Sarnia might be quite a ways from most other cities, but Refined Fool is worth the trip. It’s the sort of brewery that has it all going on: it’s a good place to hang out, it has a great batch of beers, and it even has a neat brand and interesting merch.
The big colourful mural down the side of the building makes it stand out, and they keep up that quirky, old-timey theme (heavy on top hats) throughout the building and throughout their brand.
And they have a proper bar. Not a standing-awkwardly-tasting area, but a place you can get cozy at one of the table. It feels like they actually want people to hang out there.
So you can hunker down at a table, and try a flight of interesting samples, or have a big glass emblazoned with that logo.
Refined Fool makes a lot of beer in a lot of different styles. Jess & Josh have conflicting views on this. Jess thinks: how exciting, keep pumping out the brews! While Josh thinks that maybe a focus on 3-4 might be the better way of doing it.
Still, they go across the field, from European standards to beyond, playing with the bits and pieces, and interesting ingredient ideas to make some pretty unique brews.
Some of our favourites:
- She’s German, Oktoberfestbier – perfect for the season, less malty than most Oktoberfest styles
- Pouch Envy, Australian Pale Ale – quite unique. With a fruitier, more citrus-y taste than most IPAs, and less of the hoppy bitterness, this was a winner for both of us. We took a bottle home.
- Serenity Now, Extra Special Bitter (ESB) – we’re always on a hunt for a good local ESB, and of the Ontario craft ESBs we’ve tried, this one probably matches the traditional English style best. Well balanced in hops and malts (and not particularly bitter).
- Troll Toll, Cream Ale – uncomplicated, simple, and refreshing. What else can you say about a good cream ale?
Now as we’ve mentioned, the Refined Fool brand is strong – and pretty freakin’ cool too – and the little shop at the back of the store shows it. (Jess regrets not picking up a t-shirt).
Visit date: October 17, 2015