I’m on what seems to be a neverending search for a live-music venue with good beer. Concert halls are even worse than fine-dining restaurant when it comes to treating beer as an easy opportunity to make a quick buck (or free patio umbrella).
Massey Hall did a decent job, until they closed for renovations, by carrying Great Lakes’ Canuck. It’s a very good pale ale but was lonely in an otherwise watery lineup.
Hamilton’s Collective Arts has taken a supply-side approach to this problem. Their new Audio/Visual lager is designed to be “the ideal beer for concerts, green rooms, backyards or wherever you tune in.” Naturally, Audio/Visual also includes an artist collaboration for the label with an added twist. This time, they’ve brought musicians and a record label on board.
The idea is that each quarter will bring a new record label and roster of musicians to the can labels and that will help us discover emerging talent. And, of course, there’s a Spotify playlist for the music from the first four featured artists.
After all that fanfare, it feels a bit underwhelming to say that I really enjoyed the sample Collective sent me. This brightly clear, pale gold lager is no pushover. Pilsner malt and brown rice combine for a toasted cracker flavour picked up by the grassy, citrus notes from the wai-iti hops. If it weren’t for the lime zest I get on the nose, I’d say this almost veers into Czech pilsner territory.
I hope Audio/Visual matures into a standby for live-music venues. Speaking of which, early bird tickets for the 2020 edition of Collective Arts Fest are on sale already.