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So far bbadmin has created 21 blog entries.

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.