November 27, 2017
By: Jordan Randell
After opening in the summer of last year, Mill Street’s Brew Pub has quickly become a frequent destination for St. John’s growing population of craft beer drinkers. With constantly rotating taps, loads of interesting, quality local beers, and the cheapest growlers in the city, they’ve already made a good name for themselves, and even better beer.
Mill Street’s Brew Pub resides in the building that used to house The Keg and has already been racking up awards and achievements. The most notable of these came from a beer produced using a recipe created by Alexis Wagner, the original Head Brewer for Mill Street St. John’s. Her beer, Jigger’s Delight, a California Common, won gold this year in the Canadian Division of the World Beer Awards. Originally only available in the Mill St. Summer Seasonal packs, the brewpub is now selling Jigger’s Delight 6-packs out of their retail store, so I decided to pick one up and see what makes this beer so outstanding.
Before I get into the nuances of the flavour of the beer itself, I think it’s important to provide a bit of background knowledge on what a California Common is. Originally known as a “steam beer,” the California Common is brewed using a technique from the Golden State dating back to the mid-19th century. The lager yeast is fermented at warmer ale yeast temperatures to create an effervescent lager with deeper flavours than its more common counterparts. The name “steam beer” came from a common practise in breweries that were not able to chill the boiled wort for their beer via traditional means. The breweries would pump the hot wort up to large, shallow, open-top bins on the roof of their building, and allow the cold Pacific winds to cool it down. This lead to characteristic bellows of steam rising off the roofs of breweries during the brewing process.
Jigger’s Delight definitely lives up to its bubbly ancestors, since as soon as I popped the cap off the first bottle, a thick foam started to slowly make its way up past the lip of the bottle. California Commons were originally brewed as cheap, low-quality beer, so Jigger’s Delight tends to lean towards the lighter flavour profiles of our much adored, and consumed, domestic beers like Blue Star and India. This is by no means negative, as Jigger’s Delight rounds out its flavour with a nice touch of sweetness from the malted barley. Followed by a welcome touch of hops at the end, this beer certainly feels like an improvement upon the already tried-and-true lager formula. If you’re down in the harbour front area, whether for a walk, a bite to eat, or maybe you’re already heading in to Mill St. to fill up your growler, pick up a half case. Even the least adventurous of beer drinkers likely won’t be disappointed. The 6-packs can also be purchased at most of the larger NLC’s in the greater St. John’s area.