Did you know I have a secret love for Sarnia Ontario?...shhh don’t tell London. The city has played an important role in my life. I can almost remember the late nights at the Lazy Duck, Tragically Hip at Bayfest and learning to play poker at Point Edward Charity casino. I love the town! And did you know that Sarnia has four craft breweries? You are learning a lot today. Over the May 2-4 weekend, we had to make an essential trip to Sarnia giving us the opportunity to support the local breweries.
With Breweries still only being allowed to sell beers to go, it hasn’t been easy to create content for a blog that details the brewery experience. For this entry I thought I would introduce you to Sarnia’s craft brewery scene in hopes that you would take a rip down Hwy 402 and check it out! Brewery pictures for this post will be mostly exterior and beerstagram shots. I didn’t want to linger too long inside and with areas roped off and tables and chairs stacked up, now is not the best representation of how cool these places really are. We fully intend to visit all four breweries this year and do a full blog post for each, but until then here’s a glimpse. Refined Fool Brewing Company refinedfool.com
Big Fool and Sports – 1326 London Rd, Sarnia Little Fool – 137 Davis St, Sarnia Our first stop of the day was Refined Fool’s Davis St location in downtown Sarnia. Refined Fool now has two taprooms and a sports bar in Sarnia, there might now be some truth behind the saying “this town is run by fools” Their largest taproom and restaurant is referred to as Big Fool and is also the location of their new sports bar. Their smaller taproom on Davis St is the location I am most familiar with and is referred to as Little Fool. I have always loved this location, especially when the big front window opens and the energy spills out on to Davis St. The location is hard to miss with a colourful wall mural of their Yellow Submarine-esque characters. The inside is eclectic and rustic aligning Refined Fool’s branding. I have always loved their colourful and humorous marketing with a story behind each of their creative beer names.
Today we had the pleasure to chat with Keith. Who took the time to walk us through some styles and tell us the story behind their Brut IPA’s title “Zane Forgot His Avocado Bag” which I encourage you to have him tell it. RF always has a huge selection of styles covering lagers, IPAs, sours, stouts and interesting one offs. Today I picked up eight different beers, including a bomber of California Common I can’t wait to pop. Make a day of it and visit both locations, I will be.
Big Family Brewing Co. bigfamilybrewing.com
485 Harbour Road, Sarnia Big Family Brewing Co launched in early 2020 in the location formerly known as Stokes By The Bay. I’ve been following their social media and have been eager to check out their expansive Biergarten with views of the Sarnia Bay and Marina. Patio season is on its way and their biergarten will soon spill out onto their grass landing and is pet friendly. Today our visit was brief, but we were fortunate to meet Dave who took the time to introduce us their styles and provide flavour profiles for each. Their beer styles tend towards traditional ales and German inspired lagers. With 10 different brews I couldn’t resist getting at least one of each style, they even offer a special to try all 10. Big Family will soon open their restaurant with pub food and Asian inspired favourites. This will be an incredible spot for a bite to eat and a couple pints at sunset.
Imperial City Brew House imperialcitybrew.com
1330 Exmouth St, Sarnia Opened in 2017 by four friends, Imperial City is an impressive brewery both inside and out. The exterior is modern with a bold grey, black and yellow colour scheme and expansive front patio. The interior feels huge with high ceilings, and a taproom that could seat half of Sarnia, and some nights might! Their styles cover it all, IPAs, pilsners, stouts, light lagers, fruit wheats and a few brews that might get Sarnia folk talking like their milk chocolate peanut butter porter and mango vanilla milk shake IPA. Their High Gravity Cream Ale which pays tribute to Sarnia Native Captain Chris Hadfield is a fan favourite and available in various LCBOs. As I walked in, the place smelled incredible, it was brew day and the aromas of sweet bready malts and hops quickly made me realize just how much I miss visiting breweries. I had a great chat with Manager Rina and Co-Owner Kyle about Sarnia’s beer scene and our shared excitement for patio season. We can’t wait to return and fully enjoy this incredible brewery.
River Run Brew Co. riverrunbrewco.com
Downtown Market, 140 Christina St N, Sarnia River Run Brew Co is a nano brewery established in 2019 and is currently operating within the Tin Fiddler Brew Pub in downtown Sarnia. You can grab River Run beer at Sarnia’s year round Downtown Market Thursday through Saturday. We found ourselves in Sarnia on Sunday and couldn’t grab any of their stubby’s to go, we will just have to come back!
We had a great experience just stopping in for a quick visit and bringing back a slew of brews home to enjoy on the back patio. We cannot wait for the opportunity to be able to enjoy fresh glass at the brewery and I know you can’t either. Cheers Sarnia, we’ll see you soon. Want to make a weekend of it and visit even more area breweries? How about Stonepicker in Forest (Blog post here), Black Gold in Petrolia and Rusty Wrench in Strathroy (Blog post here) Stay positive and drink good beer.