Old Credit Brewing Company in Port Credit, Ontario is owned and operated by Aldo Lista and has been making craft beer differently since 1994. Their principal distinction is that all of their beer undergoes an extended fermentation and aging in below zero degrees Celsius conditions. This ice beer treatment–Old Credit is the only ice brewer in North America–eliminates more of the beer's residual sugar and delivers a cleaner finish.
In Mike Di Caro's first installment of his map of beer styles last week he focused on lagers and while I enjoy a Creemore on the dock as much as anyone else it's the ales that I really can't wait for Mike to write about. From alt biers (like the Beau's Festivale I profiled) to India Pale Ales, to (now) Hawaiian-style Ales, it's the older category of beer that really interests me. At Old Credit they produce and Amber Ale that has many of the usual ale characteristics but with a distinct difference.
To me this beer tends more to a golden-brown amber than the red amber of some others. As I dip my nose as close to the beer as I can without covering it in suds I find a malty, honey aroma that reminds me of pancakes and syrup. Sipping, some the roasted malt notes continue backed by a mild to medium bitterness and moderate hoppiness. The mouthfeel has a very craft-beer, cask-like character to it. The beer's most remarkable characteristic, I think, is its finish. The ice brewing technique creates a clean almost sudden finish that will appeal to some but that others might find to be out-of-sync with the rest of the flavour profile.
Old Credit also makes a Pale Pilsner that shines brighter under the ice beer treatment since the style's flavours are more in line with delivering a clean finish. The brewery's third beer, a Holiday Honey, has a deeper more golden colour than would be expected and an intriguing flavour profile with the floral notes but none of the cloying sweetness that some honey beers take on. This is likely attributable to the fact the honey is added at the start of the brewing process and that the long, cold ferment eliminates almost all of the sugar.
I recently sampled the Amber Ale and matched it with an impromptu dinner of shrimp dumplings and a stir fry of mushrooms, garlic scapes, and the first Ontario zucchini. The beer's malty sweetness played very well with the salty-sourness of my stir fry's sauce and the floral notes in the glass complemented the 5-spice flavours on the plate.
The Amber Ale and Pale Pilsner are available from 47 LCBOs province-wide (928051 and 901835
Written by David Ort
As one of Spotlight’s contributing editors, David enjoys turning his mind (and keyboard) to a wide variety of topics ranging from recipes to restaurants to craft beer. When he’s not writing for Spotlight Toronto, David shares his thoughts on new restaurants and beer at PostCity.com and all things food and drink on his own site, Food With Legs.