Seattle beer hounds are familiar with the Ballard Brewery District, where several breweries are located within an easy stroll of each other, but Spokane has something very similar: the West End Brewery District.
Downtown Spokane’s West End neighborhood is now home to six breweries, each within a couple blocks of the next. In fact, the farthest you could walk between breweries is less than a half mile, and you’d pass all the other breweries along the way. The breweries of the West End Brewery District include Brick West Brewing, Common Language Brewing, The Golden Handle Project, Iron Goat Brewing, River City Brewing, and Whistle Punk Brewing.
There’s a great collaborative attitude here. For instance, the breweries are teaming up to present a West End Oktoberfest event this fall. It’s a walk-around beer festival that encourages you to visit all, or at least some, of the West End breweries. They’ve done other events like this in the past.
The Breweries of the West End Brewery District
Allow me to take you on a quick tour of the West End Brewery District. If you’re looking for lodging, I have some tips. Also, some other diversions. But first, let’s get you into some beer.
Brick West Brewing opened in the early days of the pandemic. It is located at the West End Plaza, a downtown, open-air community space that doubles as the brewery’s beer garden. Seasonally, the plaza is the site of a weekly market (local artisans) and other events. Along with a menu of sandwiches and other munchable stuff, the brewery lends significant focus to crowd-pleasing lagers and lighter ales. Of course, they have IPAs and other styles too. (1318 W 1st Ave, Spokane, WA 99201.)
Common Language Brewing is in the historic Spokane Daily Chronicle building, which was built in 1928 and was an architectural marvel in its day. The newspaper’s archives are still housed in the basement of the reimagined, repurposed building. The brewery’s name? For thousands of years beer has offered a humankind a common language. Nothing but delicious beer at this slick, new taproom, which opened in April of 2022. (926 W Sprague Ave, Spokane, WA 99201)
The Golden Handle Project, another brewery born amid the pandemic, is the first brewery in the state to incorporate as a social purpose corporation, which means that it must consider social or environmental goals, and not just profits, in its decision-making. In June the brewery moved into a new location, the former home of Steel Barrel Taproom. Along with your beer, enjoy a sandwich and a salad knowing that a portion of the proceeds help fund non-profit causes. (154 S Madison St Suite 100, Spokane, WA 99201)
Iron Goat Brewing serves up pizzas, sandwiches, and other pub grub along with its always-tasty beers in a taproom that is simultaneously cozy and roomy–brick walls, barrels, large windows, stainless steel, dark wood, rollup glass doors, and a spacious patio out back. This is a great place to explore beer flavors; Iron Goat brews a lot of different styles, from IPA to barrel-aged porter, fruited sour to imperial stout. (1302 W 2nd Ave Spokane WA 99201)
River City Brewing offers an immersive brewery-taproom experience, with the taproom set within the actual brewery. Enjoy your beer amidst the stainless steel brewing equipment and oak barrels. The First Friday Garage Parties feature live music on the first Friday of the month. River City’s taproom is open Thursday through Saturday. (121 S Cedar St, Spokane, WA 99201)
Whistle Punk Brewing makes the beer offsite, but serves its beers in a downtown taproom that is as comfortable as your favorite old T-shirt. It almost feels like a speakeasy as you enter from the alley just off Monroe Street. It must be a very old building, the walls are brick and stone, and this must have been the basement. You won’t want to leave; the outside world feels a million miles away. (122 S Monroe St #4007, Spokane, WA 99201)
West End Lodging Options
Hotel Indigo is conveniently located about a half block from Whistle Punk Brewing. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and recently enjoyed a $15 million renovation, so expect a combination of old-world charm and modern amenities. The hotel offers secure, off-street parking with valet service (recommended).
Formerly known as the Otis Hotel, it was constructed in 1911 and is often referred to as a “railroad hotel” because it was built to provide lodging for travelers passing through Spokane on the Great Northern Railroad. Today Hotel Indigo serves as a perfect homebase in the center of the West End Brewery District.
There are other lodging options in the neighborhood. Hotel Ruby is a 1960s motor lodge converted into a hip, modern, boutique hotel. If you’re looking for something fancier, consider staying at the venerable, historic Davenport, which sets the standard for local luxe.
First Avenue Coffee – First Avenue Coffee serves morning joe that will impress the most serious coffee geek. I enjoyed a fabulous savory biscuit along with my Costa Rica Centro pour over.
Flatstick Pub – In November 2019, Flatstick Pub opened a location in Spokane (21+). Their unique blend of awesome beer and indoor miniature golf is a concept they’ve proven at other locations in Seattle and Bellingham.
Riverfront Park – This is a lovely place for a stroll. Some amazing views of the Spokane River and the falls. These were the ground for Expo ’74, the 1974 World’s Fair. It’s hard to miss. From downtown, just head toward the river.
Park the car once, then go explore the West End Brewery District by foot. With such a high density of breweries, it’d be silly to do it any other way.