Welcome to the Boston Better Beer Bureau, our latest incarnation of the trusty suds reporting we’ve done at DigBoston ever since people referred to beer as suds. Really, we remember the days when we’d spend half our checks on fancy German bottles just so that we could review them, whereas these days breweries from all around New England kindly send us samplers and stay in touch. The BBBB is a new attempt to return that love, all while sharing more news about the innumerable microbreweries and pubs among us.
Holy crap Collective Arts, that’s one seriously hot set of cans.
I’ve seen them on the shelf over the years, ogled the unique decor, and even sipped some of this sunshine (on occasions when I wasn’t in the mood to jot down notes and crank out a review), but I am mighty glad that we are finally making this formal. For they are truly among the standouts of late.
Specifically, I’m talking about Ransack the Universe India Pale Ale by Collective Arts. I’ve also enjoyed the Ontario brewery’s Life In The Clouds New England-style IPA, which floats perfectly somewhere between the better bitter brews and those that abut the beefier borderline, and it’s phenomenal, a rare demonstration of balance in this world of hop overdoses. As is the brewery’s IPA No. 7, which is tropical without being too fruity, and hazy sans the sandy.
Of the lot, however, Ransack is the winner.
With Galaxy and bright Mosaic hops for taste and sniff-worthiness, these yellow-canned West Coast-style IPAs hit multiple high notes. It’s wholly satisfying without the unnecessary thickness that sticks in your throat with comparable selections, and light enough to slug through an entire four-pack at the same speed that your uncle chugs a Silver Bullet sixer. Fresh product that it is, Collective Arts selections may sip slightly different from season to season and city to city, but the cans we sampled were as smooth and sublime as the illustrated snake painted by Sarah Shook that’s wrapped around some cans. (Each artistic specimen has a suggested soundtrack as well, which in our case was the song “Years” by one Sarah Shook and her North Carolina band the Disarmers).
So, why am I sucking up to this particular Canadian export? Simple, Collective Arts is that superb. And we’re seeing it show up in more and more cold cases, even in average stores that don’t often skew higher end. Compared to Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing and some other brands making a splash around here, the Ransack brewers are in a class all their own. And they give a damn about New England as well; as Brewbound reported in 2016:
Collective Arts expansion into New England is a big and exciting step for these craft brewers from north of the 49th parallel. They are hiring a local team and have partnered with the Craft Brewers Guild across New England … Also, they have recently launched a Call for Art with a focus on artists and urban art from the North East. Collective Arts will be launching with a portfolio of eight beers, with a series of launch events that are listed on Collective Arts website.
While the aforementioned excerpt sounds like the sort of sentiment that looks good in a press release but ultimately amounts to empty promises to artists, Collective Arts has followed through, pumping resources (and great beer) into Greater Boston’s ecosystem; some of the illustrations found on Ransack cans actually came from an open call for artwork at the 2018 Boston Tattoo Convention. So while we may typically limit our coverage to New England beers, if these Canadians keep showing that they care about the Commonwealth and its creatives, we’re thrilled to swallow anything they’re pouring.