Iron Horse Brewery in Ellensburg, WA
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it’s not a dependancy, it’s the holidays.

Adam Ransavage
Adam Ransavage November 23rd 2015

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. The days get shorter, the beers get darker, and you can basically eat whatever you want for the next 2 months and call it “bulking.”It’s also a time when people get together and fight seasonal depression by reflecting on what they’re thankful for.

Joyous friends, family, and food await you on 11/26, but just like how you had a year to forget how god-awful candy corn is (but immediately remembered at the first willfully naive bite), the overlooked perils of the holidays are upon us. It’s easy to get caught up in the egg nog, festive lights, and satanic red cups of the season while ignoring the nagging, bickering, and the left over passive aggressive conversations from the last time everyone saw each other are reignited.

Here’s how I see Thanksgiving playing out for most of us:

Thursday November 26th

7:00am – Alarm goes off because in all of your excitement about having the day off, you forgot to turn off your alarm for work. Kill alarm. Roll over. Let’s try this again.

9:00am – Finally get out of bed after one hour of trying to fall back asleep, and another hour scrolling through Facebook all the way back until you see this post again.

9:30am – Showered, packed up, and ready to head over to the folks’ place

9:36am – Traffic.

9:58am – Send off a frantic group text trying to subtly bring up the fact that you don’t remember what you were supposed to bring for a dish. Cut across four lanes of traffic, like Jason Bourne in a Toyota Corolla, to the next exit.

10:16am – After 10 minutes of filing around the Safeway parking lot, you give up and park in another timezone. You shuffle into the store, not making eye contact with the herd of people who are doing the same thing.

10:21am – No responses on your not-so-subtle text message. You look up to empty aisles, staring back at you like your disappointed mother is about to be. You get desperate and head to the ethnic food section.

10:22am – Stop by the beer aisle along the way. Grab Mocha Death, Cozy Sweater, and cider for your mom. Points to you for being thoughtful.

10:23am – Land like a ton of bricks in aisle 18 to ribbons of salsa, hot sauce, rice, and enchilada sauce lining the shelves. Let out a sigh. Grab a random smattering of goods hoping that you can make a case for a “non-traditional Thanksgiving” later.

10:24am – Some little shit runs over your feet with his cart while his mom is having an argument about cranberry sauce on the phone.

10:24.5am – Back to the beer aisle.

10:25am – Three bottles of Irish Death clang into your cart.

10:26am – You head to the checkout, not daring to look down at the haphazard mosaic of food that someone shouldn’t be buying during the holidays. You just try to justify to yourself that chips, salsa, and ice cream are totally acceptable for Thanksgiving. Also, you’re bringing beer so people can’t complain that much.

10:28am – Traffic.

11:00am – Land at the folks’ place with 18 grocery bags in each hand, because making two trips to the car is for pussies. You almost fall over ringing the doorbell with your foot.

11:15am – Greeted by hugs, smiles, cheers, and one ripped grocery bag (don’t panic, it wasn’t the beer). You make your way through the crowded kitchen searching for a sliver of real estate on a couch.

**PRO TIP: acting very interested in whatever football game or pre-game show is on and being silent can get you out of preparing anything that has to do with the noise in the kitchen. You don’t actually have to be interested in the game, just be ready to yell out who is winning or what the score is if someone from the kitchen asks. **

11:25am – Crack a Mocha Death and revel in the satisfaction of your chips and salsa paying off as people begin snacking.

12:54pm – Get up to pee, triggering the kitchen boss to assign you tasks upon your return. It was inevitable.

12:55pm – Meander through your kitchen duties until someone takes pity on the mess you’re making.

1:29pm – Crack a beer and catch the second football game of the day.

1:30pm – Realize that you don’t have anyone on your fantasy football team playing. Instantly lose interest.

2:05pm – Ease into a halftime nap after the Panthers go up on the Cowboys 24 – 0.

5:00pm – Wake up to the fire alarm going off. Dinner is ready.

5:01pm – Grandma says grace, immediately followed by leading questions about grandchildren.

5:02pm – Mom takes grandmother’s side. You deflect the question to siblings.

5:03pm – Awkward silence and chewing noises fill the air.

**an eternity later

5:04pm – Everyone starts to go around the table saying what they’re thankful for, just as you crack the first Irish Death.

5:06pm – The conversation abruptly diverts into politics. It turns out surprisingly pleasant, because everyone is too full of food and holiday cheer to really argue. You take solace in the fact that at the very least, your family all hates the same things. It’s the little things that bring people together.

5:14pm – Dessert.

5:18pm – Sweatpants.

5:19pm – You try to keep everything down while you start the dishes, despite feeling like Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

5:30pm – Even with everyone being twice their normal size, you all squeeze together on the couch to watch the Packers decimate the Bears.

8:00pm – On the verge of a food coma, everyone still has enough gusto to argue about what movie to watch. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles it is.

8:03pm – Everyone is asleep.

At least there is almost a month before you have to do it again for Christmas.

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The Perks of Being Tall

Jake Fleming
Jake Fleming November 20th 2015

There are very few downsides to being tall. Indeed, cars are horrible contraptions made by the jealous vertically challenged, planes are a tall person’s worst nightmare, and hobbit holes are just out of the question, but the perks of extreme height far outweigh the downsides.  

Fact: when you are tall you are 62% more likely to become a basketball superstar. When you’re tall you never have to worry about getting separated from your friends at large gatherings. Your head floats above the rest, on the downside, hide ‘n seek is difficult.  Being tall is a great conversation starter as pretty much everyone, excluding other tall people, will approach you and say “wow you’re really tall.” The ladies love tall guys, they feel safer with a tall partner. Conversations are easy to practice for, and height is a great ice breaker at job interviews too. In fact, it is probably one of the reasons I got the job at Iron Horse Brewery. Speaking of IHB, being tall helps you accomplish a multitude of tasks in the brewing industry.

When you have finished a sparge, you are left with a good amount of what we call “spent grain.” It is malting barley with all of the fermentable sugars extracted out.  You have to pull all of the grain out of the lauter tun using a mash paddle.  For shorter people this can be a bit of a challenge, especially when it comes to getting the grain out all the way in the back. For tall people, this task is a breeze as we are able to aptly reach and pull out the grain with little to no trouble. Brewers are required to adjust the pump speed for transferring wort into a fermentation vessel. If you’re tall enough, you don’t have to climb all the way up the stairs to adjust the pump hence, tall people save energy and time. Lifting specialty grain bags into the mill is basically effortless when you are the proper height for pouring.  Shutting off the cold water fill valve does not require a step stool for someone my height. Taking gravities and mash PH samples are just an arm’s reach away, while sadly, others have to stand on their tip toes and struggle to reach. Basically, my height has saved the brewery a shit-ton of time and money.

Fact: When you are tall you can handle more alcohol which means you can sample and enjoy more beers without getting shwasted! This body was made for the beer industry

If you’re tall, you’re guaranteed to be the best damned, time efficient, energy saving, beer drinking, sample taking, conversational expert, lady killing, brewer extraordinaire!  Unfortunately you will never be able to drive a Geo Metro but I guess you win some and you lose some.

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Trivia Lowlights

Sarah Clark
Sarah Clark November 18th 2015

Because there are too many “Top 5” lists on the internet right now.

The low five things about fall trivia.

  1. Too much game not enough player. This one time I tried to date 5 guys at once and they all met me for dinner, and I wondered why I was the only one having fun…  I have seen this situation time and again, where you have one player who is really into the game and 5 other people trying to be too “cool” to play.   It is a lot like one person drinking out of a pitcher alone because everyone else is on some lame beer free/ fun free diet.   The good news is…more beer for you.
  2. Absolutely no fun was had. In fact, there was this one time I looked up and all I saw were groups of people arguing with each other over the answer to a question “what color was the dress of the fairy in Pinocchio”…I could see fear in everyone’s eyes…what if the fairy was not in fact wearing a dress what if she was in fact wearing trousers…
  3. This one time someone showed up and the team was full. I remember this one time someone who shall remained unnamed (chances are I don’t actually know it) showed up and their usual team was full.  They had to join another team and had loads of fun and at the end of the night won a bunch of money.  In fact this individual never did return to his former team.
  4. Just when you thought you were done with midterms…  If trivia proves one thing it is that people love suffering.  The week of midterms something in the range of precisely 86 people showed up to trivia.  All I had been hearing all week long was how much test taking sucks and studying takes up too much time…and yet if one test wasn’t enough… geeze stick to your guns people.
  5. Too much change.  Trivia went to different places and people were confused. For the first time in a few years new venues were added, and for the first time in trivia history multiple people assumed the role of trivia host.  Adding a new perspective and flavor to the game itself. Without consulting the majority an executive decision was made and we destroyed all sense of security for some die-hard trivia fans. Who knows what we could throw at you next.
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Revenge Brew

Connie Morgan
Connie Morgan November 18th 2015

Because we recently acquired a new German Brewhouse, Head Brewer Tyson and Brewhouse Supervisor Jake traveled to Deutschland earlier this month to “learn about it”…leaving the rest of the production staff behind. Iron Horse Brewer Hannah Hanson documented the creation of a revenge brew on Twitter.

Made with some of Tyson’s favorite beer ingredients (pumpkin, peach, etc.), this beer is destined to become an Iron Horse staple. Hannah dabbles in poetry so the series of  tweets rhyme making the saga accessible to any reading level. you’re welcome.

tweet 1

tweet 2

tweet 3

tweet 5

tweet 6

tweet 7

tweet 8


tweet 9

tweet 12


In the name of Craft Beer, sabotage the sell-outs

Greg Parker
Greg Parker November 16th 2015


Why consolidation is bad for Craft Beer and why you should actively sabotage brands that have sold out.

It undermines the craft movement

Craft beer, in the mind of the consumer, is made by small, independent brewers in small batches. And no, this is not my opinion, this is the opinion of 1,000 craft beer drinkers who told Nielsen exactly the exact same thing (Craft Brewers Insight Poll July 2015). As more breweries succumb to acquisition it becomes harder for craft drinkers to determine which “craft brands” are truly small and independent. Many say the craft movement is about flavor rather than the producer. I say flavor goes beyond the palate. The craft movement is about the flavor of the beer, the flavor of the town it comes from, and the flavor of the people making it.

Through my trolling of the Facebook feeds belonging to recently acquired breweries (yes, I’m guilty of schadenfreude and I’m not even ashamed to admit it) I have seen comments that follow this basic logic, “Megabrewer subsidiary X made great beer before they sold out and I’m now just excited to have more of it available because of this new strategic partnership”.

First off, allow me a moment to change my underwear because I peed a little while laughing hysterically at the phrase ‘strategic partnership.’ The argument that the world is a better place because a recently acquired regional brewer can now ship their liquid farther and wider with more availability is not valid. I don’t doubt that these former craft brewers had amazing beer to offer craft drinkers, but so what. There are thousands of amazing beers coming out of the craft movement and the warm fuzzy you get from drinking them is more than the sensation on your tongue and the alcohol streaming through your blood. It’s a feeling of upholding some kind of social contract; supporting groups of people who care about each other and care about providing you with something to make your day. That warm fuzzy doesn’t come from supporting a group of people whose aim is to maximize share price and shareholder dividends.

All these sellouts make it that much harder for the craft movement to continue on the clear path of building a better community. Are the big pay-days craft brewers are cashing in on the ‘American dream’ as some will claim? If the American dream is to cash-in while turning your back on the very movement that allowed your success, then yes.  


It distorts the marketplace

Here’s an interesting and at times, shitty feature of the beer distribution marketplace: if you want to get your beer to customers, you generally have two choices. Up until recently, those two (occasionally three) choices were all independent beer distributors. We are now in an era where one of the major brewers (think shit beer marketed with scantily clad women) is buying up these distributors in major markets.

The new reality is a market with one independently owned distributor, one brewery owned distributor and one distributor so much smaller that there is an immediate handicap for brewers by the size of their market presence. The brewery owned distributor is now vertically integrated with acquisitions in a way that allows it to put downward pressure on pricing that could quickly put small brewers out of the distribution business or out of business in general. This brewery owned distributor now has enough faux craft brands that they don’t need to sell any true craft product and as a result, craft brewers are down to either one good choice or two bad ones. This is the kind of ammunition that we as craft brewers need to stop giving the competitors who have been on the losing end of the market shift to craft, aka big brewery conglomerates.


It’s selfish and creates instability

I think I have portrayed why I think these sellouts are selfish. Don’t get me wrong, I’m selfish too, just ask anyone who knows me, but there is a limit. I feel an obligation to consider my actions when the costs to society may be higher than the benefit to me. For example, I hate recycling. I don’t have the luxury of curbside recycling. I have to amass all the stupid cartons and containers in my garage in sorted bins and once every two or three weeks haul the stinky heap to the transfer station. I often imagine how glorious it would be to toss all that shit in the garbage can and never care about it again. But I can’t. I refuse to put my luxury and comfort over something that will be a genuine cost to society, so I grin and bear it.

But what happens when I look around and see that a bunch of jerks are just tossing their recyclables in the garbage? Well, I start to wonder what the point is. What difference does it make if no one else gives a shit? In the case of selling out I wonder, when does it end? Will the only breweries left be the giant crafts, the megabrewer subsidiaries and brewpubs? Should I get while the getting is good or lose it all? The answer for me is spoken best by David Sarnoff when he said “We cannot banish dangers but we can banish fears. We must not demean life by standing in awe of death”.  

I doubt that I am the only brewery operator who considers this issue and the more that fall to acquisition the greater the sense of insecurity is likely to be.  



I hate that the industry is going down this path. It does scare me. I don’t mind mergers and acquisitions, I just think we owe it to each other as brewery operators to consider what we leave in our wake when we choose to sow the seeds that could end the craft movement. We owe it to our consumers to keep the promise that we made when we began selling them beer; that we know you, you know us and together we’ll share a good beer that improves the lives of many.


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To the Guy Who Bought Me A Beer and Never Called Back

Connie Morgan
Connie Morgan November 12th 2015

It’s not the thought that counts.

You thought your gesture was harmless, but when you offered me a beer and I accepted, I offered you a piece of my heart. You thought that being enigmatic was an excuse to not take time to notice what made our encounter special. You let your past, your pride, your demons, your selfishness, the fact that you’re weak or scared, be a validation for why you couldn’t let yourself fall for me.

I could’ve been the girl you needed.

You never gave us a chance. All I wanted was all of your love, all of your kisses and all of your growler fills. All I wanted was for you to be perfect. Teach me something new, be good at dancing, shower me with gifts, be charming, write me a song, be athletic, cry when you watch The Titanic, be handy, never go bald, make six figures, be kind to animals, be cleaner than me, cook gourmet meals, massage my feet, know how to braid hair, be vegan, want kids right away, love to travel, own a boat, have a man bun, have a bachelor’s degree, have a 401K, be ethnically ambiguous, speak a romantic language, love hiking, enjoy Shakespeare, play guitar, play piano, play the harp, play the harmonica, knit, be above six feet tall, know all the words to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and maintain a six-pack while still being a craft beer connoisseur.   

I could’ve been the girl who changed your life, who makes you a better man. I would’ve passive aggressively pointed out all your flaws but only to help you improve. I would’ve pretended to love all your wrongness, all those parts of you that you hate, that I hate even more. I would’ve told your mom everything you say about her behind her back, in the end, bringing you closer together.

Those parts of yourself that you showed me that night….well, I would like to see them again. You know in your heart you will never meet another girl like me. No one will connect with you on an emotional and physical level that quickly.

A true connection is once in a lifetime.

Extraordinary love is rare, it means something. You need to make an effort for it. I gave my entire self to you that night, I gave you the green light to claim me, fight for me. It won’t always be easy. I am stubborn and I am always right. It will be a challenge. At times, you’ll want to kill yourself but it will be worth it when you have me as your trophy wife.

Dating me is not the end of your liberty – it’s the beginning of it.

I am argumentative, but only because I care. I crave attention from you – not opinions, I have enough of those on my own. I’ll never let you get away with anything and that includes slacking on your talents. No matter how much you piss me off, I will never let you go. I mean never.

Don’t risk losing the best thing you ever had.

Whatever you do, don’t let me get away. There are a lot of guys who would’ve loved to have been you that night and even more who already have been. It may be difficult at times – I’ll drive you crazy, I’ll frustrate the hell out of you. But I will never leave you unsatisfied.

You think that you will run into me at the pub again and we’ll just pick up where we left off. But I know my worth, and I can guarantee you’ll have to buy me at least two beers next time.

We had a connection that would’ve built on itself. Don’t lose this opportunity because of your pride, fears, ego or selfish ways. Because someone will value how special I am – someone will put in the effort it takes to be with me. My best friends tell me that every day.

Washington State Brewery, Iron Horse Brewery is the best local craft brewery located in Ellensburg, WA with Iron Horse Brewery beer being served in Seattle, Kirkland, Bellevue, Tacoma, Redmond, Spokane, Yakima, Richland, Moses Lake, Ephrata, and more Washington State cities.

As a local craft brewery, iron horse brewery believes that good tasting beer, such as, Quilters Irish Death, Mocha Death, 509 Style, Light Rale Ale, Cozy Sweater, High Five Hefe and IPA should be served throughout the pacific northwest. It can supplement meals too.