Bull City to Debut First Solera Products

Bull City Solera and Taproom features a towering stack of 33 Bourbon barrels in a triangle shape, used for aging beer in the Spanish Solera method. They will release the first tastes to the public on August 27, 2022. Owner Seth Gross along with Head Brewer Luke Studer started the project in 2013 and have expanded the Solera over the last eight years to create a giant 21-foot tall oak barrel pyramid inside the new restaurant and taproom.

“We loved the idea and the complex flavors developing over the years so much that we had to build a restaurant just to house the Solera properly,” Gross said with a smile. “We were running out of room so we decided to build a new restaurant and taproom with the barrel pyramid as the backdrop to the bar.” 

“It really started as a passion project that grew on us and we decided to share this with the community,” explained Head Brewer Luke Studer. 

The parent brewery, Bull City Burger and Brewery in Durham, had excess used neutral oak barrels from aging other barreled beer projects and the Solera was born. They brew a specific Belgian-style Triple as the base beer.

“We wanted to start with something both complex in flavor and worthy of aging,” Gross said.

The plan is to continue drawing some beer off the bottom row which is blended and carbonated to be served. Then the row above fills in the base, the row above that fills in the row below and so on, working toward the top.  New beer is added to the top row periodically. Over time the beer will continue to age in neutral oak and build up complexity. No barrel is ever completely emptied. Each barrel has its own character, but the blending continually adds nuances, complexity and mature flavors. It is truly unique and ever changing over time.

“We believe this may be the first true Solera-style beer in the US,” Gross said. “I have not been able to find anyone else with a pyramid of barrels like ours so far. Everyone is excited for the first release later this month as anticipation has been building.”

The beer is only available on tap and will be served to the public in a release party on August 27.

Bull City Solera and Taproom opened during the pandemic in July, 2020 for takeout only. The interior dining room and full menu launched in March of 2022. There are 12 taps featuring both barrel aged beers and a variety of traditional beers. This taproom is an extension of Durham’s Bull City Burger and Brewery which won the NC Brewers Cup in 2017 and NC Small Business of the year in 2018. Bull City Burger has been in business since 2011 and is known for brewing authentic, true-to-style Ales and Lagers of all shapes and sizes.  More photos available upon request. 

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