With so much happening in the brewing scene in Ontario, it’s often difficult to find a “thing” to be known for. And even if you do, you then need to make sure that you’re being authentic. And that your beer is good. Oops, still being authentic? Collective Arts does all of this well. If you don’t know them, they bend multiple art mediums and brewing into the same realm. Their labels all feature seasonally curated, beautiful works of visual art (launch party for the next series is coming up, May 14th! Details here). They host events in galleries. They sponsor the Black Box series on Indie88. And working with brewmaster extraordinaire Ryan Morrow (also of Nickel Brook), they produce a line of fantastic beers. They have their beers in bars across the city, at the LCBO, Loblaws (yes!) and for sale at their fantastic new brewing space in Hamilton. Stranger Than Fiction porter has been around for a while now, but I confess, this is my first crack at it. So let’s get this thing going!
From a 473ml tallboy, Stranger Than Fiction pours a solid opaque black with glimmers of copper at the edges, with a 1/2″ khaki head. Big roasty malts show on the nose, chocolate, molasses, and a touch of espresso. There is a bit of a bready yeasty note, and a touch of herbal hops and grass show as well. Taste on the palate is more towards the coffee side of the scale, now with a hint of smoke. There is still some chocolatey sweetness, adding a richness to the smooth body of the beer. Hops are still present, but in a very supporting role, drying things out a bit, and still adding just a little herbal layer to the profile. There is just a touch of a fruity bready yeast taste that pops up towards the back of my palate, which is lovely. Between the hops and the bitterness from the blackened malts, the finish is super clean and dry, with just a touch of coffee and smoke lingering. This is a rock-solid porter, complex enough to sip and ponder, sturdy enough to accompany your oysters on the half, and clean enough to get through a few in a session.
Awesome work, Collective Arts!
Buy Stranger Than Fiction Porter
Available in bottles and tall cans at the LCBO, The Beer Store, grocery stores and the brewery, and on tap at bars around the GTHA.
Drink This With
Oysters! Smooth and just a litter bitter with some smoke, it would juxtapose against the briny, slightly sweet molluscs. For cheese, I would recommend a medium Gouda. That little pop of yeast would bring out a lot of the complexity from the cheese, and the fattiness would stand well against the dry/bitterness of the beer.
About Collective Arts Brewing
We are a grassroots beer company fusing the craft of brewing with the inspired talents of emerging artists & musicians. Our brewery is dedicated to promoting artists and raising creative consciousness through the sociability of craft beer.