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Bandit Banter: Meet Brewer Ben Morris

As our beer list grows and evolves, we’ve noticed that our patrons are more interested in what our brewers have to say about their craft and their everyday experiences with beer. We absolutely love it when we see our guests chatting up our brewers and asking all sorts of questions. During some rare, quiet downtime, we grabbed a pint and sat down with our brewer Ben to talk about his love of beer and the daily trials and tribulations of working in craft beer.

 

What’s the first Craft Beer you ever tried?

Probably Tank House Ale – was not an initial fan, though looking back on my usual bar order at that age, I was not to be trusted.

 

What’s your favourite hop to work with?

Simcoe has been fun lately, especially playing around with the character depending on how we add it.

 

What’s your favourite style of beer?

I’ve been really big into APAs lately, which is a bit of a departure from my original craft roots. Historically I was a Porter fan and then sort of slid into IPAs.

 

What’s your favourite new trend in craft beer?

Lower IBUs (International Bitterness Units). We’ve seem to have moved away from the tear-inducing 100 IBU IPAs that formed a good chunk of my early beer drinking out on the west coast and have found a balance somewhere more palatable.

 

How much beer do you drink on an average day?

Probably 2 pints equivalent during tank samplings, and maybe a pint in the evening depending on how hot it is and if I can make that walk home without a beer-tour along the way.

 

What is your least favourite part of the job?

Definitively coming up with new beer names. There are 5,500 microbreweries in North America, so no matter how genius your pun is, I can assure you somebody already thought of it. Now we try to get the whole brewing team and front of house involved in the creative process.

 

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

I usually grab a mixer of other beers for home. I drink a lot of our own stuff during the day so that it’s always good to branch out and see what other people are doing.

 

What is your favourite food to pair with beer?

Cheeseburgers. I am a sucker for a good cheeseburger.

 

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

I’ve always wanted to do a Braggot (a mead/beer hybrid), but keep it beer style, so drier and sparkling.

 

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

House made vodka sours with triple sec, limoncello and some Yongehurst spirit.

 

A Mouthful (of Beer): Ahtanum, 8 Days a Week

Ain’t got nothin’ but love babe, 
Eight days a week”

-The Beatles

While these lyrics were meant to illustrate The Fab Four’s deep love for a particular lady, they also depict the exact way our brewer Julian feels about beer. His deep love of the legendary Manchester natives have served as a sort of inspiration during his brewing endeavors and even led him to mastermind Bandit’s single hop Session Ale, named after his favourite Beatles song, 8 Days a Week.

We released the first version of this beer earlier in the year as a showcase for Julian’s favourite hop: Citra, which packed a big punch of plum and peach. The second version of 8 Days a Week used solely Amarillo hops, which delivered beachy aromas of key lime and kumquat while retaining a slight tartness to give it an all-around balance. Both have quickly become Bandit staples and as the August heat continues to rise we consider it the ideal time to release our third incarnation of this crisp and refreshing Session Ale, this time using Ahtanum hops.

Ahtanum hops originate in the USA and are known for their citrus and floral character, as well as their earthy notes, which make it an ideal hop for a single-hop beer like 8 Days a Week. “Ahtanum hops were completely new to me! They smelt great and seemed to fit the recipe well. These hops are mostly used for pale ales, IPAs and light lagers,” Julian tells us. The earthy and herbal characteristics make it stand out from Citra and Amarillo hops so you can expect this this version to be slightly different and more robust than the first two versions, while still keeping that subtle, lingering floral character.

The brewing process remained mostly the same as the initial two releases of 8 Days a Week. One of the few changes was that the hopping time was cut slightly shorter due to a lower alpha acid hop. Other than that, same recipe and same thought process behind it. The malt bill is entirely the same, which allows for the beer to keep true to this beer’s initial purpose: to showcase one single hop in a fairly clean and crisp way.

As for what future versions of 8 Days a Week might include, Julian shares with us: “We’ve been having such a blast brewing this beer and changing up the hopping on it! Future sessions hopefully will encompass the full spectrum of hop flavours. Stay tuned, folks!”

Ahtanum, 8 Days a Week will be available both on tap and in our bottleshop on Friday, August 4th at 5 pm.

 

A Midsummer Night’s Beer- The Cherry Widow

In the late summer of 2016, as the days started to get shorter and our tap list started to turn darker, we began our venture into barrel aging beers in oak barrels that had previously been used for wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir). Our initial barrel-aged release, Hibernator 2016, a blend of Brett, cherry and orange Imperial Stouts was something that we were tremendously happy and proud about. Since then, we’ve been tinkering and developing new recipes and ideas for other great beers, such as our Brett Bretterson, a wild Brett barrel Saison.

As our barrel aging capacity grew, from 4 initial barrels to 12, we started preparing for a mid-summer limited release and for our annual Hibernator’s 2017 version. Well, it’s now midsummer and we’re pleased to announce the release of our newest beer: The Cherry Widow. The process began last fall as the brewers brewed a dark wheat sour using exclusively wheat and dark wheat malts with a big addition of cranberry for one of our winter ales. We put some of that beer into oak barrels inoculated with Brett (for more info on Brettanomyces see http://bit.ly/2qoe8Ft) on top of Niagara cherries. Over the course of the last 7 months, the Brett has been slowly eating away at the acidity of the beer and helping to ferment out the cherries. Barrels tend to work on their own timeline, so we were faced with either bottling it and cellaring it, or, putting it out now that it’s ready. As our brewer, Ben tells us, “The summer isn’t typically a time for dark releases, but we said why not, and decided to have some fun. Also, it’s very, very good!”

The Cherry Widow is fairly dry, with a sherry and brandy character and a rich cherry, cranberry and dark fruit flavour and aroma. Its sourness is complex, assertive and it strengthens the fruit character.

Cherry Widow will be available this Friday at 5 pm exclusively in our bottle shop. Only 500 bottles will be available for release.

Meet Aurelien Vervaeke: The Man Behind the Raccoons

As we approach our one-year anniversary, many of you have asked us about our raccoon iconography, the inspiration behind our labels, and the mere raison d’être for our branding. Well, then what better than to introduce you to the man behind the curtain: Bandit Brewery’s very own artist-in-residence Aurelien Vervaeke.

Aurelien’s story is quite interesting; he quit his job as an art director for a well-known advertising agency in France and moved to Toronto without any contacts, job, or apartment in order to improve his English and to experience life in Canada. “I needed a fresh start, and Toronto is not a bad place to do that,” he tells us.

He ended up staying in Toronto for two full years. Since leaving, he still returns to our city every year; he calls Toronto his “second home”. His love of our city as an outsider, combined with his incredible talents, made Aurelien the ideal artist to work with when creating the Bandit brand. “As time goes by, I  miss the lake, the islands… it makes a difference to have a waterfront, especially in a big city,” he adds.

 The inspiration for his work and his style comes from many distinct and varied sources: “I was influenced from a young age by North-American design, comic strips and cartoons such as The Simpsons and Futurama. As I grew older French and Belgian artists began to create an impression on me as well.” Another important influence on his style was Toronto itself. “I found people in Toronto open to many forms of arts. The city is enthusiastic about creativity, new concepts, and raccoons” he tells us.

So what comes first, the design or the beer name? When asked about his process creating the beer labels for Bandit, he tells us: “The first step is to sketch a lot of different ideas inspired by the name or a general concept, like the Dundas West Coast IPA. After that, I try to figure out how to bring the raccoon into the label as to continue the Bandit story.”

Another big inspiration for his work with us is his true love of beer. Having studied in Belgium for a few years made an impact on him. He’s a big fan of traditional breweries with a long history. He enjoys highly-fermented and strong beers and counts Duvel as his favourite brand of European beers. As for his favourite Bandit beers: “I had a chance to try them all last summer and I loved Smoke On The Porter and Wizard of Gose for their distinct flavours.”

Lastly, we had to ask him what his favourite work for Bandit has been:” I can’t choose one in particular, but I was thrilled to hear so much good feedback on the logo, it looks fantastic on the beer glasses!”

Expect more exceptional work from Aurelien in the next little while. We can’t wait to see what he makes our raccoon pals do next time!

18 x 24 prints of Aurelien’s Bandit art are now on sale at our bottle shop.

Where Do Brewers Drink After Work? – Part 1

After a long day of brewing, tinkering with recipes, and looking at yeast cells through a microscope (it’s not all fun and games) our dedicated brewers often find it essential to cap off the day with a beer or even, believe it or not, a cocktail! After their 5 pm Bandit pint, “quality control” we call it, they’re often on the hunt for new, local or international beers and/or cocktails to try. More often than not, our front of house and kitchen staff go to them for recommendations on their favourite watering holes around town. After all, they have some level of authority on drinks, right?

For our initial post on the subject, we sat down with Ben and Julian and asked them to give us all their tips on where to get the best vibes and superb spirits.

BEN

Grey Tiger
http://www.greytiger.ca/
Pretty much my extended living room at this point. Ryan and Becky run a casual atmosphere with an immense selection of spirits and an especially wide selection of whiskeys. Ryan is a master bartender and the house cocktails and specials are made impeccably. Bonus, Becky does great coffee and snacks/treats, so there’s really no need to ever leave.

 

The 47

http://the47to.com/

Dimitri stocks the bar with an eclectic selection of Ontario and international craft beers. It verges on the impossible to find something plain to drink. The house food selection of small plates, all Mediterranean, are fantastic. House cocktails are also quite good.

 

Pour Boy

http://www.pourboy.ca/

Casual, inexpensive and the food is pretty good. The current beer menu has a good mix of local and provincial craft beers either on draft or cans. It’s the meeting spot for when I feel the need to leave my neighbourhood.

 

 

JULIAN (who apparently just LOVES live jazz)

 

 

The Emmet Ray

http://www.theemmetray.com/

Not a large array of beers, but great food & service. The live jazz makes it a comfortable spot to wind down after a long day!

 

 

Get Well

http://www.getwellbar.com/

When I’m feeling a bit more ambitious and want to try my luck at some classic arcade games, Get Well is my spot. They’ve got a good selection of craft beers, and their taps are always changing. Always a good time!

 

Reposado

http://www.reposadobar.com/

When I’m looking to dress up nicely and drink well, this tequila and mezcal watering hole on Ossington is my go to. It’s a small joint but their margaritas are delicious and pack a punch. They’ve got live jazz on the weekends and a hip and comfortable back patio. It’s especially great on Saturday nights.

 

Our brewers’ diverse, eclectic and often contradictory drinking preferences guide our brewing philosophy, but apparently also serve as a pretty great guide on where to get great cocktails in the city, so stay tuned for to part-two of these series to come before the end of summer.

 

Cheers!

 

 

Some Like It Hot. Some Like It Dark.

When Brett Bretterson was released a few months back, we got a lot of love for the name, but we gotta give credit where credit’s due, to the original Bandit goofy name – Stouty McStoutface.

Stouty is not new to Bandit Brewery, it was first introduced a few months after our opening in 2016. This weekend it’s making a midsummer comeback for all those who crave something a bit darker, yet light, for patio season.

This delightful American-style Stout is brewed with a bit of English influence in terms of malts and hops. It’s a blend of good roast malt and cocoa aromas with a light enough body to make drinking it a pleasure.

So, what’s in a name, you may ask.  When asked about it, our brewer Ben genuinely shares with us the details on how he came up with the name: “Honestly, desperation. When the first batch came out we only had the working name of “Dry Stout” on the menu. We decided to get a real name for it and despite picking our brains for two hours we couldn’t come up with anything, so I quipped “Stouty McStoutface” and it won by default.”

Ben is our go-to guy when it comes to dark beers. He takes great pride in his knowledge of the style and even looks like the exact type of guy who enjoys nothing more than a great Porter or Stout, in summer or winter. “Part of it was the west coast hop wars where everyone was trying to outdo each other in bitterness and I wanted something with a little less lupulin glands and a little more malt,” Ben tells us.

Although we started out with two excellent dark beers, Smoke On The Porter and Night Mist, Ben felt that a more traditional Stout would fit in quite nicely in our beer lineup. Smoke has a very distinct taste that’s a bit more intense, and Night Mist is a high ABV Imperial Stout, so a lighter Stout was a perfect addition to our beer list. Ben adds,”Stouty can be thought of either as Smoke without the smoke, or a regular strength Night Mist. There are some variations in the number of dark malts used in Stouty, since there are less of the other characters to balance it, such as the smoke malts and higher alcohol of Night Mist. The goal was to have something dark and a little more immediately approachable for customers who would shy away from a pint of Smoke On The Porter.”

Stouty stays lower in alcohol, coming in right at 5%. The body is lighter in comparison to Smoke, and while the dark malt aromas come through quite a lot, overall, the stout is fairly easy to drink, making the ideal summer Stout.

“I know some people will shy away from a dark beer in 30-degreee weather, but for the Irish Stout fans, and those interested in trying a wider range of styles, I’m certain they’ll enjoy the heck out of it,” adds Ben.

Stouty McStoutface is available on tap and in our bottle shop as of this Friday afternoon.

A Game Changer: from Citra to Amarillo

When we first released our 8 Days A Week Session Ale we decided it would be a beer that would feature a single hop in order to truly showcase the innate, natural aromas of each individual hop. Our initial release featured Citra hops and immediately gained popularity amongst our regulars because of its tropical notes of papaya, pineapple, and tangerine. This week we’re thrilled to introduce our second version of 8 Days A Week, this time featuring Amarillo hops.

We sat down with Julian, the mastermind behind this beer, to discuss the changes in this new version. When the first 8 Days A Week was released Julian told us all about his deep love for Citra hops, so we were curious about what drove him to switch hops for this new summer version. “The hops were changed from Citra to Amarillo because I wanted to highlight another very unique hop. Although still within the same citrus family, Amarillo leans closer to fruits such as peach, apricot, and mango,” he tells us.

JuIian’s experience with Citra is vast, as it’s been his go-to hop when home brewing and tinkering with recipes. His knowledge of Amarillo is also extensive: “I’ve brewed with Amarillo countless times before and in several Bandit beers, such as Cone Ranger. The results are never disappointing. It’s a great all-around hop, so picking it for a single hopped beer was a no-brainer!”

Single hopped beers are unique in the way they allow a real showcase of the hop being profiled. They’re also a great way for new beer drinkers starting to familiarize themselves with the craft beer world to taste all the qualities of the specific hop and understand how it impacts the flavour and aromatic qualities of the beer. One of the challenges in brewing this beer style is picking a malt base that will provide enough body but not interfere with the hops, while re-enforcing hop flavour and adding mouth feel.

So what does Julian and the rest of our brewing team have in mind for future versions of 8 Days A Week? “I’d like to brew this beer with Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin, Sorachi Ace and Challenger hops. You gotta switch it up and have fun with it along the way!” Julian adds.

This great patio beer is light enough that you can drink it completely by itself (rain or shine because WHAT A SUMMER) or paired with anything coming off your BBQ this Canada Day: hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, steak, grilled veggies, all of it!  Its smoothness and simplicity will help add flavour to the meal of your choice.

Amarillo, 8 Days A Week Session Ale is available as of Friday, June 30th on tap and in our bottleshop.

 

Bandit’s Father’s Day Gift Guide

Every June, after scratching our heads for two weeks we finally ask: “Hey Dad, what gift would make you really happy for father’s day?” I bet you already know the answer to this: ” I don’t need anything, don’t spend your money on me,” and just like that you’re back to square one. We’ve decided to save you some trouble and make Bandit your one-stop shopping destination with gifts that are sure to put on a smile on your old man.

Bandit T-Shirt
Made with the softest cotton blend, our brand new Bandit tees are sure to steal dad’s heart. Available in sizes S-XL.

Bottle Opener
What’s the point of getting dad a four-pack if he can’t get to the beer. Sure, our bottles are nice, but the beer is even better!

Glassware
Our glassware got a whole new look a few months back and these newly designed Bandit glasses are now available for purchase in our bottle shop. Our three sizes (full pint, half pint and Imperial) will elevate the beer-drinking experience and can also double as great glasses for cognac, sangria or wine. Options are important!

The Ontario Craft Beer Guide
The freshly updated 2017 edition is an insightful, thoughtful compilation of all the incredible work Ontario breweries are doing. Penned by the knowledgeable and renowned duo of  Robin LeBlanc & Jordan St. John, this book will make you appreciate the great talent in our province and will come in handy on those provincial road-trips.

Bandit Art Prints
You can now take home large prints of our beloved Bandit label art designed by our artist-in-residence, Aurélien Vervaeken. We have a feeling that dad will enjoy our beer puns, mischievous raccoons, and Toronto references.

Beer
You just can’t go wrong with a four-pack! Our bottle shop fridge is nicely stocked in anticipation of Father’s Day. As of Friday afternoon our bottled beers for the weekend include:

Mr. Pink – Light, floral and pink – because we can’t all be Mr. Black. Brewed with hibiscus and ginger giving a light sour strawberry/kiwi character, this lower ABV pale ale will keep you going during the summer months.

8 Days a Week – An American session ale brewed exclusively with Citra hops. This light, crisp, refreshing ale finishes super clean and tropical with all around notes of papaya, pineapple, and tangerine.

Hoppelgänger – Delicate, floral Noble hops blend together into a smooth and flavourful pilsner. Geranium and Citrus hang over a light biscuit character creating the perfect balance between flavour and drinkability.

Dundas West Coast IPA 
– This west coast style IPA has a strong citrus aroma and flavours of lemon, grapefruit, and peach. This IPA is dry, crisp with a refreshing bitterness.

Smoke On The Porter – An American style porter packed with smoked malts and peppercorns. Aromas of wood smoke, birchsap, and molasses with a warm pepper finish.

Wizard of Gose – Sweet. Sour. Wonderfully fragrant. This gose (gose-uh) is refreshingly tart with strong aromas of fresh apricot and coriander and flavored with sea salt.

Bandit’s APA – The crowd-pleasing little brother of the IPA world complete with aromas of honey, orange, and pine. A perfect fit for any night.

Cone Ranger – Pine aromas and toasty malts with an assertive but not overpowering hop bitterness. This is the Brewers’ go to when they long for the embrace of the forest.

Farmed & Dangerous – A crisp and refreshing Belgian farmhouse ale with notes of clove, coriander and orange peel with a lingering aftertaste of white pepper.

You can also check our bottle shop stock on the Beer section of our site as it’s updated daily.

So there you have it. This year you’re sure to make out like a bandit and make dad really happy with any of these gifts.

Their First Time – A Discovery of Craft Beer

The Bandit beer team is (not surprisingly) extremely passionate and well-versed about beer and beer culture. They each have a favourite style, another one they despise, and lots of opinions in between. Weekly brewing meetings turn into long sessions of debates and obviously, beer drinking. As with any passion, there’s always a great story about how the love affair started. These coming-of-age stories are relevant because they ultimately reveal where certain tastes or affinities come from and give us a fuller understanding of the type of work these talented brewers are doing.

We sat down (actually, fully interrupted) one of these private brewing meetings to get to talk to each of our team members about their first experience with craft beer and how it might have influenced their drinking and brewing habits.

Julian:

“My first craft beer experience was actually a homebrew I joined in on with a friend of mine. We were making an Imperial Stout and he had a bunch of craft brews from Quebec. We sat down for an afternoon just trying all these styles of beer and before that, I wasn’t aware of the world of tasteful beer. It was a true eye opening experience. After that day I put down my 6 packs of PBR and ventured over to the craft isle! Upon completion of the imperial stout, I was not only impressed by the brewing process but how flavourful beer could get. There was no going back!”

Stephane:

“My first experience with craft beer was during my first trip overseas to the US (from France) in 2007 when I went to Chicago. While on the famous architectural boat tour on the Chicago river, I ordered a random beer on tap. It was a sort of black/brown IPA, very bitter with strong, exotic fruit notes, leaning towards lychee and grapefruit. It was so delicious and refreshing, I instantly knew I wanted to become a brewer! Just kidding, I hated the first sip, but got addicted by the end of the first pint. One of my next brews at Bandit will be an attempt to recreate this beer and the unique feeling of my first IPA.”

Ben:

“I can’t quite remember exactly what my first craft beer was. I tripped across it in an LCBO in Kingston and didn’t know a lot about the craft scene. That store didn’t have a great selection when I was younger so it caught my eye. I did not enjoy it. I thought it was super bitter and had a very strong malt character. Shortly thereafter I was in Vancouver for school and the local pub had a good selection of Russell and Phillip’s beers on tap so I got right into it. This was around when BC seemed to be going through a hop war with everyone trying to make the most bitter beer. I think Phillip’s Hop Circle was likely my initiation into IPAs and pushed me away from overly hopped IPAs. Around that same time, I ended up in a brewing club and made it my goal to try every type of beer the campus BCL had in stock, which took me 4 months before moving on to a specialty store nearby but couldn’t do it: they boasted 1500 beers.”

Mike:

“My first experience with craft beer was probably discovering Unibroue upon moving to Québec in 2001. It was so unlike anything I had tasted up to that point, and it made me realize that there could be a lot more to beer than the world of commercial pilsners ever hinted at. The ones I remember liking the most were Trois Pistoles, Maudite, and Fin du Monde, although at the time I was probably more drawn to them by the relatively low cost/high ABV ratio than anything else. My affair with these beers was passionate but short-lived, as I quickly burned out on the identical yeast-forward characteristics present and prevalent in almost all of their beers, and sadly for years I swore off “Belgian beer” entirely (unfortunately having visited Belgium twice during this period, ugh). It’s only somewhat recently that I have a newfound appreciation for beers in this style after I literally forced myself to try as many true Trappist/Abbaye style beers as I could while living in Europe, and finally realized that I actually really liked most of them. A lot.”

We want to give kudos to all these excellent beers, even the ones which names we couldn’t remember, as they all initiated our team on a life long love affair with beer. We’ll drink to those first times!

On Baewatch patrol: The return of The HasselHef

It’s no secret that our love of German culture was one of the biggest inspirations for the conception of Bandit Brewery, so we always jump at the opportunity of crafting experiences that celebrate the Germanic spirit. You may recall many a time drinking a Gose, an Altbier or a Roggen in our beer garden. ALL GERMAN!

Germans are known for their love of beer gardens, soccer, great and David Hasselhoff.  The Hoff was introduced to them just like he was with us, with Baywatch and Knight Rider, but The Hoff ended up having an incredibly successful singing (!) career there and becoming one of their bonafide superstars.

When developing plans for our first Hefeweizen, another staple of German culture, we couldn’t help but think about ways of bringing The Hoff into the mix. Ben, the brewer behind this recipe (and our pun-master extraordinaire) tells us more about how he came up with the name: “As plans for our summer Hefeweizen came to fruition, my memory jogged and remembered the old saying “don’t hassle the Hoff” and I decided to run with Hasselhef. The association is loose, but with the Hefeweizen and Hasselhoff’s German connection I couldn’t help but make the pun!”

Ben’s experience with Hefeweizens came mostly from brewing the style with friends that are avid fans of it, as he’s much more of an APA/IPA kind of guy. During Bandit’s first months of operations, he made a promise to these friends that Bandit would include a stellar wheat beer in our rotation, and boy did he deliver! “I wanted a Hefeweizen to branch out some more summer styles without having 8 IPAs on tap. Between the Hef, Wizard of Gose and Hoppelgänger, I felt like we could round out our offerings nicely,” Ben adds.

The Hasselhef proved to be a great success and a true favourite with our regulars during our first summer, so it was a no-brainer to bring it back for our second patio season. Horacio, one of Bandit’s brewers and a big fan of wheat beers, revised the recipe by using Weihenstephan yeast as well as a slightly modified malt base to produce this German Weissbier.

Bandit’s Hasselhef is best enjoyed out in the sun, with lovely company, accompanied by a delicious meal of scallops, lobster and apple desserts.
Treat yo’self, won’t you?

You’ve got a friend in Brett Bretterson

In our short, yet action-packed first year we’ve been able to craft one barrel aged brett beer (it takes time y’all!), our Hibernator 2016. In our quest to continue to experiment with this type of beer we’ve embraced the different and unexpected routes that working with Brettanomyces can bring.

Brettanomyces is a wild type of yeast that produces “funky” and complex flavours in beer. It is considered a spoilage in winemaking as it brings forward an undesirable character that makes its way into the barrels. When working with beer, it’s a completely different story. Brett can bring forward exciting notes of leather, barnyard, and fruitiness, depending on how long it sits in a brett-infused barrel.

Our new beer release, Brett Bretterson originated as a clean Saison that we put in wine barrels that contained a small amount of a wild strain of Brettanomyces. Brett can survive in wood for a very long time and once in the barrel, nothing short of burning it will get it out completely. After fermenting in the barrels for over six months, the strain revealed stronger notes in the Saison while making the beer drier and bringing up the alcohol content.

Our last Brett release, Brett or Alive, used a similar base Saison with a Brett. A strain of Brett was added in the fermenter, not in barrels, which we let go for a few weeks and kegged when it had developed to a certain point. Brett or Alive is a slightly lighter, fruitier beer with subtle earthy flavours, while Brett Bretterson is a drier, more mellow beer with a clean finish.

Brett Bretterson (7.6% ABV, 25 IBU) is now available in our bottleshop and on tap.

Pretty (and powerful) in Pink

Pink has been one of the most misunderstood colours through history. To some, it portrays a sense of daintiness, charm, tenderness, sweetness and innocence. The colour has been associated with femininity and misgendered as a female colour. It is refreshing to see new generations embracing it as a colour that demonstrates boldness, joy, and positivity. The arrival and aesthetic takeover of the trendy “millennial pink” has landed in the least expected of places, from men’s suitwear to the ever-changing sneaker culture, which demonstrates a step in the right direction. Long gone is its association with the stereotypical female icons of yore, such as Barbie. Pink is cool. Pink is strength.

A perfect example of the “cool pink” revolution is Mr. Pink, the (in)famous diamond robber and terrible tipper in Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. Mr. Pink has a strong opinion on himself and isn’t scared to go against society’s norms, which brings us to Bandit Brewery’s brand new Summer ’17 release: Mr. Pink, a ginger and hibiscus pale ale. This is the last beer brewed by our brewer Horacio, before his return to his native Brazil last week. By combining two of his favourite flavours with his Tarantino obsession, he was able to craft a beautiful and refreshing beer that we’re excited to introduce as our initial release of the season.

Horacio loves brewing with ginger; you might remember his excellent 7 Rings ESGinger from back in February. He loves the kick and bite that it gives to a lot of styles. Before he left he also wanted to brew with hibiscus, something he hadn’t done during his time with us.

During the brewing process, hibiscus was added at all points- in the mash tun, kettle and fermenter to impart a beautiful pink character and add a telltale slightly tart strawberry/kiwi character to the beer. Ginger was added in the kettle and gives a light brightness to the taste.
Mr. Pink is best enjoyed with…actually, we won’t tell you how to enjoy it. Be bold and choose your own adventure.
Mr. Pink is now available on tap and in our bottleshop.

A Very Bandit Year

It’s only been a few days since our official #BanditTurnsOne celebration and we’ve been feeling the love more than ever. We had an incredible weekend filled with great music (courtesy of Little Lotus), laughter and lots (and lots) of beer. Seeing the brewery packed with familiar faces and regulars brought us so much joy and made us look forward to many anniversaries ahead. We’ve decided to take down a stroll down the memory lane of our first of operations with the Bandit owners – Shehzad Hamza and Stephane Dubois.
Stephane and Shehzad’s friendship began through their mutual love of beer. After years of homebrewing, beer tourism and countless pints in our city’s wonderful craft breweries, they set off to create their own space and to make the kind of beers that they like to drink.
“Our initial idea for Bandit was to create a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere, similar to the German beer gardens,” Shehzad tells us. After years of living in Germany, Stephane was very aware and intrigued by the idea that beer can create and enhance a sense of community. It was their combined desire to bring that “feeling” to Toronto, in their own terms, that pushed them to create their dream brewery, Bandit.
A year later, and with a clear perspective, we ask them to look back at their most cherished moments in our very eventful first year. When asked about it, Shehzad tells us, “I think our opening day was the most memorable moment for me. After about a year of working on the construction of the brewery, it was amazing to finally see the space full of happy and smiling people. We were blown away by the reception from the Roncy community and are so thankful for all the love and support we’ve got over the last year.”
As for Stephane, he remembers some of our rowdier events with fondness: “Seeing all of our friends standing on top of the benches singing and dancing to Oom-pah music during our Oktoberfest party was definitively a highlight of our first year.”
Sure, it’s been a year of hard work, great successes and accomplishments, but none of it would be possible without the help and support of our incredible team. It really does take a village, y’all!
“We are super thankful to the staff at bandit who have made this place into what we dreamed it would be. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to do all this without the support of my wonderful (and very patient) wife. I also wouldn’t be here without the support of all my friends who helped with the actual building of the brewery and who continue to support us every day,” Shehzad shares with us.
“I would like to thank our incredible brewery team. Every day I feel more proud of all the excellent beers we’ve created together and I can’t wait to see what we’ll come up with next,” says Stephane.
As we bring our anniversary festivities to an end, we want to take the time to thank you (yes, YOU!) for your continued love and support of Bandit Brewery. It is your loyalty and passion for our beers that keep us inspired and excited to create, improve and evolve.
Finally, you might be wondering what big plans we have for this second year of our Bandit adventure. Although not one to share too many details about his upcoming plans, Stephane kindly shares with us: “The big focus is of course on our beers – we are pretty excited with some of our new ideas and experiments. A lot more barrel aged stuff and more experimental stuff.”
Lots to look forward to. We hope you’ll join us for another year of great fun.

Bandit’s B-Day Beer Reveal: Introducing Hazed and Infused

You’ve read about it. You’ve heard about it. You’ve booked the date and made plans with pals. Yup, we’re (obviously) talking about our upcoming #BanditTurnsOne celebration on Saturday, May 6th !

We’ve lined up a lot of fun stuff – live performances by Toronto-native, Bandit-loving Little Lotus. Our kitchen will be setting up BBQ on our patio. Still, what would #BanditTurnsOne be without beer?

For our one-year anniversary, we decided to do things a bit differently. Since our opening in 2016, we’ve been fortunate to have a brewery and kitchen staff that is mainly composed of home-brewers and verified beer-heads. They keep track of every step the brewery team takes and can list you the majority of ingredients in each of our beers. This time around we wanted to have them be a part of the process, especially considering this is our one-year anniversary beer and they’ve been an integral part of our development and growth. Under the lead of brewer Julian, they’ve created Hazed and Infused, a peach-infused North East Pale Ale.

“The staff’s initial goal was to make a fruity, light summer beer designed to be enjoyed during our anniversary party on our patio. Our brewpub manager, Dwayne, had been tinkering with this recipe at home with great results, so we decided to go for it and share the deliciousness with our Bandit friends,” Julian tells us.

The brew day was a really rewarding experience for all. Those staff members not familiar with home brewing wanted to learn, and the one’s familiar with the process wanted to learn even more about brewing a much bigger batch in a more complex system. Under the supervision of our brewery team, the staff was involved in everything, from the mashing of the grains to sparging, boiling, transferring, and pitching of the yeast. It was a truly collaborative effort by all and it made us real proud of our Bandit family.

Hazed and Infused sits pretty close to our other Pale Ales on the citrus front but the introduction of peach in the second fermentation elevate it to another level and make it a really special beer, exactly what we wanted for #BanditTurnsOne. After all, this beer is symbolically pretty much our birthday cake. The “Hazed” element comes from the use of malted wheat and oat flakes on the malt bill, which makes it a cloudy beer. The beer’s light malt base is nicely complimented by a tart peach flavour and aroma. A smooth citrus bitterness lingers.

Hazed and Infused will be released at 5 pm on Saturday, May 6th during #BanditTurnsOne.

Super chill vibes guaranteed.

Hazed and Infused: peach-infused North East Pale Ale. 6.1% ABV. 78 IBU

 

Introducing: Brett or Alive (Brett Saison)

Our Farmed & Dangerous Saison has been a Bandit staple since opening day. Its crisp and refreshing taste make it an everyday beer and one of our most beloved brews. It only made sense then to tinker with our recipe and create a new Brett version of it just in time for the kick-off of patio season.

Our Farmed & Dangerous is developed using Saccharomyces yeast, the kind used in most beers. In our new Brett or Alive, the use of a Brett (Brettanomyces) strain, a wild yeast, for the secondary fermentation, creates new “funky” flavours that add some complexity to the recipe. Brett or Alive is a slightly lighter, drier, fruitier beer with subtle earthy flavours. In general, depending on the strain, the type of use, and the duration of the process, Brett can create intense flavours and aromas described as leather, barnyard, earthy, and even leaning towards mushroom!

Brett has gained much popularity in the last decade because of the craft beer movement. Brewers are excited to experiment and play with yeast just as much as they do with hops.

We spoke to Stephane, our brewer at the helm of this new beer, about his experience with Brett yeast and what pushed him to keep exploring this style of beers (our first Brett beer was our limited-release Hibernator 2016, a barrel aged Brett blend). “Growing up in France, the first Brett beer I tried is Orval, a quite unique Belgian Trappist beer,” he tells us. “It’s an acquired taste for some, but I was hooked from the first sip!”

The brewing process for this type of beer is also quite unique and sometimes complicated since Brett can be very invasive if not handled properly, although the payback is usually very rewarding. “With this version of Brett or Alive, we are adding Brett in secondary fermentation, but it is also possible to do a 100% Brett fermentation,” Stephane tells us. “Brett also benefits from being added in ageing barrels since it gives the beer more time to develop unique flavours.”

We plan to slowly release other versions of our Brett or Alive in the coming months using different Brett strains to highlight other specific types of funkiness.

Our Brett or Alive pairs perfectly with cheese and is a perfect beer to be enjoyed on our patio this season. As for the best music to enjoy while drinking it, Stephane recommends the quietness of a Belgian monastery, or better yet (and much more accessible to us Torontonians), cottage country.

Brett or Alive (Brett Saison, 5.9%) is now available on tap and will soon be available in our bottle shop.

Why So Sour: Bandit’s Wizard of Gose

Until the 80s, Gose was a style of beer that was pretty much a thing of mythology. From its humble beginnings, early in the 1600s, in the small town of Goslar (hence the name), it’s a style of beer that relied on spontaneous fermentation to achieve its sourness. As the beer became more popular in the 1800s, brewers realised that they could get the same results using lactic acid bacteria and yeast. This discovery allowed brewers to experiment with the style while being able to have more control over the fermentation process. Still, Gose remained a staple style of the region and didn’t have the reach or popularity of other styles.

After World War II, the beer disappeared for decades, only to make a return in the 1980s. After that, it went unnoticed for a while as brewers considered it to be too much of an experimental style. The modern craft beer movement finally brought Gose out of obscurity. As a lot of homebrewers became leaders in the craft industry the trend carried over. Our appetite for novelty and “funky” beers have made this style popular with both brewers and beer lovers alike. Sours provided an interesting avenue of experimentation. The blend of spice, salt, sourness and sweetness is a pretty wide canvas to play with. Many Goses are flavoured with various fruits and spices that can open up interesting new avenues for beer drinkers. The sourness has also helped tap into a niche group of drinkers and can act, in some ways, as a malt-based lemonade type drink.

Our brewers decided early on that a Gose had to be in our beer line. What started off as simple experimentation with kettle souring has now become one of our most beloved beer: The Wizard of Gose. “I wanted to do some work with lactic acid bacteria and decided a milder sour, such as a Gose, would be more appealing than a traditionally more sour beer such as Berliner Weisse,” brewer Ben Morris tells me. ” I chose apricot to get a bit more of a complicated aroma and flavour. I always found apricots had a pleasant level of tartness with enough acidity in the background to make them enjoyable even in oppressive heat. Blending that tartness with sea salt and coriander fills out the flavour and taste and seemed like the perfect combination,” he adds. 

Our Gose would be slightly more sour than a traditional German Gose, but it sits middle of the road compared to others. “I tend to keep a bit more body in our version to help push the beer more towards tart than straight sour, and use a strain of lactic acid that is known to produce some light berry flavours to fill out the flavour a bit,” says Ben.

Goses tend to be soured in the kettle using lactic acid bacteria. We usually need about 18 hours to sour a batch before boiling and fermenting as usual. Near the end of fermentation, we add apricots and let the yeast work on the fruit sugars before adding some sea salt.

The Wizard of Gose is best enjoyed cold, fresh, and on the patio. Ben finishes up our chat with: “I think nothing will help more on a hot summer day than a cold pint of apricot-ade.”

The Wizard of Gose is now available on tap and in our bottle shop.

Meet Aurelien Vervaeke: The Man Behind the Raccoons

As we approach our one-year anniversary, many of you have asked us about our raccoon iconography, the inspiration behind our labels, and the mere raison d’être for our branding. Well, then what better than to introduce you to the man behind the curtain: Bandit Brewery’s very own artist-in-residence Aurelien Vervaeke.

Aurelien’s story is quite interesting; he quit his job as an art director for a well-known advertising agency in France and moved to Toronto without any contacts, job, or apartment in order to improve his English and to experience life in Canada. “I needed a fresh start, and Toronto is not a bad place to do that,” he tells us.

He ended up staying in Toronto for two full years. Since leaving, he still returns to our city every year; he calls Toronto his “second home”. His love of our city as an outsider, combined with his incredible talents, made Aurelien the ideal artist to work with when creating the Bandit brand. “As time goes by, I  miss the lake, the islands… it makes a difference to have a waterfront, especially in a big city,” he adds.

 The inspiration for his work and his style comes from many distinct and varied sources: “I was influenced from a young age by North-American design, comic strips and cartoons such as The Simpsons and Futurama. As I grew older French and Belgian artists began to create an impression on me as well.” Another important influence on his style was Toronto itself. “I found people in Toronto open to many forms of arts. The city is enthusiastic about creativity, new concepts, and raccoons” he tells us.

So what comes first, the design or the beer name? When asked about his process creating the beer labels for Bandit, he tells us: “The first step is to sketch a lot of different ideas inspired by the name or a general concept, like the Dundas West Coast IPA. After that, I try to figure out how to bring the raccoon into the label as to continue the Bandit story.”

Another big inspiration for his work with us is his true love of beer. Having studied in Belgium for a few years made an impact on him. He’s a big fan of traditional breweries with a long history. He enjoys highly-fermented and strong beers and counts Duvel as his favourite brand of European beers. As for his favourite Bandit beers: “I had a chance to try them all last summer and I loved Smoke On The Porter and Wizard of Gose for their distinct flavours.”

Lastly, we had to ask him what his favourite work for Bandit has been:” I can’t choose one in particular, but I was thrilled to hear so much good feedback on the logo, it looks fantastic on the beer glasses!”

Expect more exceptional work from Aurelien in the next little while. We can’t wait to see what he makes our raccoon pals do next time!

18 x 24 prints of Aurelien’s Bandit art are now on sale at our bottle shop.

Bandit’s Beach Boy: Dundas West Coast IPA

Picture it. Early 2008. Seattle, Washington. A group of French travellers fight their jet-lag in order to make it in time to The Whiskey Bar. Their mission: to finally try a West Coast IPAs, a style of beer that hadn’t yet reached France, a country not known for its beer culture.

They dropped their luggage off and mission accomplished. After several pints of extremely bitter and citrusy IPAs, Stephane Dubois, owner and brewer of Bandit Brewery, began his love affair with West Coast style IPAs. “Those beers were so bitter that I could still taste the bitterness the next morning! I probably loved these beers as much as my friends hated them, and I have been the biggest fan of West Coast IPA’s since then,” he tells us.

It seems appropriate then that Stephane would be the mastermind behind our Dundas West Coast IPA. This west coast style IPA has a strong citrus aroma and flavours of lemon, grapefruit and peach. It is dry, crisp, and has a refreshing bitterness. As a side-kick to our English-style Cone Ranger IPA, a maltier beer brewed with Simcoe hops, Dundas West Coast IPA is an excellent showcase of the characteristics of Citra and Amarillo hops, especially since we use LOTS of hops in the process. As for the name, we couldn’t resist but pay tribute to our “neck of the woods”.

We asked Stephane how he plans to enjoy this beer in the coming months: “Probably lying on Ward Island beach, eating a hot dog with a stereo playing Surfin’ USA,” he tells us.

Dundas West Coast IPA is now available on tap and at the Bandit bottleshop. 

 

Here Comes the Sun: Introducing Aequinox IIPA

The arrival of spring brings with it tulips, easter eggs, and crisp beers that feel like a much-needed refreshment after endless months of snow and below-zero temperatures. The Vernal Equinox, or Spring Equinox, is a time when day and night find balance and become of equal lengths. Ancient cultures associated it with being a time of rebirth, so it’s quite fitting that we’re introducing a brand-new IIPA, a style we’ve perfected with our Tsarina Bomb, brewed exclusively with Equinox (Ekuanot) hops.

Helmed by our brewer, Ben, this new beer is a smooth Imperial IPA bursting with aromas of berries, citrus and melon. It’s our first time using these hops, which was one of our main reasons for creating the Aequinox. “The choice of equinox was to showcase a hop variety we haven’t used before and brew a big beer to see out the winter and welcome in the spring,” says Ben. “We hope that the fruit aromas will invoke the not too far off summer with the high alcohol keeping off the seemingly perpetual cold.”

With the introduction of Equinox, we asked Ben if we can look forward to more beers like this in the following months: “This will be our first spring release. We have a few more batches up our sleeves for when the weather breaks and the ground starts to get green once again. “

We look forward to warm days ahead and to the promise of new beers to come.

Our new Aequinox will be available on Monday, March 20th in both our bottleshop (11 am) and brewpub (5 pm).

On beer + food

When first developing the menu for our brewpub, we wanted to make sure that the food was made to compliment our beers, or that the beer itself was an ingredient in these dishes. As both our food offerings and our beer list has grown and evolved, we decided to chat with our chef, Charles, about what his ideal pairings are for a great Bandit experience.

We gave Charles the very difficult task to match a few of our staples with what he considers to be the ideal Bandit beer. Charles’ approach to pairing is much more about contrasting flavours, not so much complimenting ones. He believes in playing with the ying-yang of taste in order to create something new and compelling.

Beer Battered Cheese Curds 

“I recommend our new pilsner, Hoppelgänger, for the clean, crisp quality that will compliment the sweetness of the cheese curds”, he tells us. Then again, there’s no bad pairing for cheese curds. We’ll pair them with water if it comes down to it. 

Charcuterie Board

As our charcuterie selection can change on the daily, it’s hard to pinpoint a specific beer to accompany it. Still, if it was Charles’ choice, he recommends a sour, like our Wizard of Gose. ” It brings out the savoury qualities of all the flavours on the board.” 

Steak & Potatoes

Our steak is marinated in our Smoke On The Porter for two days before the sous-vide. ” Our Brine of the Ancient Mariner Oyster Stout is going to be a delicious pairing in this case, but any of our stouts & porters will match well with the flavours on this plate.” The chimichurri oil on the steak only adds to the intricate flavours that come as a result of the pairing. 

Country Fried Chicken

“Our fried chicken is already a wonderful mixture of tastes and texture. Tsarina Bomb IIPA has all of the same characteristics and should complement the dish in a number of ways”, Charles tells us. The maltiness of our IIPA contrasts quite nicely with this dish, especially when topped with our hot sauce made in house using peppers. 

Zucchini & Eggplant “Ravioli”

Vegetarian and gluten-free, this dish is a myriad of flavours working together. “7 Rings ESGinger has all the right notes to balance the acidity of the tomato sauce, while the “ravioli” (zucchini and eggplant) itself will bring out the earthiness in our English Ale.”

To top it off, we recommend you get our Sticky Toffee Pudding, made with a Porter-infused caramel, so no pairing necessary for this cherry-on-top.

The State Of The Union: The return of our American Pale Ale

Our Bandit’s APA is back at the brewery after a few weeks off and we know how happy this news will make some of our friends. Part of the OG crew of staple Bandit beers, alongside Farmed & Dangerous and Smoke On The Porter, this little brother of the IPA world has quickly become a favourite amongst regulars and staff.

APAs are a bit nebulous when it comes to a definition. By and large, they are moderately bitter pale beers hovering between 5% and 6% ABV, and while they have some pronounced bitterness, they are milder than IPAs and usually less assertive in all rounds of hopping.

We asked Ben, our brewer, what his personal history with this style of beer is and why it was one of the first beers we brewed at Bandit:

“My personal history with them is pretty new. I spent the first good portion of my beer drinking life sticking to stouts and porters before switching to the hop forward styles. At that time BC seemed to have been going through a bitterness arms race with each brewery trying to make the bitterest IPA possible. Some were good, others were somewhat drinkable, but it pushed me towards the lower end of the bitterness spectrum and into APAs which weren’t quite as popular yet.”

Pale ales are fairly straightforward compared to many other styles. They generally have a fairly simple grain bill and use clean fermenting yeasts, although the variation we see in the style now allows for a lot of flexibility in terms of ingredients. Ultimately the style highlights the qualities of the hops used. The grains and yeast should play a supporting role in showing off the flavours and aromas derived from hop varieties and hopping techniques.

Our APA uses a combination of Ontario and US hops as well as a few different malts to give some honey and fruit aromas to add another dimension to the beer.

APAs have a general appeal. They are normally lower alcohol, have a lighter body, with enough bitterness to balance the beer and a lot of flavour and aroma. When they first hit the market they were entirely new and a vast change from the traditional North American Lager which dominated the markets. With the flourishing of beer styles in the last 20-30 years or so, the APA has remained a favourite as breweries have experimented with weirder and more niche styles such as Imperials, super bitter IPAs, sours and fruit beers. To the casual drinker, the APA is not only an easy stepping stone into the wild world of beer styles, but a great balance between flavour, drinkability and enjoyment.

Bandit’s APA is a beer for everyone.

 

 

Introducing: The Hoppelgänger

It may only be February, but we’re already getting in that hopeful spring mood. Perhaps as a result of this unexpected mid-winter heatwave (we haven’t worn a parka in weeks) or simply because we’re counting the days to patio season, but this influx of good vibes has made it the perfect time to release Hoppelgänger.

Hoppelgänger takes the idea of a traditional Pilsner and turns the volume up on all fronts. We wanted to create something crushable that really showcases the subtle qualities of German Noble hops, which were dry-hopped to balance the beer’s original maltiness without overpowering it.

This new Hopper Pilsner has delicate, floral Noble hops, which blend together into a smooth and flavourful pilsner. Geranium and citrus hang over a light biscuit character creating the perfect balance between flavour and drinkability. Sitting at 5% ABV, this is the ideal beer for a Sunday brunch with friends while dreaming of hot days ahead. 

With such a crisp finish, this beer really pairs well with most foods, but as our brewer Horacio tells us, “you can’t get any better than pairing it with German foods such as currywurst or other sausages.” If you’re drinking a Hoppelgänger while visiting our brewpub, our chef Charles recommends pairing it with our fried chicken or with our cheese board, as we’ve updated it with a fresh paneer cheese, which would complement the beer quite nicely.

Our new Hoppelgänger is available now at the brewpub and our bottleshop.

Citra, Eight Days A Week Session IPA

If you were to visit Bandit during brewing hours, you would be impressed by the variety of music our team plays. Everyone from Julio Iglesias to Chance The Rapper serve as constant inspiration, and long workdays turn into full-out jam sessions. The driving force behind this is Julian, the youngest Bandit in our brewing staff. Julian takes great pride in his passion for beer and music, so we weren’t surprised to find where his inspiration for our new beer came from.

“Some years ago when brewing was first introduced to me, I became fascinated with the world of hops,” Julian tells us.  “In the coming years I brewed with many different types of hops from around the globe in countless styles of beer, but I’ll never forget the first bag of Citra I opened. The tropical explosion was sensational and I had found my favourite hop… ever! While writing the recipe for Citra, Eight Days A Week Session IPA I wanted to encapsulate as much as that personal nostalgia as possible.  I was also listening to a lot of The Beatles at the time…”

His concept behind this Session IPA was to make a beer that really showcases Citra’s qualities, giving the hop the full spotlight. He kept the malt bill somewhat neutral with the use of melanoidin malt in order to give the beer a slight biscuit flavour. He smoothed out any bitterness and brought the aromatic hop forward.

“Dry hopped with Citra, this Session is as aromatic as can be,” he tells us. Indeed, the notes of papaya, pineapple and tangerine really shine through after a clean finish.

How does Julian picture people trying out this beer?

“This beer is best enjoyed with friends alongside your favourite record on a sunny day. If pairing beer with munchies is your thing look to salty/ fried foods like french fries and assorted nuts, curry dishes, and of course grilled meats… Steaks and hamburgers for the win!”

Our Citra, Eight Days Of The Week Session IPA is now available at our brewpub and bottleshop.

From Brazil With Love: 7 Rings ESGinger

As Bandit Brewery evolved over the past few months, we’ve been able to grow our brewery team considerably, bringing incredibly talented and inspired brewers into our Bandit family.

Horacio Jose started working with us soon after his arrival from Brazil, where he started out as an award- winning home brewer and ran his own micro-brewery, Beers Of War. His dedication and love of beer is contagious and he always manages to bring exciting new ideas to our table. During his time as a brewer in his native Brazil, he focused on English style beers with a twist; his Ginger IPA went on to win the country’s most important home-brewing award.

Our 7 Rings ESGinger is an updated version of his recipe, as ESB yeast is much more accessible in Canada. “The whole idea was to make a classic English style with something that reminded me of home”, he tells us. “I used crisp pale ale malt as a base, with crystal malts, English hops and an English strain yeast. I chose ginger to match the earthy character of the English hops.” A staple of the English pub, this Extra Special “Bitter” (British for draught beer) is a rich amber ale with a smooth malt character, classic English hops and sliced ginger to impart a bit of liveliness.

Horacio would pair our 7 Rings ESGinger with Thai food or an excellent aged cheddar.

Our new 7 Rings ESGinger is now available at our brewpub and bottleshop.

 

 

Barreling into 2017

Back in May, in the midst of the rush of our first month operating as a brewery, our brewery team started work on our first barrel-aged beer to be released in time for the Holidays. After ageing for 7 months in Niagara Pinot Noir wine barrels, we released what is now our first annual barrel-aged beer: Hibernator. Hibernator 2016 became a blend of a Barrel-aged orange stout and Brett cherry Imperial Stout. 

“Hibernator 2016 really started as two separate imperials stouts,” says brewer, Ben Morris.  “After our first tasting we knew blending was the way to go to get something complex that would also change over time”.

The process to choose a blend over the original bretts was a long but *very* fun one. Our brewing team started with 2 barrel aged beers and 2 of our heavier beers to start with blending. After going over couple dozen permutations of blends, we finally narrowed it down to 8 beers to choose from. We did a blind taste test among the team and the winner was Hibernator 2016. We bottled what was in the barrels and released a limited number (500) of bottles at the bottle-shop. Its smooth roast character and notes of orange peel, wine and oak won patrons (and staff) over immediately as it reflected the type of beer we Bandits love to drink. 

Our plans for Hibernator 2017 are even bolder, especially given the fact that we now have a full year to barrel-age.

 Ben tells us, “Our plans for 2017 are a little bigger. At this point, we’re looking at a 10% imperial with some sourness and seasonal fruits”

 You can expect our Hibernator 2017 to hit the bottle shop in December 2017. Stay tuned for updates!

A very Bandit 2016: a recap

As we look back at the year that was, we’re often reminded of our excitement (and exhaustion levels) back in April 2016. Our first beers were kegged, our draft line was installed, the (now famous) Bandit pint glasses had arrived; it was all getting too real: “We’re opening a brewery!” We had worked exhaustively for over a year to bring our vision to life and we had seen this small auto body shop slowly get transformed into the brewery of our dreams, but the realization that new guests and friends would be joining us for the Bandit experience in a few weeks was probably the highlight of the whole process.

It’s been now 8 months since we opened our doors to all and it’s been an extremely rewarding experience. We were so warmly welcomed by our neighbourhood (woot woot Roncy + Dundas West) and we’ve gained a great network of good friends. We are very lucky to have such a kind and supportive community!

With the arrival of warm weather, our bottle shop, and our patio, we saw the influx of friends from different pockets of our city and other parts of Ontario. The first line-ups at the bottle shop and those endless patio nights seeing everyone enjoy a pint of our Farmed & Dangerous were definitively some of our highlights of 2016; moments that had us grinning like fools.

We started out with 6 staple beers and we’ve been able to get up to 16 this December. We’re thrilled to have seen our brewing team grow under the lead of our brewers, Ben and Stephane. We have a solid team that’s constantly striving for excellence and creativity, all while remaining truthful to our brewing motto: “We focus on making great beer that we’d like to drink ourselves”.

As we make our way into this new year there’s already lots of tinkering in our lab and several exciting plans in progress to keep innovating and creating new experiences for you. The next few months will be an exciting time for Bandit, and we hope you’ll stay tuned for it all.

Happy 2017 Bandits!

Oyster Stout is here

It was during a chilly Sunday morning in December that we hosted some of our Bandit friends at the brewery for a morning of brewing, drinking and feasting on some delicious PEI oysters. Ben, our brewer, came in at 6 am that morning to start the process – making the mash, chucking in 400 oysters into it, and letting them cook sous-vide for an hour. We then took out the oysters, shucked them and served them to our guests along with a pint.

 

But what happened to that beer? The oyster-y beer goodness has been fermenting for the last month and …

“It’s now the Brine of the Ancient Mariner” Ben tells us.

Our new Oyster stout, a medium bodied stout with chocolate and coffee notes and a distinct marine brine character will be available both at the Brewpub and the Bottle shop starting this Friday (Jan 13) at 5 pm.

 

Holiday Hours

Bandit Brewery wishes you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the coming year! 
While our brewpub will be closed, we made sure you won’t be running out of Bandit Beers during the holidays. Our Bottleshop remains open, Timings listed below:
December 24
Brewpub Closed
Bottleshop Open from 11am – 6pm
December 25
Brewpub Closed
Bottleshop Open from 11am – 11pm
December 31
Brewpub Closed
Bottleshop Open from 11am – 8pm
January 1
Brewpub Closed
Bottleshop Open from 11am – 11pm