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Introducing: Bandit’s Hibernator 2017

It was a few months after our grand opening in April 2016 that we purchased our first barrels. The idea to produce a really special and unique beer to release during the holiday season was one that we had from the beginning, as it gives us the opportunity to try new and exciting things. With very few barrels available and working against the time-crunch (barrel-aging takes its own sweet time and we only had 6 months), we were pretty happy to release our first version of Hibernator in December of 2016. Hibernator 2016 consisted of a blend of a barrel-aged orange stout and a Brett cherry Imperial Stout and although it had a very limited release, it set the tone for the kind of winter beers we’d like to make going forward.

This year we’ve almost tripled our number of barrels, which has allowed us to become much more ambitious in our barrel-aging endeavors, not only for our Hibernator release but also for other seasonal beers such as new sours and Brett beers. With equipment upgrades and some MacGyvering, we were able to more effectively transfer and carbonate what would otherwise be too small of a batch. All of this, combined with having a lot more time to allow for the aging process, has resulted in a pretty spectacular, full-bodied, full-flavoured new beer that we’re thrilled to introduce just in time for the holiday festivities: Hibernator 2017 (8.2%).

Our goal for this year’s Hibernator release was to make something that while aging and drying out would bring forward the Brett fruitiness, orange and chocolate aromas of the beer. This year’s version, while only slightly higher in package ABV, accomplished exactly what we had hoped for. By blending an Imperial Brett orange Stout with an American Stout, we managed to round out some of the roast characters with the fruitiness of the barrel beer. The Imperial Stout was brewed back in July of 2016 and has been allowed to age for just over 15 months in a barrel with orange peel and Brett, which resulted in a distinctive chocolate/orange profile. The blending itself always turns out to be one of the most interesting parts of the process when creating Hibernator, as it’s equal parts messy and fun. Bandit brewer Ben went into more detail when talking about the process: “We start with a round-table free for all of blending samples from our stable Stouts and Porters with a wide selection of barrel beer until we get to something we like and then put it to a vote with the team.” Considering that each member of our brewery team has a very specific and different taste in beers, this can sometimes be a lengthy decision. “The final blending, once we’ve decided on a recipe, is thankfully a bit easier and all individual barrels and other beer are blended directly in the bright tank,” he adds.

When asked what plans the team has for next year’s version of Hibernator, Ben simply tells us: “ Something beefy, since we have some unrelated barrels coming out that clock in around 11% and I think next year will feature some strong Stouts mixed in with a special sour cherry Stout.”

A very limited number (300) of 750 ml bottles will be released on Friday, December 15th in our Bottle Shop. There will be a limit of 4 bottles per person on the day of the release.

* Fun tip (if you can fight the temptation to open and drink immediately): The beer is going to change a bit. Our brewers recommend letting it sit cool (8-15° C) for a few weeks to allow the Brett and wild yeast to continue to chew up some sugars and give off more flavours before cracking it. If 2016 is any indication, the final aged version pours like black Champagne.

Take Bandit Home for the Holidays: The 2017 Bandit Brewery Gift Guide

The lights on the tree are sparkling, the holiday music plays on loop everywhere, and yet, you haven’t even started your holiday shopping, have you? Trust us, we know and understand the struggle. Every year we say we’ll do better, we’ll do our shopping early to avoid the rat race that December shopping turns into, we’ll take advantage of those end of summer sales and find some real treasures that will surely impress all our loved ones (“Oh, she’s SO thoughtful and generous, that one,” they’ll say). And yet, here we find ourselves once again, trying to figure out if Amazon will be able to deliver all these last-minute gifts in time for the holidays. Make Bandit’s Bottle Shop your one-stop shopping destination this holiday season and avoid the crowds and all the noise of the mall, all while scoring some extra points for getting some unique gifts for your beer-loving mom or your Toronto-proud, raccoon-obsessed best friend.

This holiday season, we are delighted to introduce the arrival of new and unique pieces, all exclusive to the Bandit bottle-shop. With gift ideas that range from the much-coveted Bandit logo glassware to prints of your favourite Bandit label art, produced by our artist-in-residence Aurelien Vervaoke (more on him here), you’re sure to make someone extra jolly during this festive season of giving. Inspired by our love of the city of Toronto, our raccoon-themed merch is sure to stand out and bring extra holiday cheer to your festivities!

All of these items are available now in the Bandit Brewery Bottle Shop, open daily 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM.

For daily updates on Bottle Shop beer selection please visit:

www.banditbrewery.ca/#beer

Bandit Brewery Four-Pack (500 ml bottles): $20

Bandit Logo Tee- available in Women’s and Unisex sizes: $28.00

Bandit Brewery Bottle Opener: $4.00

Bandit Logo Stemmed Taster Glass (215 ml)- $6.00 each

Bandit Logo Flight Glass: $6.00 each

Bandit Logo (16 oz) Pint Glass: $8.00 each

Bandit Label print: $30.00

Bandit Canvas Beer Tote Bag: $25.00

Bandit Brewery Gift Card 

Smoke on the Porter cotton hoodie: $55.00

Taking “Comfort” Up a Notch: Bandit’s Fall/Winter 2017 Menu

It’s fair to say that “patio season” is the most coveted time of the year in Toronto. We wait around all year for that time of the year in which we can sit outside in the balmy weather, eating and drinking as if we’ll never have access again to cheese, wine and beers. We patio-hop, we line up for obscene amounts of time to get a table, and we munch on a variety of snacks and shareable dishes with as many friends as possible during a short period of time. It’s no wonder then that by the time the weather takes a turn for shorter days and chillier nights, we begin to crave something more relaxed yet more satisfying.

It is with this premise that our chef Daniel created our Fall/ Winter 2017 menu; raising the bar on the concept of “comfort food”, all while featuring an array of nutritious, delicious and hearty ingredients. “The idea behind this menu was to create fun, seasonal dishes that would give guests the freedom to either enjoy a full meal or to share dishes with friends and family,” says Daniel. Bandit Brewery was created with the idea of bringing the community together over beer, and we felt it necessary for our new food offerings to reflect that. While keeping some of our beloved mainstays, such as our beer-battered cheese curds, on the menu, we introduced other soul-warming favourites such as Welsh Rarebit. “I mean, who doesn’t like good melted cheese and sourdough on a cold day?” adds Daniel. Another key element that our kitchen kept in mind while developing the new dishes is variety, especially considering that we have a wide assortment of beers and a tap list that rotates frequently in colder months. Pairing our menu items with our beers is something our trained staff is passionate about, and the exciting selection of ingredients in our F/W menu is already making some pretty superb combinations!

Daniel approached each new dish with thoughtfulness and creativity. Some dishes are more personal than others ( the Warm Lentil and Rapini dish was a way to pay homage to his Southern Italian roots), while others are a way for him to deliver hearty and rustic elements into the types of “comfort foods” that we usually like to enjoy with beer.

Some of the highlights of our new Fall/ Winter menu include:

CAULIFLOWER AREPA  
Crispy cauliflower, chili vinaigrette, burnt green onion sauce, pickled onion & cilantro

SHAVED ROOT VEG SALAD
Seasonal root veg, creme fraiche, walnut, apple gastrique

BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN   
Air chilled Ontario half chicken, freshly baked biscuit, house pickles, white gravy, bacon

WARM RAPINI & LENTIL  
Blue potato, balsamic, ricotta salata, almond, Enoki mushroom

BRATWURST & SPAETZLE 
German sausage, fresh-made yam spaetzle, brown butter, fermented sauerkraut

 

If you are salivating after reading all about these new offerings, know that this is only half of our menu!

For more information and a full menu please visit the Food section of our website.

Sour News: Introducing Bandit’s Wizard of Gose – Kumquat

Since the introduction of Bandit’s Wizard of Gose (Apricot Gose, 4.2%) over a year ago, we have gone through an exorbitant amount of apricots in order to keep up with demand and to keep our thirsty customers satisfied. Its combination of sweet, tart and salt has built quite a loyal following. Our love for the style has kept our brewery team exploring new possibilities and tinkering with recipes and ingredients for the last year, so we’re thrilled to announce the release of our Wizard of Gose – Kumquat. 

Although it has experienced a resurgence in past years, Gose was pretty much a thing of mythology for decades. With roots that date back to the early 1600s in the small German town of Gosler (hence the name), it’s a beer that relied on spontaneous fermentation to achieve its distinct sourness. As brewing practices became more refined, brewers realized that they could use lactic acid bacteria and yeast to accomplish the same results while having more control over the process. Our original Wizard of Gose’s recipe involves an addition of lactic acid bacteria to bring the sourness forward. Our new Kumquat version’s recipe doesn’t stray too far from our original recipe, although working with Kumquats brings a new series of challenges to our team. “Working with kumquats can be slightly more tedious than apricots or other stone fruit. De-seeding and pureeing them is a lengthy process and the pith has a habit of separating from the puree, making it difficult to work with,” Bandit brewer Ben Morris tells us, all while rolling his eyes at a lone kumquat sitting on the bar.

When asked about the reason why Kumquat was chosen as our new Gose release, Ben shares: “Despite that brief period of scorching heat at the end of September it’s going to be a long and slow crawl to spring. The kumquat is something that screams summer and warmth and we figured it was the best way to have some fun with a staple beer and go into the dark months with a final splash of summer.”  With other recent additions such as the NZ dry-hopped Farmed & Dangerous Saison, we wanted to add a hint of tropical coolness to our beer list at the same time as we introduce heavier winter beers such as our Metamorphoses Imperial Rye and our upcoming barrel-aged beer releases.

So what can we expect from our new Wizard of Gose – Kumquat, you ask? For starters, a bigger burst of intensity and sourness than its apricot counterpart. This new Gose contains a citric acid component that our apricot version lacks, and while it helps to soften the acidity it also makes it linger on the palate.

This is just the first variation on our Wizard of Gose, and you can expect other exciting releases in the coming months.

Wizard of Gose- Kumquat (4.2%) is available this Friday on tap and in our bottle shop.

That’s So Meta! – Introducing Bandit’s Metamorphoses

It was during one of his regular evenings out on the search for the perfect cocktail that our brewer Ben got hit with a bit of inspiration for our newest beer release. A beer lover, maker, and drinker, Ben is also a bit of a cocktail aficionado (with very high standards, we should add). This cocktail really spoke to him as it combined a blend of whiskeys served on a slate tray with smoldering cedar and orange peel. Its warmth and aromatic characteristics inspired Ben to decide to make a whiskey centered beer for Bandit’s winter beer lineup.

Our first (and only) experience brewing a Rye beer was with the Roggen, a special release for Bandit Oktoberfest 2016; a beer that proved to be a hit with our regulars due to its “easy-drinking” qualities and its ability to pair nicely with a variety of foods. This new Imperial Rye Ale shares a similar base with the Roggen but has a healthy addition of beechwood and peat smoked malts, which gives this beer an extra punch. This new beer comes in just north of 10% ABV and has a more complex caramel, molasses, and barrel character from its time aging in two French oak wine barrels.

Our Metamorphoses (Imperial Rye Ale, 10.22%) is the first official bottle release of our Fall/Winter beer lineup- most of which will be high gravity barrel aged beers, but the smoke and peat elements make this beer stand out from our other beer release plans. The peat smoke malt is used to give scotch and other whiskeys their distinctive taste, and here, it was used to bring forward the desired Islay or Highland element in the beer. The beechwood smoked malt gives it a more traditional wood-smoke aroma and helps to soften and round out the smoke element. A healthy amount of Caramunich malts is what brings forward the amber colour and the caramel sweetness. After three months of aging in the barrels, the beer continued to ferment, clarify, and impart the subtle oak character. Overall, the process has to be slightly slowed down compared to the way we brew other beers since rye can be a bit tricky to work with. Its high protein content can quickly turn the mash into a sticky, glue-like consistency, so we have to be extra careful when brewing with it.

We asked Ben, the brewer at the helm of this beer, to share with us what his experience brewing this extra-special Winter release was like: “Brewing it was the easy part. The fun part was trying it out of the barrel and watching it change every time; as it became stronger, drier, and with more oak character. It’s a firm reminder that beer is living, and sometimes the most fun you can have is watching to see what it will do when given the right amount of time.”

Our Metamorphoses (Imperial Rye Ale, 10.2%) will be available exclusively in our bottle shop as of Friday, November 17th.

NZ Farmed & Dangerous: A Hint of the Tropics

As one of our Opening Day beers, our Farmed & Dangerous Saison has been one of the beers we’ve enjoyed tinkering and experimenting with the most. You’ve seen an array of different Saison versions from us in the past; some with a variety of Brett strains (wild yeast) and a change in Saccharomyces, but this time around we decided to try something totally new (for us) and unexpected. Our new Double Dry- hopped New Zealand version of Farmed & Dangerous (5.8% ABV) is sure to blow your mind off with a hint of the tropics.

This variation of a classic Belgian Saison has been heavily dry-hopped using hops exclusively from New Zealand; Pacifica and Motueka hops to be specific. Pacifica hops are known for their “orange zest” character and are usually used to bitter styles such as lagers and pale ales. Motueka hops are regularly seen in a wide array of beer styles, from Pilsners to Saisons, and are known to impart a tropical fruit and lime character to the beer. Combined together they bring something completely new to our Farmed & Dangerous. Highlighting the hops is not usually something you want with a Saison, which only made us want to do this even more (we’re pretty sacrilegious like that!) and kept the brewing process fun and interesting.

With notes of the Pacific, a pungent touch of lime and tropical fruit, and a delicate floral background, we are thrilled to introduce this extremely “crushable” beer during this winter’s first snowfall. Everyone can use a bit of tropical wanderlust just about now!

Our NZ Farmed & Dangerous is available now on tap at our brewpub and in our bottle shop.

Introducing: Lambicus Farmed & Dangerous

As we announced a few weeks back, our fall lineup promises the return of some old favourites, the introduction of new seasonal styles, and a distinct variety of some of our staple beers. We’re thrilled to welcome our first Fall 2017 release to our brewpub and bottleshop: a brand new Lambicus version of our Farmed & Dangerous Saison, one of our original beers since opening day.

While we’ve released a few brett beers in the past, such as our Brett Bretterson and Brett or Alive, this new beer remains close to our original Saison recipe; all that’s altered is its yeast content. Just like we often vary the hops used in our 8 Days a Week (Session Ale) series to highlight each individual hop, we hope to do something similar with our Farmed & Dangerous, but instead altering its yeast strain. By exposing the beer to a wild yeast strain and bacteria that aren’t as controlled, its characteristics mutate and create something quite different and unique.

Stephane, the Bandit brewer at the helm of this beer, took inspiration from some of the Belgian beers that influenced his taste in beer while growing up in France. “Yeast is the most interesting ingredient in any Belgian- style Saison, so it only makes sense to have some fun and experiment with different types of it,” he tells us.

Our Farmed & Dangerous is brewed exclusively with saccharomyces cervisiae, what is considered to be the “regular yeast”, which provides a clean and spicy flavour. Adding Brett Lambicus (Brettanomyces Lambicus), a brett yeast strain with intense barnyard and smokey flavours, brings another dimension and depth to this beer, making it earthier, leathery and slightly fruity. Some might even say its “funky” or “dirty”, and they would be completely right!

Our new Lambicus Farmed & Dangerous is now available both on tap and in our bottleshop this Friday, October 20th.

Bandit Banter: Meet Brewer Stephane Dubois

As we continue to bring you closer to our brewing process and philosophy, we find that the best way to do this is by simply grabbing a pint with a member of our brewing team and asking them the hard-hitting questions (jk- we’re just chatting beer). This week we sit down for a few minutes with Stephane Dubois, Bandit Brewery’s owner and brewer, to talk about his personal views on beer and beer-making.

What’s the first Craft Beer you ever tried?

A black IPA on a boat in Chicago. Very bitter with strong exotic fruit flavour; delicious!

What’s your favourite hop to work with?

Definitely Amarillo!

What’s your favourite style of beer?

Depends on the time, but IPA is a constant. I think it’s always the first beer I order anywhere.

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

We tend to do quite a lot beer tasting at work, and I try to go visit other breweries as much as I can, so actually mostly drink wine at home.

What is your favourite food to pair with beer?

Probably good bread and artisanal cheese (what people call stinky cheese preferably), or just fries!

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

Probably a blue beer.

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

Definitely red wine. An earthy or peppery red wine, maybe from the Bordeaux region; that would probably be my go-to. Recently, I was very impressed by my visit to Hinterbrook winery, in the Niagara area. I fell in love with their Cabernet Franc!

In the coming months you’ll get to meet the rest of the team, and hopefully, by getting to read their contrasting answers, you’ll get a better idea of what they’re bringing to the table together. It’s all about teamwork at Bandit Brewery!

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

A Sneak Peek of Bandit’s Fall 2017 Lineup

With days getting shorter and nights getting cooler, it’s clear that we’re heading towards an early end of summer. In any case, this is never bad news for beer lovers, as Fall brings the promise of new, rich and sometimes experimental beers. In the words of Bandit’s brewer, Ben: “Weather and temperature greatly affect our taste buds and what we crave. It’s not often that in a 30 degree, 100% humidity summer day you would crave a 10% ABV Imperial Stout. With the temperature slowly dropping we tend to shift towards maltier and fuller tasting beers to keep off the fall and winter chill.”

In our initial year, as our Hefeweizens and Session Ales went into hibernation mode, we saw the release of plenty of dark beers, such as Stouty McStoutface and Smoke on the Porter; two beers that instantly became part of our list of Bandit staples. One of our main challenges was the lack of time since we were just coming off our summer opening and there was not enough time to plan and execute all of the ambitious plans for Fall beers that we would have loved to do.The release of four (!!!!) Oktoberfest German classic beers is something we were very proud to accomplish, although these beers left us with very few taps to accommodate other beers in. Some of these recipes have since been tinkered with and improved and will be seeing the light of day in this year’s Fall beer lineup.

We asked Ben what styles we can expect to see more of this Fall at the brewery: “Definitively more brown or lighter Porters and some new Rye beers if time permits.” This type of variety in dark beers will allow us to introduce Porters and Stouts to drinkers who might usually stay away from them based on a perception that the beer will be too heavy and overpowering. Other exciting plans ahead include a selection of barrel-aged beers scheduled for October (some mention of a whiskey inspired barrel beer has got us really looking forward to sweater season).

Since our barrel capacity has grown in the last few months, we expect a varied selection of blends and Brett beers to join the lineup. Last year our few barrels were mostly filled with Imperial Stouts and a lone sour. As we encourage and empower each member of our brewery team to create their own unique barrel beer, we expect to see a wider assortment of beer styles across the board.

Our hope is that these Fall beers will serve as a smooth transition into the Winter months, in which we expect to see even richer beers such as our yearly December release, Hibernator 2017.

Stay tuned for more specific information and release dates as they will be announced in the next month.

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