first thing I pick up on palate is a nice balance between the malt and the every so slightly spicy hop bite. A little nutty up front, more of those fruity esters in the middle, it finishes with a subtle bitterness. The 6.3% is a little deceiving, as the medium bodied ESB goes down very smooth and traces of alcohol are well hidden within the malt profile, it makes for a session, but you have to pace yourself.
On tap down at the brewpub. Check in with the retail store in advance to see if they have more growlers available.
"...it is by far the most “Manning-esque” beer I have brewed since coming to Mill Street 5 years ago," said Manning. "