The January Beer of the Month: A Tour of Foolproof Brewing Co. and an interview with founder Nick Garrison

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I had the good fortune of enjoying a private tour and beer tasting in Rhode Island's newest entry into it's burgeoning craft brewery revolution, the Foolproof Brewing Company. The company's President and founder, Nick Garrison, was kind enough to answer a few questions for our beer geek faithful, here's what Nick had to say...


1. What was the genesis of Foolproof? Did you always know you wanted to brew beer? Did you start out as a home brewer?

Like most people in the industry, I first got into brewing as a hobby. I was immediately hooked, and after brewing all of the beer for my wedding and receiving rave reviews, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life. My wife and I sat down during our honeymoon and talked about how awesome it would be to own our own place (she actually made the suggestion, not me!). At that moment, I knew I was going to open up a brewery. It then took four years of painstaking research, writing, networking, team building, planning, and financing to pull Foolproof together. It's easy to forget sometimes how much went into the whole process of getting Foolproof up and running. 


2. All of the Foolproof varietals are great, but if you had to make "Sophie's Choice" and drink only one, which one would it be?

Like a parent talking about their children, I love them all the same! However, if I were stranded on a desert island with only one keg of Foolproof, I'd have to go with Backyahd – our signature IPA. I'm definitely a hop head. 



3. Favorite non-Foolproof, non-New England beer of choice?

That's really a tough question because I like to try as many different varieties of beers as possible and typically don't stick with one particular brewery or brand. As for non-Foolproof beers, Fuller's ESB, Orval, and Greenflash IPA will always hold a special place in my heart. When in doubt, I'll always reach for a local beer or something I've never tried before.


4. Fruit in beer? Good thing, bad thing, or indifferent?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people love fruit beers, and some people hate them, and that's ok. Personally, I'm not a big fruit beer guy myself, but I would never disparage anyone who is. One pet peeve of mine is when I hear somebody say that a beer is bad (a fruit beer for example), but in reality, it's just that they don't happen to like that particular style of beer. For example, you could be drinking the best pumpkin beer in the world, but if pumpkins are not your cup of tea, you're obviously going to hate it. That doesn't mean that what you're drinking is a bad beer though.


5. Any tips for the first time home brewer? Good kits to buy, classes to take?

First and foremost – just go for it! Homebrewing is all about experimentation, and you can't get too wrapped up worrying about whether or not the beer will taste good (it usually will). Once you get a couple batches under your belt, you'll be amazed by how good the beer tastes. Like anything in life, the more you do something, the better you get at it. I would definitely recommend picking up the book, "How to Brew" by John Palmer or any of Charlie Papazian's books. As for equipment, your best bet is to head to the nearest homebrewing store and ask for advice.


6. I'm a big supporter of drinking local brew, explain to our readers why it's important to buy local beer.

Most Americans don't realize that prior to Prohibition, there was a brewery in nearly every town in this country. Once Prohibition hit, most American breweries were forced to close and only a handful survived. These breweries evolved to form an oligopoly of sorts and unfortunately, all pretty much started brewing the same style of beer – American light lager (i.e., yellow fizzy stuff). Thankfully, we've finally emerged from the dark ages of American brewing, and fresh locally brewed beer is once again abundantly available and in high demand. When you drink local brew, you are most likely supporting a local small business, which I think we can all agree is good for the economy. You're also getting beer that was brewed nearby, which means it's probably fresh because it was brewed recently and hasn't traveled far. Compare that to a beer that was shipped across the country or from overseas and might already be months old, may have been exposed to extreme temperatures, prolonged sunlight, etc. In short, drinking local is a win-win for everyone.


Thanks for answering our questions, Nick, now onto the tour...



The Foolproof Brewing Company is located in Pawtucket, RI, just outside of Providence. When I arrived, I was met by President and founder, Nick Garrison, who gave me a quick  tutorial on Foolproof's current offerings.




















Foolproof currently offers three different varietals, the "Backyard" India Pale Ale, the "Barstool" American Golden Ale, and it's latest brew, the "Raincloud" Robust Porter. Here are my quick takes...

"Backyard" India Pale : This one was a classic golden colored IPA, with hoppy goodness and fruity notes. It reminded a little bit of Magic Hat #9's cool cousin. Not as boisterous, but really drinkable and refreshing. This could very well be my Summertime beer of choice in the near future. 6% ABV


"Barstool" American Golden Ale: For an American Golden Ale, this was reminiscent of an old friend just north of us, I speak of classic Molson Golden Ale. I used to drink a ton of it way back when, and it never let me down. I get the same feeling from this baby. 4.5% ABV


"Raincloud' "Robust Porter: This is about to be released very soon, so I had the priveliege of trying this right from the brewing tank, and it did not disappoint. Chocolately, yeasty, full bodied and downright yummy. I'm a sucker for a good Porter, and this one is right up there with the best of them. A solid 6.5% ABV.



Currently Foolproof Brewing Company offers its brew on tap in fine local bars and watering holes, but within the next month they plan on distributing all three offering in these cool retro cans throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts...and potentially THE WORLD OVER. Nick will also be pouring brew at the upcoming , so be sure to stop by and say hello.


Foolproof offers beer tours on Fridays at 4pm and 5pm, from 12:00pm-4pm Saturday, and you can get to sample all three current offerings.

Beer of the Month

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