Beer Man

A Secretive New Brewery Aims to Disrupt Craft Beer's Social Order

Social Order Brewing doesn't want you to know who's behind it.
Social Order Brewing doesn't want you to know who's behind it. Social Order Brewing
When it comes to hot new beers in Colorado these days, there's WeldWerks Brewing — and then there's everybody else. The Greeley brewery had the longest lines at the Great American Beer Festival, hosted a summer fest that was widely viewed as the best of the year and brewed up 130 different beers in 2018. Many were absolutely delicious, while others were so-so or a just plain weird (spaghetti gose). But it didn't matter what the beers tasted like; WeldWerks fans rushed out every weekend to get their hands on each new concoction.

And that's a problem, say the founders of a new "secret" brewery called Social Order Brewing. Well, sort of secret. Social Order is actually run out of another Denver-area brewery, but the owner doesn't want to say which one. Instead, he wants people to try Social Order's beers — the first one hits a few bars and liquor-store shelves this week — and decide for themselves whether they like it, regardless of who brewed it or what name is attached.

"We don't want it to be connected to anybody," he explains. "We just want [customers] to try the liquid inside and decide for themselves whether or not they like it, without worrying about what's on the label."

click to enlarge
Mysterious kegs of Social Order beer.
Jonathan Shikes
The first release is a hazy, malty double IPA simply called 58473. Just shy of 11 percent ABV, the beer was brewed with Jester and Medusa hops, and it will hit nine liquor stores late this week (Colorado Beverage Company, Mayfair Liquors, Wallaby’s Liquor Warehouse, Grapevine Wine & Liquors, Joy Wine & Spirits, Little's Fine Wines, Heritage Wine & Liquor, 3-S Liquors and Havana Park Liquors), along with all seven metro-area Parry's Pizzeria & Bar locations and Walter's 303 Publik House + Pizzeria on Saturday.

Social Order's founders emphasize that they aren't taking a shot at WeldWerks — "They make great stuff," they say — but that they just want people to think about the beer more than the brand.

"It can go both ways, too," one founder says. "Some breweries make great stuff but they don't have the name, so people don't give them much of a chance." It can also affect styles. While New England-style IPAs are hot right now, he says there is no way a brewery could sell a dunkel, for example, unless it was connected to a hot brand.

Social Order plans to release a beer once every quarter, and the next one will likely be in a style that doesn't get much attention. The owners are also hoping to do some secret collaborations. 
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes