Bordellos, BBQ and Brews

As noted in an earlier post, I had the opportunity to spend a few days recreating in and around Wallace in northern Idaho, where much of the city is on the National Register of Historic Places. Outdoor recreation is everywhere, but I would be remiss if I overlooked Wallace’s downtown amenities.

As a buy-local kind of guy, I look forward to the local digs that only small towns can offer. To my pleasant surprise, there are two outstanding breweries in Wallace. Walking along the well-known Bank Street, just down the road from the center of the universe, I noticed large brew kettles (coppers as they say in the “biz”) through the glass windows.

Wallace Brewery is a three year old brewery that prides itself on keeping its beer relevant to the history of Wallace. Rumor has it that there were a handful of extra special women who worked in the Bordellos during the early 1900s. It seems only fitting that the coppers be given sometimes colorful names like Stella and Roxy to represent the different types of beer being brewed. While beers named Dirty Blonde, Jackleg Stout and Orehouse Amber honor Wallace’s rich mining and bordello history.

I also visited North Idaho Mountain Brew on the opposite side of town. Established in 2008, the owners of North Idaho Mountain Brew brought a dream to reality after years of home brewing in Alaska. The brewery has five brewed delights on tap that relate to northern Idaho including Mountain Top Amber, Summit Gold and Loft Honey, all with significance to the local ski resorts. Beer from both breweries can be found in pubs across northern Idaho. The breweries host home brew get-togethers so stop in for a sampler, bring in some of your own personal masterpiece to share and tempt your taste buds with these flavorful beers!

My final hours in Wallace took me to the south side of town. Ready for a snack, I stopped in at D & G Bakery. If you’re looking for a fresh baked treasure like your mom might make, this is the place: breads, cakes, cookies, espresso…you won’t be disappointed. After a mouth-watering chocolate chip cookie I made my way down 5th Street where a delicious scent filled the air. A large, old fashioned smoker sits outside the Smoke House BBQ and Saloon, calling to empty bellies and beckoning one and all to experience an entree along with the aroma. If it’s not mealtime, pop inside anyway, have the beverage of your choice and admire the building’s history. You can’t miss the 100 foot wildlife mural on the back wall painted by John Hart in 1980. I am told he was compensated for his work with beer…sounds like a great deal to me!

With the sun setting, creating a beautiful sunset glow over the hills, it was time to enjoy dinner at the 1313 Club. It’s pretty interesting how it got its name: first, its original bar was 13 feet high by 13 feet wide and second, it was the 13th bar built in Wallace and deserved a snazzier name than “The 13th Bar”. The 1313 Club serves local Wallace brews and has a large menu to satisfy any appetite. The 1313’s great food, fun atmosphere and historic touches speak for themselves.

When in Idaho, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the small town (4 blocks long by 9 blocks wide) of historic Wallace. During my one day in town, I was only able to experience just a few of the wonderful breweries, shops and restaurants, but there are many more hidden treasures I look forward to visiting on my next trip to this inviting little city.

Part II, written by guest blogger Austin Rogerson