With the beautiful fall weather,it’s a great time to take a brewery stroll in Idaho Springs between the new kid in town and an old standby! Earlier this year Westbound and Down Brewery opened up beside The Buffalo Restaurant at the east end of historic Miner Street. While The Buffalo Restaurant is all about old west with exposed timbers and dead animals on the wall, Westbound is sleek and modern with bar and table seating and an open brewing area.
Getting down to what’s really important, Westbound’s beers cover the spectrum from IPA to tripel to stout so everyone should find a style they like. As far as taste, the ones I tried were pretty good although some deviated from the “official” style that they proclaimed. However I’ll take a tasty beer any day and happily ignore rigid style limitations. The brewery is connected to the restaurant so you can get the beers with food in either location. The Buffalo focuses on hearty southwest/bar food. On the other hand, if you want to wait on food Tommyknocker Brewery is a short walk.
To get there, simply exit The Buffalo or Westbound and turn left (west) on Miner Street and walk about three blocks past loads of shops and boutiques to Tommyknocker Brewery (or shop along the way if that’s your thing). As the elder statesman in Idaho Springs (and one of the older craft breweries in Colorado at 20+ years old) Tommyknocker has the brewpub thing down – a mountain lodge with a pub menu and a wide variety of beers. While Westbound has the range of traditional styles, Tommyknocker leverages its history to expand on traditional beers with more experimental stuff like blood-orange IPA, oaked bock, oaked brown, and more. My recommendation would be a flight since there are so many appealing options. Overall, this brewery walk is short on the exercise/calorie burn, but if you’re already in the mountains for hiking or skiing and want an excuse to kick back with some comfort-food and comfort-beers it’s a great way to go.