It hasn’t been the easiest journey, but Boulder Social’s
brewhouse, at 1600 38th Street in Boulder, is up and running. Veteran brewer Rodney Taylor debuted five beers
in the new year, and he has more on the way at the restaurant and brewery.
One of the five beers is Buffalo Gold; the former Boulder Beer recipe is familiar to Taylor from his time at the now-closed brewery on Walnut Street, where he was the head brewer.
“The owners here were owners of Boulder Beer, so they want to showcase some of the Boulder Beer recipes occasionally,” explains Taylor. “We’re going to distribute to a handful of the other restaurants, but outside of that, we won’t be packaging. You won’t find this in liquor stores; it’ll only be on tap.”
The four other beers include a less frequently found, old-school Irish-style red ale and an easy-drinking Mexican-style lager. There are also two IPAs on tap: a West Coast style that Taylor calls “bitter and resinous,” and a New England style.
Taylor is an experienced brewer whose résumé also includes El Rancho Brewing in Evergreen, where he won awards, including a gold medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival in the historical category for Valhalla, a Sahiti, or Finnish farmhouse-style beer.
A trio of beers at Boulder Social.
Despite his prior success and more than a decade of experience, Taylor is humble about making beer in a brewhouse that is new to him. “I brewed everything twice,” he says. “For the most part, these are new recipes on a brand-new system. There are a lot of variables at play, but things have gone well. I’ve received good feedback.” He adds that he plans to dial in the next round of beers even further.
The Boulder Social restaurant opened in the fall of 2022, but the brewery took some time to get going. While the equipment is left over from Ska Street Brewstillery
(the building formerly housed FATE Brewing, as well), a finicky glycol chilling unit held up the brewing until recently. “We spent a couple of weeks trying to rehabilitate the old [chilling] system,” says Taylor. “It kept dying anyways, so we eventually had to buy a new one out of Washington State.” This allowed the brewing to start over Thanksgiving. In addition, boiler issues put a damper on things during a particularly cold stretch in December, but everything has been going more smoothly since.
Boulder Social is under the Concept Restaurants umbrella, a company helmed by legendary Denver restaurateur Frank Day. The ninety-year-old Day founded the Old Chicago restaurant chain, ChopHouse & Brewery and Walnut Brewery, among dozens of other businesses in his five-decade-long career. Boulder Social is an outpost of Day’s Stout Street Social, a popular eatery and bar in downtown Denver.
Veteran brewmaster Rodney Taylor mid-batch.
Boulder Social has an expansive seating area with plenty of television sets and local guest beers that complement the five house beers. The food menu leads off with fresh-shucked oysters from coast to coast, a staple of Stout Street Social. From there, diners can find a variety of offerings like poke, sushi rolls and cheese curds, as well as buffalo cauliflower and chips and queso. Sandwiches, burgers, pasta, pizza and fish dishes round out the main courses.
With the addition of Boulder Social's brewery, Boulder now has at least eight breweries in the area east of 28th street, including Uhl's Brewing, Wild Provisions, Upslope Brewing, VisionQuest Brewery, Kettle and Spoke Brewery, Sanitas Brewing, Twisted Pine Brewing and BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse.
With things humming along now, Taylor is looking toward steady growth. He’ll debut some specialty, rotating beers soon, including a double IPA. He also has a dry Irish stout planned for Saint Patrick’s Day and a kettle sour in the works.
“I don’t think it’s breaking news that the industry is tracking down right now. I’m attracted to [Concept Restaurants] being committed to this right now. I think it’s really cool,” says Taylor. “We have big dreams, but they’re going to come to fruition over time.”