Collective Arts makes a really engaging beer. Their bottles feature limited release artwork by curated artists, and with the help of the Blippar app, the bottles come to life. No, I haven’t had a few too many – you simply scan the label, and voila! You can hear the music and see the videos of really great artists, and check out the artists bios. Every bottle in your 6-pack comes with a different label, and the label series changes 4 times a year. Their Black Box Sessions also make a great collaboration with Indie88.

We first heard about these guys at the Ugly Sweater Christmas Party last year, and we were quick fans. They stood out in a sea of great beer and painfully hideous sweaters, and we remembered them the next time we went on a beer run. But great bottle work and innovative product aside, the beer is pretty damn awesome too. I’m a big fan of the Rhyme & Reason Extra Pale Ale, but to counterbalance some seriously spicy food, I picked up the Saint of Circumstance “Any Time” Blonde Ale. I usually prefer blonde beers during the warmer months, but this one packs enough flavour into it to hold my attention during the winter months.

Appearance: Pale yellow colour, close to apple juice. Nice head on the pour.

Aroma: Very citrusy, lots of lemon peel and orange peel aromas. A faint hops aroma.

Taste: Light and bubbly flavour. Hint of citrus on the palate, possibly lemon balm or lemon grass flavours. Very refreshing light wheat flavour.

Aftertaste: Hint of hops and caramel in the aftertaste.

Overall: Nice carbonation with a dry mouth feel. Super refreshing in warm weather. I definitely prefer the Rhyme & Reason Pale Ale, but this is a really solid blonde beer. I haven’t had any luck finding the State of Mind Session IPA in my local LCBO yet, but I’m pretty stoked to give it a try. I’d pick it up again when the summer returns, or if I’ve decided to cook up another fiery concoction. Not the first time I’ve purchased it, and definitely not the last.

Shawna O'Flaherty

Shawna is a 30-something Montreal native transplanted to Toronto in 2010. Wine loving, beer sniffing and rum swilling come naturally to her, and she is also a certified Irish whiskey taster. She has hosted beer and cheese pairing events in the past.

Shawna has visited vineyards in 6 countries on 3 continents, and has a knack for finding the hoppiest beers around.

She can be found drinking alka-seltzer and coconut water in the morning.

Email: shawna@torontoboozehound.com