Boulder Creek BreweryBusiness Food & Drink 

A New Boulder Creek Brewery: Beloved Community Hub to be Rebuilt

By Julie Horner

The Boulder Creek Brewery building has been sold. Musician and craft beer enthusiast Joseph Wolff plans to resurrect the cherished gathering place, bringing back to life a hub with a pulse that has been lacking in the historic downtown district since the building was gutted by an electrical fire in March 2015.

This is Wolff’s third attempt to purchase the remaining four walls, floor, and basement. Wolff intends to be closely involved with the design and build-out of the structure, hiring directly and locally as owner-builder. “It’s hands-on. I’m going to be there working on it myself,” he said.

Wolff’s plan is to create a modern brewpub aesthetic with bare concrete interior walls, perhaps with a rustic brick treatment. “There’s even a certain amount of character to leaving and finishing the graffiti that’s in there now,” Wolff said. 

Interior view of the former Boulder Creek Brewery: four walls and open sky

There’s definitely a vibe to the inside of the building as it stands. Under a ceiling of brilliant blue sky, plywood subflooring extends plainly, an open canvas scattered with many seasons of fall leaves and a few shallow puddles. Panning the approximately 4,000 square foot interior, there are no remnants of the old brewery’s former turn-of-the-century coziness. An eager California black walnut pokes playfully into one of the empty sockets that was once a small clerestory window high up on the north wall. At the far end, down a tight jag of uneven stairs into the dark maw of the basement, stainless brewing tanks sit dusty. Particles dance in the occasional shaft of daylight. There is work to be done.

The drive is to revive the pub as a “destination” with full kitchen and the reprise of live music to go with your handcrafted libation. Wolff said, “I first visited in 1989 or 1990, long before I even moved here to the Bay Area. We sat outside on the side deck on a sunny afternoon…it was great!” Joe and his son, Aaron, also a musician, spent many hours enjoying local bluegrass, Americana, folk, and other genres of music together in the mid-2000s. “My son loved the place, loves the idea of doing this,” Wolff said. 

The old brewery had a dropped ceiling, which concealed the true height of the space. With a new roof in place, Wolff intends to leave the ceiling open with its ductwork exposed. “It’s going to have a huge, spacious feel to it and good acoustics for performances,” Wolff said. 

His plans for outdoors include rebuilding the deck that used to front E. Lomond Street, and he’s looking for local artists to create colorful murals on the walls, inside and out. Groundwork has already begun, and he’s accepting bids from local roofers, electricians, plumbers, arborists, and landscapers. There are partnership opportunities available for investors, brewers, and restaurateurs. There’s hope for a community treasure restored and a dream come to fruition.


Featured photo of the former Boulder Creek Brewery as it looks today by Julie Horner

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