Beer Man

Westbound & Down Expands, Makes Plans for Second Brewery in Lafayette

Westbound & Down is growing.
Westbound & Down is growing. Brandon Marshall for Westword
On the heels of its win as the Midsize Brewpub of the Year at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival, Westbound & Down Brewing is making big plans for 2020 and beyond.

First, the Idaho Springs brewery and restaurant will add a “general store” concept next door, selling “things that will fuel you up on your way to the slopes,” says Westbound head brewer and partner Jake Gardner. That includes breakfast burritos, baked goods, Sweet Bloom coffee to drink, and to-go and brewery merchandise. “We are super-stoked on this partnership with Sweet Bloom,” Gardner adds.

And since the brewery just began packaging three of its beers — Double IPA, Colorado Pale Ale and Chicago Peaks Kolsch — the 900-square-foot spot will also sell cans; additionally, it will serve as an overflow bar on busy days where people can get in and out more quickly or get a Crowler of beer to go.

Westbound General should open in mid- to late January.

click to enlarge Westbound began canning in December. - DUSTIN HALL/BREWTOGRAPHY PROJECT
Westbound began canning in December.
Dustin Hall/Brewtography Project
But the brewery also has another major project in the works in the already beer-heavy Boulder County town of Lafayette. That’s where its owners have purchased about 2.5 acres of land next to Stem Ciders, where they plan to build a twenty-barrel production brewery, restaurant and outdoor picnic space.

“We could stick with what we are doing, but that would mean less ability to create the beers we are passionate about,” Gardner explains. Westbound not only brews traditional styles, like its Belgian pale ale, hefeweizen and double IPA (which just won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival), but sours and barrel-aged beers. “It will also allow us to stop saying ‘no’ to new accounts that want to pour our beer,” he adds.

Westbound currently brews and ferments its non-sour beers in Idaho Springs, but it also operates a joint taproom and barrel-aging space in Denver with Amalgam Brewing, a small producer that primarily makes sour and wild ales. That would move to Lafayette in the future.

click to enlarge WESTBOUND & DOWN BREWING
Westbound & Down Brewing
If things go well, Westbound would like to break ground on the new brewery sometime in early 2020 and open in late spring or summer 2021. “We want to be able to grow, but in an organic way,” Gardner says.

The brewery would still like to open a Denver tasting room, in a building it secured at 956 Santa Fe Drive, but rapidly changing city zoning and permitting problems there have put that project on the back burner.

In October, Westbound won two medals at the GABF, along with the Midsize Brewpub of the Year award. The new additions have always been part of the plan.

"The GABF recognition was an added honor that further validated our passions and future growth of Westbound & Down," Gardner says. "We had already planned to can our double IPA...and we're thrilled that so many more people get to bring this beer home from Idaho Springs now."
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes