|Look! We've even got balloons! (Photo by Ross Brown)|
My tweeted response: #oops #donttellher
Luckily, nothing went amiss - and I learned just how fun it can be to talk to strangers. And how quickly they can become friends.
The Ottawa branch of the famous Toronto brewery has been packed and hopping ever since it opened in January of this year. Reservations are near-impossible to get, unless you plan a good month or two in advance. Now that I've been, it's easy to see why it's so popular. A lovingly restored old mill, original stone exterior with a sleek, modernized interior; a focused menu of drool-inducing, upscale and imaginative pub fare; and really, really, really good beer. Pungent aromas of hops and kitchen doings greet you at the door, as do the smiling, friendly staff.
|Pulled pork carnitas with Portage Ale|
I grabbed a pint of Portage Ale at the bar and spent a few minutes tweeting my impressions until I was told others in the group had arrived. Ross Brown, a writer/novelist and host of the 'tweetup,' chaired the informal gathering of public servants, bloggers, academics, parents, a photographer and a former teacher (all of us wearing those same hats interchangeably, of course.) He twirped and chirped from his iPad while we all drank, ate, drank some more, ate some more and got to know each other.
Ever adventurous, I ordered a flight of 4oz samples to sip with the Carnot's, nachos and chicken poutine that circulated around the table. It's just like a flight of wine: start light and go dark, see what flavours match with which food. I started with Mill Street's seasonal Lemon Tea, refreshing with its citrus notes and backed by brewed tea tannins. Next came the Helles Bock, a German-style beer a little heavier on the malt, followed by the limited-time-only Paradise American IPA, which was hoppy and woodsy. (You will remember that I have no experience describing beers, so I'll admit to totally cribbing the notes off of Mill Street's online beer listing.)
|Dolce Vita choco-coffee cake|
Beer, much like wine, is best consumed in good company. Mere hours before the event, we didn't know each other. But by the end of the night, with many laughs and stories shared, new friendships were forged. We raised a glass on the success of the "tweetup" and departed with a promise to meet again for the next one.
So your mom may still suggest you refrain from talking to strangers, but as @bs_ottawa put it, "If we are all drinking beer (together), we can't be all that strange!"
Follow #MillStreetTweetup and @MillStrBrewPubOT for future Twitter (and non-Twitter) events at their Lebreton Flats location.
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