The windows at 816 W. Bannock St. in downtown Boise are tinted, but peer hard enough, and you can see the finishing touches being put on the City of Trees’ newest brew hall: the Mad Swede Brew Hall.
“We had a really good year in 2019, and we were excited that our tap sales were up; but we weren’t quite where we wanted to be financially and we wanted to have a bigger presence in the brewery scene. We thought a second location would be a good way of doing that,” said Mad Swede Marketing Manager (and incoming bar manager) Danielle Reynolds.
The process of opening the second location began about a year ago, but a complicated 2020 and a brush with COVID-19 exposure in early 2021 later, that project nears completion at last, with a projected opening the weekend of Jan. 16. The enormous space will include the taps, a modest food menu and what will be, when the pandemic abates, a substantial performance stage that Reynolds said will host live music and comedy.
Mad Swede Brewing first opened on Cole Road in south Boise in 2016, and its owners have more than 30 years of brewing experience. In 2019, its Danegeld golden ale took home a silver medal at the International Beer Awards. Like many breweries navigating the troubled waters of the pandemic, Mad Swede sought to keep its patrons and employees safe with an air filtration system, and it has deployed the Reme Halo unit at both its primary location and at its soon-to-open hall. Despite precautions, an employee came down with COVID-19 in early January, briefly delaying the opening of the beer hall, though tests of other employees for the disease have come back negative.
“It’s the first case we’ve had on our staff, and we’re thankful that the employee is experiencing relatively mild symptoms and recovering,” wrote Co-Owner Susie Larson in a press release.
The interior taproom area has a coffeehouse feel, but opens to a high-ceilinged space decorated with murals by Angie Schmidt and sculptures by Ryan Reynolds. The owners hope the hall will in time be widely used for performances, including as a Treefort Music Fest venue and comedy club. Already, Mad Swede has forged a relationship with event promoter The Blue City.
“We’ll be featuring local artists, so it fits our proximity to Freak Alley,” Danielle told Boise Weekly. “It’s a space that can hold space for local artists in downtown Boise.”