A Drink With

Ryan Morrow Brewmaster at Arts and Science Brewing

How do you quench a thirst for discovery? Brew for two brands and get big into collaboration.

Arts and Science Brewing in Hamilton is the 50,000-square-foot love child of Nickel Brook and Collective Arts, the new space where two local craft brewers have set up shop with brewmaster Ryan Morrow. Morrow talked to us about the new digs and his creative process.


LCBO: Both Collective Arts and Nickel Brook do plenty of hop-focused brews. Being the brewmaster for both, how do you make sure the beers are distinct?

RYAN MORROW: The initial process of coming up with the beers for each brewery is different. At Nickel Brook, I get to come up with the beer idea, then get approval from the owners, but the Collective Arts team will tell me what beer style they want and I’ll come up with a recipe for that style. I want my beers to be separate and distinct, so I’ll use different ingredients for the same beer style.


LCBO: What’s going to happen to the Burlington brewery where Nickel Brook used to brew?

RYAN MORROW: We’ll brew our core beers from the new Hamilton brewery. It’s not decided yet, but there’s a chance our Burlington brewery will be dedicated to experimental sour and funky beer.  The main reason for having a separate brewing facility for sours is to reduce the risk of cross-contamination from microbes and wild yeasts.


LCBO: There are so many new hop varieties and yeast strains coming out — how does this influence your brewing? 

RYAN MORROW: It’s an exciting time because more and more tools, from yeast strains to new hops, are becoming available to us. I stay tuned in and like to try new things without going too far too soon. 


LCBO: You hang out with a bunch of the brewers in Ontario. How do you influence one another? 

RYAN MORROW: Mike Lackey [brewmaster at Etobicoke’s Great Lakes Brewery] influenced a lot of my approach to hoppy beers, since he’s so good at them. I might be short on a hop variety or in need of malt, so we’ll help each other out. But a lot of it’s about brewing a beer together, having fun and trying something totally different: Iain McOustra [brewmaster at Amsterdam Brewery] and I just did a smoked sour beer aged in Cabernet Franc barrels and grape skins.