Collective Arts Brewing 207 Burlington Street East
Get excited – there’s a brewery in town! I’ve been a big fan of the Collective Arts brand for quite a while. Their unique, limited-edition, ever-changing labels featuring indie bands and visual artists caught my eye right away. I’ve sifted through six packs at the store to find my fave bands before deciding which case to take home, and I’ve swiped more than a few coasters in my travels. The grassroots craft brewer was founded two years ago by Matt Johnston and Bob Russell. As they say, they “founded Collective Arts Brewing on two beliefs: The first that creativity fosters creativity. And the second, that creativity yields delicious pints.”
Back in May 2014, it was announced that Collective Arts was partnering with Nickel Brook Brewing Co. to bring beer back to Hamilton. They created a new brewing facility called Arts & Science Brewing Ltd. and revealed they would be opening in Lakeport’s former space, the historic building at 201 Burlington Street East. Nickel Brook still has its storefront in Burlington, but the two brewers also now operate out of this new space in Hamilton’s north end. Collective Arts began brewing here on Fathers’ Day of this year, and opened their doors on September 1st.
Lisa and I swung by for a visit a few weeks ago to check out the space for the first time. I love the black and white mural you’re greeted with upon entering – it reminds me of the graffiti art on the wall outside of Dr. Disc. The north end is a huge residential community but it also feels nice and gritty by the brewery – true Hamilton vibes down there! Throughout our visit, lots of people popped in and out. Some wandered in for the first time to inquire about the space, and some were pros and knew exactly what they wanted. On top of being a brewery, the space is also a storefront where you can purchase that delicious beer.
First, though, we were drawn to a room of full of those famous Collective Brew bottles. There’s a bottle gallery where you can walk around and view the awesome designs of their label series. New bottles are added all the time. Collective Brew has had music and art submissions from over 40 countries so it’s really neat to see our own Hamilton talent on them too. We had fun eyeing all of the bottles and trying to spot the Hamilton bands – Thought Beneath Film, Jeremy Fisher, and Ash & Bloom were among them. Other favourites of ours that we pointed out to each other were July Talk, PUP, Stella Ella Ola, Rah Rah, and the raddest radio station, Indie88.
Then came the fun part – sampling that brew! The staff is awesome and can walk you through all of their beers. You can have a sip before deciding which one you’d like to take home. The beer comes in bottles (6, 12, 24 packs) and they’re now rolling out really beautifully designed tall cans. The cool part about being a brewery is you can also take home drafts of beer. You can get a draft poured into a Growler (1.9L) and Squeeler (1L) – reusable bottles that you can bring back. If you’re really fancy, you can even get a keg (and then invite me to that party – thanks!).
After some sampling, Lisa chose their porter Stranger Than Fiction and I went with the seasonal brew, a pumpkin sour saison, appropriately named BOO! (get it? Halloweeny!). I can’t say no to all things pumpkin.
It was nice to see my friend Dane Pedersen, part of the Collective Arts team. He was able to give us a sneak peek in the back – where the magic happens! It’s fascinating to see the mechanics of it all. In addition to the brewery, we saw where their event space is located. The 500-person capacity space will be a game changer for venues in Hamilton. We’ve needed a mid-sized venue like this and it’s exciting to think of the concerts and events to come. Learn more about Collective Arts by listening to my interview with Dane on 93.3 CFMU.
Speaking of events – coming up this weekend, you can see it for yourself. Collective Arts is throwing a huge bash this Saturday, November 14th. It’s an event in two parts:
Open House: 12-4pm
Brewery tours, beer tastings, art, local food vendors
Live music by: Sarah Burton / Bravestation / The Knads + Digits DJ set
Bash in the Brewery: 7pm-12am (19+)
Ticketed event featuring live music by Hollerado / Zeus / WTCHS / Digits DJ set
Check out more information at Collective Arts and make sure to hashtag #BEERISTHENEWSTEEL during the event!