In 1985, there were 10 breweries in Canada—and three companies owned those 10 breweries. In 2019, according to Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB), there were an astounding 276 craft breweries across Ontario alone, with 80 plus more breweries in the planning stages. Lucky us!
Seems like everyone who’s anyone is enjoying select reserves of craft beer from all over the world, and our local contribution to this hot trend rivals anything coming from more established, more sophisticated brewing locales.
So what’s the definition of craft beer? A craft brewery or microbrewery produces small amounts of this golden elixir, typically much smaller than large-scale corporate breweries, and is independently owned. Such breweries are generally characterized by their emphasis on quality, flavour, and brewing technique.
We have two great breweries right here in Mississauga (although, with our status as 6th largest city in Canada, we could support a few more! Future brewers, take note) and many more nearby.
And whether you fancy your souvenir tasting glass filled with a Pale Ale, Porter, India Pale Ale, Wheat Beer or a Hybrid—or have no idea but just adore the taste of a great beer—odds are you’ll find something new and different to try during the first Mississauga Creative Craft Beer Festival, taking place March 27 and 28 at the historic Small Arms Building. “It’s a great opportunity to discover the delights of various small-batch brews,” says event producer Becky Seath. “We’ve got some really exciting beers from some relatively new brewmasters. For example, we’re pleased to welcome Camaraderie Brewing Co., out of Barrie. They began as home brewers and recently perfected their flagship California Common Ale. We love stories like that!”
The first of its kind in Mississauga, the two-day Festival is being organized by Creative Hub 1352 to showcase and celebrate the artistry that is craft beer. Local food vendors will provide perfectly paired fare, and all proceeds from ticket sales go back out into the community.
Get your feet wet as you start to learn about key beer ingredients, the senses you use when tasting beer, tips for getting the most out of your beer and the essential characteristics that help define and differentiate beer styles.“There’s lots to discover when you open the door to the world of craft beer,” says Sharmila Setaram, Festival volunteer and self-described beer aficianado. “The flavour combinations are endless!”
Our very own Old Credit Brewing Company and ‘new kid on the block’ Stonehooker Brewing Co. will be represented at the Small Arms Building. Here’s a little more about them:
The OG Old Credit Brewing Company
They’ve been doing it right for more than 40 years. In the early 80s, Aldo Lista started a brewery in Port Credit with a simple philosophy: make great beer. After a few false starts, in 1994, Lista found his missing ingredient: highly skilled brewmaster Orrin Besko, who wanted to implement a unique process called ice aging. The legendary Old Credit Amber Ale was created, and although the family had only planned to brew one beer, the Pale Pilsner and Holiday Honey were eventually added to their menu. Besko has since passed away but is not forgotten. According to lore, his palette was so refined, one sniff of a brew would tell him if the batch would be okay.
LLM pick: the classic Old Credit Amber Ale
The new kid Stonehooker Brewing Co.
Although this company recently joined the ranks of Ontario breweries, the stonehooker story began long ago. 19th-century Port Credit was a hub for stonehooking, which employed men to gather stone slabs from the shallow shores of Lake Ontario. Evidence of these hardy mariners shows them having a fairly balanced lifestyle for their time—they were hardworking day-sailors who, upon their return home, loved to enjoy a pint in a local tavern. Today, in that same spirit of hospitality, Stonehooker invites guests into their taproom to enjoy some delicious beers and good old-fashioned camaraderie.
LLM pick: Tattle Tale lager
By Kristy Elik
Old Port Credit Brewing
Stonehooker Brewing Company
Ontario Craft Brewers