Brew Dude: March 2, 2019

March 3, 2019 GMT

This month’s Untappd Challenge is taking us on a trip north of the border to sample some breweries churning out high-quality beer in the Great White North, as the Untappd Badge is called.

The requirements for this badge are pretty straight forward but harder to unlock than you would imagine.

There are plenty of Canadian beers you can get your hands on: Labatt, Molson and Moosehead Lager.

The other option is to load up on newcomer to the Midwest, Collective Arts, because you probably could go to Binny’s or even your local Liquor World and get five different beers from them.

I put together a list of some of the best Canadian craft beer out there and thought I would check in with someone who could speak intelligently about one of the brands. A good friend of mine, Tom White, is the Illinois sales and marketing manager for Collective Arts, so I posed him some questions about why he joined forces with this Canadian craft beer outfit.

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“Collective Arts’ beer is a rare instance where the incredible packaging matches the liquid inside,” White said. “While we are, at our roots, a brewery first, it’s grown into so much more since launching nearly six years ago. Our goal is to showcase emerging artists from all over the world by featuring their work on our ever-changing labels and other art swag.

“Not only do we use our labels as a platform for their beautiful creations, but every single artist is compensated for their work. When I first got a chance to try the beer prior to it launching in Illinois, I couldn’t get that unique combination of art plus brewing out of my head.

“When I heard they were hiring in the Chicago area, well, let’s just say I was persistent in pursuing that opportunity. It’s been a great time.”

Collective Arts has captured my attention. I actively seek out their new releases, and I have been impressed with their offerings. I am glad they are in Chicagoland now, and I will continue to recommend this brand.

I have written about Unibroue many times. I challenged readers to find a pour of La Fin Du Monde locally, take a photo, and tweet it at me. I had one entry by Andrew Stephens, who I have had several beers with since, but the giveaway did not go as I had thought.

Unibroue is in the upper echelon of what the craft beer movement has been able to capture and achieve. Unibroue makes perfectly executed Belgian-style beers that exude style and class with their auspicious labels and handles in craft beer establishments. My favorite is La Fin Du Monde because it is a perfect Belgian tripel, which is exceedingly hard to do.

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! is one of the lesser known quantities as far as Canadian craft beer goes. I have had two of their beers. I did a column some time ago about the top 100 beers of all time, and Dieu du Ciel! had those two beers on the list.

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One is their coffee imperial stout, Peche Mortel, and the other is just your run-of-the-mill stout, Aphrodite. Both were fantastic as billed, and both lived up to the hype. I never have seen them since. You can buy Peche Mortel and Aphrodite at Moreno’s Liquors in the city, which is a sort of a craft-beer destination for their wide selection.

The two most reachable of these breweries are Collective Arts, based in Hamilton, Ontario, and Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery in Barrie, Ontario.

Unibroue is more of a plane ride away in Chambly, Quebec. Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! is in Montreal.

Collective Arts: IPA No. 8 from Collective Arts Brewing

ABV: 8 percent

IBUs: N/A

Style: IPA – Double/Imperial

Notes: A cloudy, bright pour and intense fruit, dank citrus and pine notes.

Where to Buy: Available in 16-ounce, four-pack cans at The Open Bottle in Tinley Park for $15.99.

Collective Arts: Pineapple Tepache Berliner from Collective Arts Brewing

ABV: 5 percent

IBUs: 12

Style: Sour Ale

Notes: Pineapple puree paired with cinnamon and daemarara sugar to create a fruity, spicy, lightly tart brew.

Where to Buy: You can find this one in 16-ounce, four-pack cans at The Open Bottle in Tinley Park for $15.99.

La Fin De Monde from Unibroue

ABV: 9 percent

IBUs: 19

Style: Belgian Style Tripel

Notes: An exquisitely robust flavor of exceptional refinement.

Where to Buy: Available in 12-ounce, four-pack bottles at Liquor World for $10.99.

Peche Mortel from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

ABV: 9.5 percent

IBUs: 76

Style: Imperial Coffee Stout

Notes: Very pronounced roasted flavors. Coffee is infused during the brewing process intensifying the bitterness of the beer and giving it a powerful coffee taste.

Where to Buy: Moreno Liquors in Chicago in 12-ounce bottles for $5.49.

Chocolate Manifesto from Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

ABV: 12.4 percent

IBUs: N/A

Style: Imperial Stout

Notes: The heavenly body of a Milk Stout and the indulgence we crave in chocolate.

Where to Buy: You can find this beer at Binny’ s Beverage Depot in Mokena in 25.4-ounce bottles for $12.99.