Bandit Brewery Farmed & Dangerous Belgian Farmhouse Ale, Toronto, Ontario (Alcohol 6.5% IBU 22) Available from brewery $5 (500ml)
Due to nothing less than a middle-aged fear of gout, I’ve recently found myself turning away from “Dad beers” as I overheard a couple of young ladies call them a few months ago. In that case they were referring to the beers of Bellwoods Brewery, but I’ve decided to use this term to describe much of the local craft beer that has become available in our market over the past five years or so. Whilst it may be a case of severe hypochondria, I’m sure I can actually feel my feet beginning to ache as soon as I swallow even a thimbleful of one of these so-called Dad Beers. Perhaps my palate is going through some hormonally influenced evolution/regression, but I’ve found that I really cannot stomach many of these intensely hopped, higher alcohol and, in many cases, sweeter brews. With this in mind I’ve previously been a little less than impressed with the offerings of Dundas West’s Bandit Brewery. Now, it’s not that I thought that they were terrible beers. Quite the opposite really. They just weren’t for the particular manner my palate is slanted these days.
Now, on Sunday evening, due to our archaic liquor laws, I missed the LCBO as I got back to the city around 6pm. Thirsty for multiple beers after some eight hours of driving, I checked into Bandit and walked away with a selection of their current selection. Whilst the other beers (Cone Ranger, Hoppelgänger) were indeed well crafted, it was the Farmed & Dangerous that brought me the most joy. So much so that my running commentary on how much I was enjoying it was cut short by my wife telling me stop at once as we were both watching a film at the time.
Pouring a cloudy orange with a reasonable head and lacing, it looks akin to a fizzy one of those orange wines that everyone seems to like except me. There are some very appealing grassy characteristics on the nose, these are coupled with an extremely pleasant orange-studded-with-cloves aromatics. A hint of barnyard funkiness. I didn’t find the bouquet to be too overpowering at all. Huge aromatics are not something I’m so fond of in beers at this stage in my life. In the mouth I found this beer to be remarkably well balanced, with just a touch of sweetness that was relieved by a bright freshness on the palate. Pretty low level of carbonation here. A touch of bitterness on the finish, but perfectly balanced in my opinion. I’ll be back to pick up some more soon.
(Four apples out of a possible five)
Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he’ll have some of that.