Mississauga has only one brewery, but it is nationally recognized, award winning, and despite a sub-zero brewing process, heartwarming. Old Credit Brewery has quietly been one of the greatest success stories of this city, and has produced a consistent product for over 20 years.
Aldo Lista, owner of Old Credit Brewery, knew he had to be unique to be successful. The type of unique Aldo chose to be was based on quality. Old Credit brewery uses a complicated and lengthy brewing process to create a smooth, flavourful and clean tasting drink.
“What we do in here, we do an ice beer. To give you an idea, the normal beer like the other "big breweries" is done in one week. A premium beer is done in three weeks. Our beer takes three months.”
This long process has numerous benefits. The fermentation process at Old Credit takes 18 days as opposed to 48 hours, which eliminates the sugars in the beer. Aldo describes the CO2 as the scapegoat for bloating and headaches, when the real perpetrator is sugars.
After fermenting the beer goes through a maturation process, which lasts eight weeks. The temperature must be kept at a steady -3.5 degrees Celsius to achieve a smooth, crisp, light beer. Special layered tanks keep the beer from freezing solid while maturing at a temperature below freezing.
Aldo doesn’t pasteurize his beer because it would reverse all the work of the ice-aging process.
“When you pasteurize, you re-boil your beer again. All the good inside the beer is all dead, gone.”
Filtration is another critical event in the creation of the beer. Old Credit uses a filtration process that is so fine that it eliminates anything unwanted from the beer on a molecular level, without undressing the beer itself.
After filtration comes the CO2 insertion, then the bottling, then the drinking.
Old Credit Brewery produces three beers: Amber Ale, their first born; Pale Pilsner, the middle child; and Holiday Honey, the baby of the family. Each one has a distinct intention upon creation.
The youngest of the batch, the Holiday Honey, was only recently made a full time brew from a holiday seasonal. This beer is made with with Billy Bee Honey to add a surprising sweetness. Owner Aldo Lista describes the beer as a gift to their customers.
“People say a lot of things about this beer. They say they sleep much better, they’re more energetic, they feel up all the time,” said Aldo.
Pale Pilsner, the second oldest, is a clean drinking pilsner that is simply really good. There isn’t any one thing extraordinarily special about this beer, other than you can hardly believe you are drinking a beer. As any middle child, this beer is adaptable to any drinking environment.
The eldest brew, Amber Ale, is like any stereotypical firstborn. This beer likes to stake a claim to it’s fame, but also understands that it has its place among this family. A beer that is full of flavor without any lingering aftertaste is a rare combination. Ice aging does this full bodied beer many favours, and it pays off in the end.
Old Credit Brewery sets itself apart from breweries of today by making only the three types of beers. Most breweries dabble in all sorts of styles and alcohol percentages.
“We are not making 13, 14 different beers. We only make three beers and that’s it,” Aldo said, adding that 5% is what the majority of beer drinkers want. Too high and the brew comes close to wine, while too little sacrifices fullness and taste.
Old Credit Brewery has a new development in the works as well - a canning machine. Up until lately they have been strictly a bottled brew, but have been working on canning their product to extend their reach, as well as their market. It would be another gift to the consumers for Old Credit to package their product in cans, because those who don’t buy bottles need to taste this homegrown, unique beer.
Remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare, where slow and steady prevailed. For our local brew master, Aldo, he knows great things take time. And with the strong support of both loyal and new customers, they know it too.