Beer Man

Westbound & Down Brewing Plans LoDo Taproom in Dairy Block

Westbound & Down is coming soon to the Dairy Block.
Westbound & Down is coming soon to the Dairy Block. Westbound & Down
The neighborhood around Coors Field will get a little more craft beer-friendly this summer when Westbound & Down Brewing opens a small taproom near 18th and Blake. The brewery will take a space in the Free Market building along the Dairy Block, a stretch that includes an upscale food hall, stores, a hotel and other bars and restaurants.

Westbound marketing director Eric Schmidt says the brewery will be teaming up with BRUTØ, a small, counter-service restaurant from local chef Kelly Whitaker, on the space.

A LoDo taproom, especially in the high-profile Dairy Block, would be a bold move for Westbound & Down, which has locations in Idaho Springs and Lafayette but no presence in Denver aside from its placement in liquor stores, bars and restaurants. A few years ago, the investors who own the brewery bought a building in the Art District on Santa Fe for a taproom, but those plans later fell through.

click to enlarge Westbound's new Lafayette location. - JONATHAN SHIKES
Westbound's new Lafayette location.
Jonathan Shikes
Westbound was founded in Idaho Springs in 2015 as an offshoot of the Buffalo Restaurant & Bar, which was renovated and reopened that same year after a year-long closure. With the addition of well-respected local brewer Jake Gardner, the brewery quickly gained a name for itself and got even more attention in 2019 by winning Midsize Brewpub of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival.

In 2020, Westbound announced that it would take over the former Endo Brewing building in Lafayette, where it now runs a fifteen-barrel production brewery to keep up with demand for cans and kegs. Westbound Mill, as the space is called, opened in December and is also a taproom with eighteen beers on tap along with artisan pizzas and small plates like beets and burrata and summer sausages.

Westbound specializes in brewing IPAs and has a penchant for West Coast styles, but the brewery also makes a wide variety of other beers, including lagers, an English mild and barrel-aged stouts.
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes