Bandit Brewery
By Andrea Yu

From Homebrewer to Brewpub Owners

It was over pints at a Toronto craft beer institution that Stephane Dubois first met Shehzad Hamza through a mutual friend. It was a fitting location as they quickly bonded over their shared passion for interesting and unique beers. Stephane was a homebrewer and the two would often drink Stephane’s concoctions while joking about how fun it would be to start their own brewery.

“One day, we just really talked about it and said, ‘Okay, maybe we can do this’,” Shehzad recalls. “So we just went for it.” Bandit Brewery, named after the city’s notorious garbage-scavenging creature, opened in a former Roncesvalles auto mechanic garage in the summer of 2016.

It’s a casual, relaxed atmosphere – an approachable place with a really wide selection of beer. - Shehzad Hamza, co-owner
Stephane Dubois first met Shehzad Hamza through a mutual friend and instantly bonded through their mutual love for brewed beer.

A Wide Selection for Every Palate

Stephane and Shehzad designed Bandit Brewery to be the brewpub they wanted to visit in the city. “It’s a casual, relaxed atmosphere – an approachable place with a really wide selection of beer,” Shehzad explains. There are at least 12 Bandit beers on tap every day that rotate from a selection of Brewmaster Ben Morris’ in-house recipes. Options range from light, tart and refreshing German-style wheat ales to aromatic, dry-hopped IPAs. “There’s something you’ll find that you like,” Shehzad promises.

Bandit Brewery’s most popular beer – Smoke on the Porter – was actually adapted from one of Stephane’s homebrewed recipes. “It’s a nice, dark, smoky porter,” Ben explains. “There’s lots of peppercorn in it. It’s very delicious.” To accompany your Bandit brews, there are a selection of shareable bites on offer like charcuterie boards, beer-battered cheese curds and chicken tails, to name a few. All items feature fresh, local ingredients and pair perfectly with beer.

Bandit Brewery evokes the feeling of a German beerhall with communal picnic tables and ethereal lights strung across the ceiling.
The open-concept design at Bandit Brewery lets bar patrons see the tanks and fermenters that their beer was made in.

A German Beer Hall in Toronto

After lengthy renovations that transformed the former auto garage into an ideal space for brewing and drinking, the results retain an industrial feel with modern European flair. Bandit Brewery evokes the feeling of a German beerhall with communal picnic tables and ethereal lights strung across the ceiling. They kept the mechanic’s garage doors which opens up to a spacious patio, perfect for summer drinking.

The open-concept design lets bar patrons see the tanks and fermenters that their beer was made in. By letting patrons peek into the beer-making process at Bandit Brewery, Shehzad and Stephane hope to encourage discussions with and between customers about the enjoyment of great beer. “It’s at more of an interactive level with the beer and talking about the ingredients – the way that it was brewed,” Shehzad says. “We’re creating an open conversation with our customers about beer, but we never want to be preachy about it.”

Bandit Brewery opened in a former Roncesvalles auto mechanic garage in the summer of 2016.
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