We chat to Nick Garrison to hear how Foolproof came to be, “experience-based brewing”, homebrewing the beer for his own wedding, and more…
First things first, why did you decide to start Foolproof Brewing Company?
For me, Foolproof has always been a collision of two passions – a love for beer and homebrewing, combined with an entrepreneurial desire to start and run my own business. I had a good-paying stable job that I left behind in 2012 to open the brewery, and I’ve never looked back.
Is it true you brewed all the beer for your wedding back when you were still homebrewing? What style did you brew, and were you nervous about how it’d turn out?
That is true. Sadly, I don’t brew much these days given all of the things that occupy my time running the day-to-day operations at Foolproof. I like to joke that I brew spreadsheets these days. But yes, I brewed eight different beers for the wedding. While I don’t recall them all off hand, I do remember receiving a lot of compliments for my IPA and witbier in particular. Frankly, I think there were other things that I was more nervous about that day! Also, a lot of people have asked me if any of those recipes eventually became Foolproof products. The short answer is “no,” though there are certainly some similarities with some of our current beers.
You talk about “experience-based brewing” – what does that mean and how did you come up with the concept?
For me, beer has always been about the experience – whom you’re drinking with, the setting, the weather, or your mood. I believe beer can bring people together and lead to a shared experience and cherished memories. I also believe that there’s a perfect beer for nearly every occasion – a rainy day, backyard barbecue, night out with friends, or maybe just the end of a really long workday. From day one, I knew everything about the Foolproof brand was going to be a celebration of the experience of beer. Sadly, I see beer drifting away from this idea. At the risk of sounding like an old guy, a lot of beer drinkers today seem more interested in rating and “badging” their beers rather than celebrating the sacred and ancient experience of enjoying a malt beverage.
We’re excited to be featuring Backyahd and Barstool in our Craft Beer Club this month, what can you tell us about those beers?
I’m excited too! Backyahd and Barstool are literally the first two beers we ever brewed, so they hold a special place in my heart. Barstool is a wonderfully drinkable golden ale with a crisp Saaz hop finish and slightly sweet malt profile – it’s a simple yet complex beer. I envisioned the perfect beer to catch up with friends sitting on a barstool and enjoying a few pints over the course of an evening.
Backyahd is the quintessential American barbecue brew. It’s more of a traditional IPA (versus a hazy juice bomb) with hop flavors and aromas dominated by Cascade and El Dorado. The beer pairs perfectly with a variety of barbecue dishes. Also, for those of you unfamiliar with the horrendous New England accent, we don’t pronounce our “R”s in the northeast of the US…hence “Backyahd.”
I believe these are the first Foolproof beers to make their way to the UK, can we expect to see more from you over here in the future?
Yes, though we’ve also shipped our Raincloud Robust Porter and La Ferme Urbaine (LFU) Farmhouse Ale to the UK. I hope to send more of our beers to the UK in the near future as our partnership with Heathwick grows.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to tell the Flavourly community about Foolproof Brewing Company?
We’re just so excited to introduce our craft beers to a new audience, particularly in the UK. We’d love for your customers to reach out to us on social media (@foolproofbrew on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) to share their thoughts and experiences with drinking Foolproof, and we hope they’ll visit our brewery someday!
INTERVIEW by Kevin O’Donnell