The flagship beer of the Mill Street Brewery Ottawa Brewpub is a cream ale that pours a slightly pale golden colour with a frothy white head that leaves a healthy amount of lace behind as it settles and gets retained as a thin, collared cap. Portage Ale smells mostly of sweet grains, wheat and yeast. There is a strong juice-like tone that hovers between raspberry, cherry and grape, and a slight hint of alcohol on the nose.
The taste of Portage Ale is rather sweet as well, with grains making up the bulk of the body. There is a strong grassy tone, a certain grape or apple juice-like flavour, as well as subtle milk chocolate and red berry notes. The ale is medium-bodied with a high carbonation level and is quite creamy on the tongue thanks to a distinct yeast character. The finish is dry and the aftertaste has lingering yeast and raw grain tones.
The art on the tap handle of Portage Ale features the hand-painted image a man portaging a canoe near a river and a fleur-de-lis, with the name printed in a red old west-style font. The bottles or growlers you can take Portage Ale home in have an image of the brewpub itself, along with the brewery logo and brewer’s ingredient imagery. On the back, you will find a detailed description of the Ottawa brewpub.
Portage Ale is an above average, if not slightly too sweet beer that is very food-friendly and drinkable. It probably won’t turn too many heads in the craft beer community, but it won’t turn away casual beer drinkers either. It’s a safe, but tasty choice by a brewery that knows its clientèle and the beer pairs well with fried foods, salty snacks and meats that are grilled or roasted.
You can only find Portage Ale at the Mill Street Brewpub here in Ottawa, both on tap and in their retail store.
Type: Cream Ale
Region: Ontario, Ottawa
Brewery: Mill Street Brewery (Ottawa Brewpub)
Format Purchased: 750 mL / 1.89 L
Price: $8.95 / $16.50
Alcohol Content: 5.0%