Introducing: The Bandit Sit-Down Series

In our first year, we’ve enjoyed doing the occasional private beer-focused event, like our Oyster Stout session back in December of 2016. Our main priority for events like these is to make them feel as intimate and comfortable as possible to allow for a deep understanding of our beers and of the way our brewery operates. For this reason alone, the idea of having large brewery tours is something we’ve resisted, so we came up with a much better idea: a private tasting session conducted by one of our talented brewers. This month, we’re thrilled to introduce The Bandit Sit-Down Series, a relaxed journey through the beers and brewing process of Bandit Brewery. The best part? Very minimum walking! Our aim for these sessions is to keep them as informal and relaxed as possible, prioritizing enjoyment over having a simple beer lecture.

The Bandit Sit-Down Series will be helmed by a talented new addition to our brewery team, Benoit. Having grown up in Northern France initiated Benoit’s passion for beer. The proximity to Belgium exposed him to the fantastic beer styles the country is known for, especially Lambic and Trappist beers, although he still has a soft spot for a classic Saison. Funny enough, Stephane, Bandit owner and brewer, has a similar story regarding his introduction to beers due to his proximity with Belgium during his upbringing in France. This shared experience makes Benoit a fabulous addition to our Bandit Brewery team, as he perfectly understands the styles of beer we enjoy brewing in our facilities. The past three years that he’s spent in Canada has exposed him to a completely different array of beer styles, giving him a well-rounded education and deeper appreciation for craft beer. A self-described “beer lover, taster, and maker”, Benoit has honed his skills with years of home-brewing. His love of beer has also led him to be a master of guided tastings, which he’s conducted for the last few years in and around the GTA.

The Bandit Sit-Down Series will take place in an exclusive space in the middle of our brewhouse and will include an in-depth tour of the Bandit facilities, a look behind our brewing process and inspirations, and a thorough guided tasting of six varied Bandit beers. Guests will get the chance to see how our beer recipes are designed and how some of our staple beers have evolved over time. When possible, they will also be invited to taste a new fermenting beer for the first time and will be invited to try one of our barrel-aged beers that are not yet available to the public. To accompany the experience guests will be provided with an assortment of charcuterie meats and cheeses; all in all, a pretty excellent evening!

Our goal is to keep the Series as a monthly event that will welcome both regular friendly faces and new guests that are looking for a well-crafted introduction to Bandit Brewery.

*All participants must be of legal drinking age.

Mem’ries of Bandit Oktoberfest 2017

1,400 pretzel buns, 400 sausages, 376 Steins.

A week after the whirlwind weekend that was Bandit Oktoberfest 2017, we’re finally able to sit down and look back at some of the great memories created by team Bandit and our wonderful guests. As our Therese Kolsch flowed freely and the jolly sounds of The Beer Barrel Music filled the room, we were delighted to see our original vision for Bandit Brewery, as a place that unites people through great beer, come together.  Seeing some of our regular patrons and new faces walking through our garage doors ready for the complete Bandit experience was a thrill to see.

Guests join in The Beer Barrel Band’s Chicken Dance contest (yup, this happened)

A definite highlight of the weekend was being able to raise over $700.00 for the amazing people at Parkdale Project Read, a non-profit organization that we have worked with and supported in the past. Parkdale Project Read is a community-based literacy centre that delivers literacy and academic upgrading programs for adults of all ages. Their learner-centred programs build a range of literacy skills, knowledge, and competencies to support learners in their efforts to gain personal independence, expand their employment opportunities, and/or pursue further education. After team Bandit attended the Parkdale Project Read end-of-semester celebrations a few months back, we were able to experience first-hand the inspiring work they do and the positive effects that their work has on the community at large. We knew right then that our commitment to supporting their work is something we want to continue doing in future collaborations and initiatives, and Bandit Oktoberfest was the perfect opportunity for us to do so.

Our friends from Parkdale Project Read join the Stein holding contest. Can you guess who won?

We would like to thank our entire Bandit staff for delivering such wonderful experiences throughout the weekend. Our brewery team outdid themselves with our two new German-style beers, Ludwig (Dark Lager) and Therese (Kolsch), helping us sell an impressive amount of Steins in order to raise funds for Parkdale Project Read. Our kitchen team braved the sun all day and provided us with a fantastic array of Oktoberfest treats (we’ve been craving our homemade sauerkraut all week). Our front of house staff got a workout in (those Steins are heavy, Y’all!) while making sure every one of our guests was taken good care of and delivered many laughs as they got into the true Oktoberfest spirit.

Bandit brewers Ben and Julian join in the fun in full Oktoberfest style.

You can be certain that we’ll be returning in full lederhosen next year for an even bigger Bandit Oktoberfest. Until then, we’ll reminisce on the good times had and the great sense of community that was palpable throughout this fabulous weekend.

PROST!

Our two Oktoberfest beers are still available in our brewpub and bottleshop for the time being.  A limited number of Bandit Steins especially made for the event are available in our bottle shop. 

Bandit Oktoberfest: A Very Hoppy Engagement

As our preparations for Bandit Oktoberfest 2017 began a few months back, we were faced with the question of how to best honour the iconic Bavarian tradition while giving it a slight Bandit twist. Taking an insightful look at how the festival was created and the history and folktales behind it gave us a greater understanding of the styles of beers we would want to create and what the concept behind these would be.

The earliest Oktoberfest dates back to October 12th, 1810, when the people of Munich congregated to celebrate the marriage of King Ludwig and Princess Therese in the city outskirts. Immediately, a yearly tradition was created, although the festivities morphed into a sort of agricultural festival for the region of Bavaria. With the passing of the years, beer started to become an important part of the festivities. While still keeping an agricultural element as a component, it’s clear that beer has now become the most crucial component of what Oktoberfest represents.

In keeping with the themes of the festival’s origins and its legends of yore, Bandit Brewery is delighted to introduce its two Oktoberfest beers for 2017: Ludwig (5.1%), a well-balanced black lager with smooth dark malt flavours and a mild roast aroma, and Therese (4.7%), a delicate and light German layered ale (Kolsch) with pilsner and biscuit aromas. Ben from our brewing team says “The Kolsch was added in place of our popular Hoppelgänger (Hopped Pilsner) as our lighter offering. The Dark Lager delivers a great contrast to the rest of our German-style beers, plus it was a ton of fun to make as it’s our first time brewing a lager using only dark malts.”

Brewing German-style beers is not new to Bandit Brewery. In the past we’ve been inspired by this region and have crafted some of your favourite Bandit beers in this tradition; from The Wizard of Gose to Hassel-Hef (both also available for Bandit Oktoberfest). In the words of Bandit Brewery brewer, Stephane, who spent a good part of his twenties living in Dresden: “I have always been impressed by the dry and crisp bitterness of German lagers. When brainstorming what our Oktoberfest offerings for 2017 would be, we focused on lower ABV beers that could be enjoyed in Steins throughout the day, so the Kolsch and the Dark Lager became our top choices.”

The brewing process called for both new beers to be lagered, or stored cold for a period of time. The Therese Kolsch is brewed with a German ale yeast at a cooler temperature and left to rest for a while as it cleans up and clarifies. The Ludwig black lager required a lengthier aging period compared to our Hoppelgänger (our original dry-hopped Pilsner) in order to soften the dark malt character and bring more balance to the beer.

When asked what his vision for Bandit Oktoberfest 2017 is, Stephane tells us: “Since beer is very experiential, we thought it would be fun to try to recreate the folkloric Oktoberfest atmosphere that I enjoyed while living in Germany for one day, with German beers, food and traditional music in the middle of our small beer garden.”

Bandit Oktoberfest’s Therese and Ludwig will be available on Saturday, September 16th  in our bottle shop (11 am- 11 pm) and on tap ring our all-day Oktoberfest celebration (12 pm- 1 am).

Bandit’s Top 5: Hops

It should come as no surprise the fact that hops reign supreme in the craft beer world. A member of the cannabis family and a distant cousin of the marijuana plant (although QUITE different), hops are used to provide beer with the flavour and aroma that defines them. From American hops, which tend to be piney and resinous, to German hops, which are usually more herbal, the variety of hops in a beer will contribute to the beer’s most definitive characteristics. In certain cases, such as in our 8 Days a Week series, a single hop will be featured with the purpose of being a true showcase of that particular hop. Other significant aspects that they can dictate are the consistency of the foam and the bitterness of a beer, measured in IBUs (International Bittering Units). The different hopping methods can affect the beer just as much; either by adding them straight to the boiling process or dry-hopping.

As you can tell, talking about hops and the variety available can be an overwhelming task, so we went straight to the source (our brewers) and asked them what their favourite types of hops to work with are and how they are used in some of Bandit Brewery’s beers.

AMARILLO

Bandit beers: 8 Days a Week Amarillo (Single-hop Session Ale), Dundas West Coast IPA, Hoppelgänger Pilsner (during its dry-hopping process)

Origin: Washington State, USA

Characteristics: Amarillo hops can bring a slight sweetness to beer, although they’re better known for their tangerine and grapefruit-like citrusy flavours.

CASCADE

Bandit beers: Bandit’s APA, Cone Ranger IPA, Dundas West Coast IPA

Origin: Oregon State, USA

Characteristics: It’s known to help with the bitterness of beer, while at the same time contributing to the citrusy flavours, not unlike Amarillo hops, except slightly spicier.

SAAZ

Bandit beers: Hoppelgänger Pilsner

From: Czech Republic

Characteristics: As one of the original “noble hops” that are traditionally used in European Lagers, it’s defined in great part by their low bitterness and floral aromas. These hops tend to be on the milder side but can bring out earthy and herbal flavours in the beer.

WILD TURKEY

Bandit beers: Tsarina Bomb IIPA

Origin: Ontario, Canada

Characteristics: These Canadian hops have a mild, clean bittering effect on the beer. It can bring out aromas of mango and peach. Commonly used for IPAs and other very aromatic beers.

SAPHIR

Bandit beers: Hoppelgänger Pilsner

Origin: Germany

Characteristics: A low acidity hop with very little bitterness. It can bring a sweet citrus aroma forward in beer, so also commonly used for traditional “Bohemian” beers.

Other ingredients, such as the malt used, can also be defining features of a beer. In future blog entries, we’ll explore ways in which other components can greatly affect the results of brewing.

*Photo by: Abhishek Dekate
Instagram: @abhishekdekate