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COLLECTIVE ARTS BREWING, RANSACK THE UNIVERSE

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Like a lot of people, I had to learn to love India Pale Ales.

IPAs, the best-selling style of craft beer brewed in North America, are bitter and demanding at first blush. There’s a reason why my wife acts like she’s had a mouthful of cough syrup whenever she drinks one.

But it’s that robustness and boldness that what makes the style so beloved. And once you get used that stronger taste, and the world of flavour that comes with an IPA, it’s hard to go back to anything else.

Luckily for us, there’s no shortage of Ontario brewers who offer up excellent examples of the heavily-hopped IPA style. For my money, one of the best is Collective Arts’ Ransack the Universe IPA out of Hamilton.

Weighing in at 6.8 ABV and a hefty 85 IBUs, this IPA is a surprisingly drinkable, hazy orange brew. The smell is one of the best features of an IPA, and this offering from Collective Arts – already turning heads for their label collaborations with emerging artists – doesn’t disappoint with aromas of nectarines, apricots and something close to peaches.

The first sip starts almost sweet, and grows bitter. But a tropical citrus and pine tang cut down the hops from being overwhelming, resulting in a nicely balanced IPA. A great place to start if you’re looking for an introduction to the style.

What the brewery says:

“Galaxy hops from Myrtleford, Victoria in Australia and Mosaic hops from Yakima, Washington, USA, deliver aromas and flavours of tropical fruits, mango and citrus. Light malt body lets the hops shine through, and finishes crisp but not bitter. A hemispheric hop mashup.”