Nick Garrison, founder and president of Foolproof Brewing Company, hasn’t let Rhode Island’s small size hinder his brewery. Though Foolproof is located in Pawtucket, the fourth largest city in the smallest state in the country, Garrison and his team are churning out beers with just as much nuance and depth as any craft beer you’d find anywhere else.
Brewing Classic Styles and Experimental Beers
Founded in 2012, Foolproof Brewing Company encourages customers to pair their beers with experiences, a philosophy and practice which they refer to as “experience-based brewing.” In fact, each beer in their portfolio comes with an experience pairing right in the beer description. For their appropriately named “Yahd Series,” based on the Rhode Island-accented pronunciation of “yard,” each beer takes the drinker down a different road. It’s this approachable, lively branding that has helped Foolproof continue to grow.
“I think they way we treat beer and brewing as an experience sets us apart from other breweries…In essence, we’re trying to connect with beer lovers wherever they may live…not just in Rhode Island,” explained Garrison.
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There’s a bit of something for every drinker in Foolproof’s portfolio. The brewery’s original lineup of beers treads on fairly safe ground in terms of style, but since then, they’ve added experimental and fringe styles like a peanut butter porter, a chocolate oyster stout, a raspberry IPA, and a kettle-sour gose with kelp.
While their Backyahd IPA was once their top seller, their recently released New-England style IPA, The Grotto, has superseded it.
Exploring Rhode Island’s Craft Beer Scene
Garrison sees room for growth in terms of local retailers and bar managers stocking Rhode Island-made beer.
“The culture of supporting local beer still has a long way to go in Rhode Island. You can walk into a lot of bars here that serve no beers from Rhode Island,” he tells us. “That seems crazy to me when you consider that we have more than 18 breweries in the Ocean State now.”
Garrison hopes to turn the tide through his role on the Rhode Island Brewers Guild board. Through the guild’s new Brewery Trail program, you can enjoy local beers in the quest for a finisher’s prize after trying beer from every brewery in the state. With an area so small, Garrison notes, you could likely hit all the state’s breweries over the span of one well-planned weekend–a pipe dream in other more sprawling beer havens.
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A Great Home for a Brewery
Though Garrison is excited as the brewery continues to grow and expand both inside and outside of the region, he feels right at home in Pawtucket. He saw the town’s world-class water treatment facility, a business-friendly mayor and economic development team as major draws.
“I also just really admired and connected with the pulse and feel of the city of Pawtucket and felt it would be a great home for a craft brewery,” he adds.
Owning a brewery can be tough business. There’s no perfect alchemy to guarantee success. However, as Foolproof Brewing Company continues to grow, expand and brew new beers, one thing is clear: These men and women care about their beer. There’s an undeniable pride emanating from the operation and there are big things coming from this small state.
Foolproof Beers to Try
The Grotto IPA, 6.5% ABV, available in 16-oz. cans and on draught. A northeast-style IPA, this hazy beer has a pleasant fruity aroma that parlays into a crisp taste. It’s almost effervescent and is eminently drinkable, making it fit for year-round enjoyment. Grassy notes give it a fresh appeal and Foolproof’s dreamy artwork draws admiration of what’s inside and out of the can.
Barstool, American Golden Ale, 4.5% ABV, available in 12-oz. cans and on draught. True middle road, this golden ale is just right. Tastefully poised in malt and hop character, this drinkable beer is lively and fresh. In a world sometimes obsessed with big-body beers, Barstool is a balanced beauty.
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