One of the main reasons I wanted to visit Ellensburg was the Iron Horse Brewery. I enjoy their Irish Death beer – which is not really a beer you want to mess around with. It has an ABV of 7.8% and will knock you on your ass before you even realize you’re on your ass. I’ve been knocked down several times but I always come back for more (not sure what that says about my personality – but let’s just leave it with I love this beer!)
I arrived at the tasting room, located outside the main part of town in a more industrial area. As I approached the tasting room a pizza delivery girl from her car asked me if I knew where the Prospector Brewery was. I pointed to Iron Horse and said “that’s a brewery on Prospector Street”. This did not seem to solve her problem and she continued to text someone in a fit of rage as I walked off.
Little did I know that this small run in would be my way in with the patrons inside the tasting room. Once inside I could tell I was in local territory but it didn’t scare me off.
I walked up to the bar and asked the bartender if someone had ordered pizza. She mentioned they had and had been all night, finding it odd that the delivery person was suddenly lost. The pizza girl must have finally came to her senses and decided the Prospector Brewery and Iron Horse Brewery were one and the same and she came charging in with the pizzas. In such a haste to leave she left her keys on the bar. One of the patrons asked her if those were her keys and she turned around, grabbed the keys and left without saying a word. Polite is what comes to mind, yes? We chuckled at her after she left as it was clear she hated her job and made no effort in hiding that fact.
So back to the beer. I decided to try something other than the already familiar Irish Death. The bartender recommend that I try the Double Rainbow. It was slightly red in color, hence why she recommend it after I announced I loved red beers. This beer also had a hearty ABV of 7%. It was pretty good, slightly less red than a traditional red beer, but hoppy in taste which is what I like.
As I sat immersed with the locals the gentleman next to me dropped some popcorn on the floor and said “we need a dog in here to clean that up”. A dog you say, well I have one of those in my truck.
After finding out dogs were allowed in the tap room I happily got Boomer from the truck and he was greeted warmly by the group. I let him off leash and he wondered around (after picking up all the popcorn of course). Like a seasoned veteran he made new friends, scored himself some pizza crust and got a small taste of the Double Rainbow. After I had finished my Double Rainbow I decided to change things up and went with the 509 Style, a 5% ABV a hoppy refreshing beer.
The locals began to disperse as it was getting near closing time and I was left with the bartender and my dog. After I finished my beer I decided to check out Iron Horse’s downtown location at the micro pub.
I was hoping this next location would have food because I love a beer and a burger. After I stepped inside I found that it was a similar set up to the tap room and that the pizza box from the same delivery place was also at this location. It appeared they liked this pizza place.
I ordered up a Biere de Gerde a copper beer with a 6% ABV. It was a Thursday night and I was surprised how busy the bar was. I found this location less friendly and the only people who acknowledged me were the patrons from the tap room that I had met earlier. This location seemed to be a younger crowd, more drinkers to get drunk than drinkers to enjoy a well crafted beer. I decided to leave before I would have to explain to a cabby that he would also have to give my dog a ride to the hotel. I grabbed a growler of the Irish Death to go and headed back to the hotel.
As of 9/5/2013 Iron Horse Brewery announced that they are phasing out the tasting room on Prospector Street, which is a shame as I preferred it’s friendly atmosphere. There are plans to close down the pub downtown too… but fear not Iron Horse fans they are planning on opening a new, larger brew pub right next door to the brew pub downtown. Also in the plans is a 400 square foot beer garden by March 2014. Sounds like a summer 2014 trip may be in order!