Bandit Banter: Meet Brewer Benoit Brame

In recent blog posts, we’ve discussed in detail some of our great accomplishments of the last year, our extensive and continuously growing beer list, and the introduction of our new (and very popular!) Bandit Sit-Down Series. A key component of all these three landmarks has been the addition of Benoit Brame to our brewery team. Benoit joined our team in the fall of 2017 and has since become a key member of our brewery team, leading our guided tastings, creating brand new recipes for us, assisting with our licensee program, and even making homemade charcuterie for us!  His passion for the craft and his love of beer is not only contagious to the Bandit team, but to all of those who meet him, especially during one of our Bandit Sit-Downs. His story starts off very similarly to our brewer Stephane’s, as both began as homebrewers in their native France, but their tastes couldn’t be more different, as you’ll see below (you can revisit our interview with Stephane here).

In our continued efforts to give you a closer look at our everyday brewing operations and philosophy, we decided to grab a pint after work (he’s a VERY busy guy after all) with Benoit and pick his brain about all things beer.

What’s the first Craft Beer you ever tried?

That would be a Boneshaker (Amsterdam Brewery)! I had never drunk an IPA while living in France, so I was completely taken aback by the bitterness, which I’ve come to really love after some time.

What’s your favourite hop to work with?

I will have to say Citra, which I love using for IPAs and other Pale Ales. I’m a big fan of hops with a lot of citrus and grapefruit aromas.

What’s your favourite style of beer?

Growing up so close to Belgium was a big influence on my beer taste, so my three favourite styles would have to be Leffe, Chimay, and Triple Karmeliet.

What’s your favourite new trend in craft beer?

Not that it is a particularly “new” trend, but I’m a big fan of Sours and Gose beers.

How much beer do you drink on an average day?

During the week I mostly drink beer to keep track of our beer quality, so lots of small tasters. The weekend is another story, and it really depends on how celebratory I’m feeling, but on average I drink around 4 beers on the weekend.

 Do you take home a lot of beer from work or do you like to try other excellent local beers while at home?

I drink a lot of Bandit beer during the week, so on the weekends, I enjoy visiting different breweries or the LCBO and getting to taste all the other excellent beers being made in Ontario.

What is your favourite food to pair with beer?

It really depends on the beer style, but to be completely honest I just LOVE a side of chicken wings with my beer. I like them extra spicy if I’m drinking a solid IPA. 

What is an ambitious beer you would like to make in the future?

It’s already in the making! I’m very excited about an upcoming Milkshake IPA release, as it’s one of the beers I’ve been wanting to make since I started brewing at Bandit. Stay tuned for its release date!

If beer is not available (God forbid), what’s your go-to drink of choice?

I will definitely go for a single malt scotch, like a Glenmorangie or a Japanese Nikka straight from the barrel.

Like a Snake in your Boot: Introducing Mamba Barrel Aged Imperial Stout

So here we are, in the dead of winter and in dire need of something strong to shake us out of our January malaise. Well, look no further, as this weekend we release what is our biggest beer to date: Mamba – a Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout clocking in at 11.3%! The name itself is inspired by the infamous sub-Saharan snake, the black mamba; a creature known for its highly venomous qualities that can bring a human down in less than 45 minutes (don’t worry, we’ll be serving this in a small size Imperial beer glass).

Originally slated to be part of our annual winter blend release, Hibernator, this beer proved to be too exceptional to blend, so we allowed it to age a bit longer by itself. By the time of its release, Mamba will have been aging for exactly one year.

The brewing process started out with a base very similar to our popular Night Mist (Imperial Stout, 8.5%), and then turning up the hops, malts, and alcohol. By allowing it to take its time in the barrels, the beer slowly absorbed some of the oak and vanilla characters that balanced out its high alcohol content, resulting in a smooth, well-rounded, warm beer with a punch of coffee and vanilla notes. The long aging process in French oak wine barrels also helped the beer dry out considerably.

Mamba is available as of 5 pm on Friday, January 12th in both our Bottle Shop and our brewpub.

* tip from the brewers: Mamba is best enjoyed at cellar temperature (5°- 8° C) and shared with another person.

Bandit Brewery’s Top Songs of 2017

We can proudly say that nearly every single member of our Bandit family is a complete music fanatic. Music fills Bandit Brewery at every single moment of the day, either when brewing in the mornings or when pouring beers for friends in the evenings and weekends. With a team whose music taste ranges from ATCQ to Julio Iglesias, and with so much inspired music coming out in 2017, it’s a challenge to find the right balance of what to play, and yet these polar opposite influences make for an even richer and funkier playlist.

A few of our guests have been asking for a while now that we share a curated Bandit playlist, and yet we’ve decided to put it all out there. Unedited. Raw. Unfiltered. We didn’t even try to get rid of some of our more embarrassing choices (we’re relieved that Despacito didn’t make the mix TBH). We’re giving you the truth, our truth, so pour yourself a pint of your favourite Bandit beer, sit back, relax, and let the music play.