Westbound Brews

Idaho Springs’ Westbound and Down Brewpub cleaned up at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival, as did four other mountain town breweries.

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Next time you’re stuck in Colorado’s I-70 mountain traffic, enjoy an award-winning beer at 2019 Westbound & Down Brewpub in Idaho Springs. The brewery took home several awards at the 2019 Great American Beer Festival (GABF), including two category silver medals and the titles of the best Mid-Size Brewpub and Mid-Size Brewpub Brewer of the Year.

The two silver medals were awarded to the brewpub’s Westbound DIPA in the Imperial IPA category, and the Double Barrel Louie in the Barrel-Aged Strong Beer category. Considering these beers’ ABVs are 9.3 percent and 11.5 percent respectively, it’s a good idea to not drive at all after sampling these award-winners. (A good way to get out of driving I-70?) Westbound & Down isn’t the only ski-town brewpub to take home GABF hardware this year. Judging from the list of winners, ski towns and tasty suds are a match made in heaven. But we already knew that.

Ski Town Gold Medal Beers from the 2019 Great American Beer Festival

Boise Brewing: Black Cliffs Stout

Boise Brewing Black Cliffs Stout
Boise Brewing’s Black Cliffs StoutPhoto courtesy of Boise Brewing

Dark, dank and bitter, this full-bodied stout is the beer you want to sip on a cold winter night. The only thing that could make it smoother would be nitro.

Bridger Brewing: Bobcat Brown

Fans of the UK’s New Castle Brown need to try this brew, Similar in flavor but fresher, this craft beer has just the right amount of toffee and caramel notes.

Snake River: Dark Horse Lager

Light on the tongue but heavy on the flavor, this Czech-style dark lager knocks it out of the park for both drinkability and hitting all the right notes for mouth-feel. 

Odd Side Ales: Rye Hipster

Oddside Brewing Rye Hipster
Odd Side Brewing’s Hipster Rye won Michigan’s only Great American Beer Festival gold this year. Photo courtesy of Oddside Brewing

Odd Side Ales took home Michigan’s only GABF gold with this rich, chocolatey brew that smells like coffee and has a vibrant rye spice finish. 

  • GABF Category Gold Medal: Specialty Beer
  • Location: Grand Haven, Mich.
  • Local ski area: Crystal Mountain, Mich.
  • IBUS: 66 
  • ABV: 11%
  • Odd Side Ales Website

Originally published in the December 2019 issue of SKI Magazine. Remember: The holidays are coming up quick, so if you’re looking for more adult-beverage recommendations, check out our Libations Channel, or give your favorite person who skis and drinks a subscription of SKI Magazine to get the best of both skiing and ski town booze delivered directly to your inbox.