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Iron Horse Brewery in Ellensburg, WA

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Iron Horse Brewlette is Ready-Ish.

Jared Vallejo
POSTED BY
Jared Vallejo February 19th 2014

So here’s the official press release, which is infinitely easier than making a separate blog post. And go.

#######################

For Immediate Release

Iron Horse Brewery Announces Iron Horse Brewlette Round 1 is About to Hit the Market

This limited release contains three different beers and you have to guess what they are. Boom.

ELLENSBURG, WA (February, 19, 2013) As previously mentioned in December, Iron Horse Brewery is bringing to market their very limited release beer series, called Iron Horse Brewlette, where beer retailers, consumers and even its own employees will have no idea what beer they are drinking until they tap it, pour it, and drink it.

“The first release (three different beers, one label) is on the trucks and should be arriving at all 130 participating retailers within the next two weeks,” said Owner and General Manager, Greg Parker. “And when we say ‘should’ we mean we really hope that’s how it works out. I’m not going to lie, the logistics have been a real beast. Credit is due to our wholesalers and participating retailers for being willing to try something that, at first blush, seems really stupid and impractical. Oh and I have to publicly thank the production crew, for making this happen. Thanks, and please don’t quit.” commented Parker.

The Interactive Brewlette WebApp – v1 is Ready
The Iron Horse Brewlette WebApp developed specifically for this beer series is now live. “The IHB WebAPP will allow series participants to locate participating retailers by using their phone’s gps or- to avoid the NSA – by nearby address. Participants can check in, guess what’s in the beer, judge the beer, share their findings and enter to win Iron Horse Brewery swag and prizes, including the quarterly grand prize worth over $352,” cited Director of Marketing, Jared Vallejo. “The application should work with most modern smartphones, but if doesn’t, it’s probably time to upgrade your phone,” added Vallejo.

To ridicule the WebApp, point your phone’s browser to http://ihor.se/brewlette All entries and submissions will be reset on February 24th, which marks the official start date.

The complete list of participating retailers can be found on their website at www.ironhorsebrewery.com (or here)

For more information about Iron Horse Brewlette go to http://www.ironhorsebrewlette.com

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Washington Beer Lovers Open House and IHB Make a Baby Named Rikki

Rikki Welz
POSTED BY
Rikki Welz February 18th 2014

Greetings Fellow Beer Lovers!

We are proud to join the Washington Beer Open House, happening this very soon to be weekend! We don’t procrastinate on advertising or anything….

Iron Horse Brewery is proud to open it’s doors and welcome you to tour the brewery this Saturday Feb 22nd. Our handsomest bravest brewers have gotten together to help plan a beer-tacular almost hour-ish of time just for you and those other people who want to come too. Bring Grandma!
We will be hosting 3 guided tours, at 12ish, 1ish, and 2ish. These will happen at our production facility, located at 1621 Vantage Hwy**
**this is very important. you can tell because there are two asterisks and not just one. your livelihood depends on this. If you are using the google or your GPS to find us you need to enter 1619 Vantage Hwy. This should take you to our facility that is behind the Iron Horse Coffee Company stand, and also behind the Phoenix Truss company. If you put in our true address it will take you to an abandoned shed in the middle of a field. If you hear faint banjos in the distance, run. your in a zone affiliated with danger. 1619 Vantage Hwy will get you to us. so just do that.**
Our 12ish tour will be geared to home brewers, the 1ish to everyone who loves beer, and 2ish will be for those who want to become more beer savy.
Each tour will include chances to win prizes, learn more about the brewery, the beginners guide to beer pairing, and free highfives for everyone. Maybe there will be beer, maybe not….cough cough… And this is all FREE!
This is open to all ages, but please bring a valid ID if you plan to have a beverage. The brewery will be in full operation, so wear closed toed shoes, and dress like its winter… since it is. Protective eye wear will be provided, and dangerous hijinx will be prohibited. Please, no pets. Space will be limited so please email me at rikki@ironhorsebrewery.com how many people are in your group and when you would like to attend, by Friday afternoon, so that we may best serve you.
Cheers!
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Iron Horse Coffee Company: It’s a thing

Alison Duff
POSTED BY
Alison Duff February 7th 2014

ihbcoffeecompany2

Last November Greg called me into his office for a meeting with Suzanne. I usually hang out upstairs at my broken and over crowded table, so to be in the bosses office was a little intimidating. He revealed to us that, feeling nostalgic for his pre- brewery days, he had acquired (by mostly legal means) the empty coffee shack that sits in front of the brewery on Vantage Hwy. Greg had heard that I had some barista experience under my belt (seven years to be exact) and asked if I would be interested in helping start-up Iron Horse Coffee Company. Would I ever!

Suzanne, who is lovely and generous, took the lead on this project and started brainstorming, organizing, interviewing, pricing etc. Jared hit the Mac. Really slammed into that F*$%er. Face first. Jared loves coffee. We still don’t know why that was his reaction, but we’re going with it.  And I created training material. Ka. Poo. Ya.

Fast forward to now and well, the time is…now!  Iron Horse Coffee Company opens for business at 6am on Monday Feb. 10th. Thats three-ish days from now people. IHCC will keep it simple. We intend to keep the amount of syrup restrained in each beverage to ensure enjoyment of the actual coffee. If you want more syrup, I guess that’s ok. or its not. Or its not, not ok. Probably that one.

The menu is simple: milk based drinks, drip coffee and americanos. The milk based drinks are up for you to create.  You can get a mocha, plain latte, vanilla steamer, or something we may never have heard of. It’s up to you. To further simplify your life, we will only be offering five flavors: vanilla, hazelnut, and caramel syrups, and white and dark chocolate sauces. Simple, accomplished.

Oh, here’s the best part: Monday -Thursday you can pay whatever the hell you want. But just this next week. Greedy humans. So we’ll see you Monday, bright and early, with your penny in hand because when you can’t drink beer, there’s coffee.

Iron Horse Coffee Company

Open:

M-F 6am-12pm

Sat-Sun 7am-12pm

 

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Drive Through Growler Fills-What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Greg Parker
POSTED BY
Greg Parker January 24th 2014

It has long been a dream of mine, and by long i mean about a year, to be able to provide legally aged consumers of craft beer with a half gallon of Iron Horse’s finest and freshest delivered through the window of a building, into the window of their car. I don’t even care if they open their window.

What stands in the way? W.A.C. 314-11-015 section f. I am not trying to kick dust in the face of the liquor control board or Washington state, so let’s get that clear right away. Iron Horse has had a great relationship with the LCB and the state, with the exception of the Department of Ecology. They can kiss my ass. The LCB has always been attentive and reasonable with us. I dare say, I like them, based on the people I’ve met from there. Unfortunately for them, they must dutifully enforce the rules that have been handed down.

As part of my less-than-thorough campaign to have this rule changed I have repeatedly hassled our fine brewers guild president, Heather Mcclung, of Schooner Exact Brewing. Well, she finally said ‘put your money where your mouth is’. Actually she said ‘if you are serious you should write a convincing paper as to why the restriction should be lifted’. Damn it, that is actual work.

Why am I telling you? I’m trying to crowd-source good arguments and science for allowing drive-thru growler fills.

Here are the sections of the paper as I imagine them:

-Introduction

-Why do we need this?

-Examples of success in other states.

-How many trillions of dollars will be contributed to the Washington economy when dads that cook can obtain the beer they need to complete their planned dinner recipe, without having to hassle with shopping carts, baby bjorns, strollers, and tabloid displays. [you’re welcome] Washingtonians.

-Provisions to ensure sealed container and the stupidity of assuming people would be more likely to swig off a growler while driving than cracking open a bottle. Seriously, have you ever tried to handle a full growler one-handed? Yeah, it is really difficult cuz it weighs about 4 pounds and has a dinky little handle, or in the case of stainless steel growlers; no handles and an opening so big only Mick Jagger could fully lip-lock it, hence, beer all over your frontal.

Did I miss anything? I didn’t think so.

Next steps: jump in there people of the internets, I need your help filling this thing out with fact-like information. I’m too busy writing pointless blogs.

Hugs and Kisses

Greg

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How I Have Come to Write a Beer Thesis

Alison Duff
POSTED BY
Alison Duff January 22nd 2014

     Almost three years ago, I was introduced to the lovely culture of craft beer. At the beginning I had a limited range of flavor profiles, did not know what hops did for beer, understood nothing about fermentation, and had no idea what was in store for my future in the brewery community. That first year, I fell in love with beer. The chemistry of brewing and wide range of ingredients intrigued my interests so greatly that I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to taste every craft beer I could, and discover the complex flavors created by a brewer who is passionate for their trade. A year after my discovery of microbrews, dreams of a college degree brought me to Ellensburg to attend Central. On New Year’s Day 2012, I drove up Main Street in Ellensburg, with my car packed to the brim, and saw something exciting: a micropub! Guess who’s beer it houses…(hint: it’s Iron Horse). Over the next two years I enjoyed Iron Horse beer, first as a customer and then as an intern.

     As some of you know, I am old and graduating this March. But they won’t give me my degree if I don’t write a senior thesis. Gross. It has to be 25 pages, include a study, and a communication theory. Like I said: Gross. What to write about…hmmm…I want to enjoy writing about it for the next three months so…How ‘bout beer?!

     Thus, begins my journey into beer research and theoretic application. I feel so grown up. I met up with my intern-boss (Jared Vah-Lay-Ho), told him about it, and he thought it was neat. I started to research and discovered a treasure trove of resources. The Brewer’s Association website has up-to-date stories and statistics of goings-on in the brewery community. In addition, the Beer Institute collaborates data into spreadsheets and does not spare a single detail. My favorite resource I found is Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer (www.ambitiousbrew.com). This book details all of the early innovators who created the beer-climate we enjoy today, Philip Best, Adolphus Busch, Frederick Pabst and more.

Fun fact! Did you know that individuals were not “allowed” to brew beer at home until 1979? Good ol’ Jimmy Carter deregulated home brewing which allows each individual to brew 100 gallons of beer and wine per year. Yowza. Little did he know that that small change in a law would help the growth of a, now, ginormous industry. Today, there are 2,538 breweries including brewpubs, microbreweries and regional breweries across the United States (Brewer’s Association, 2013).

With that being said, I went on to study the diffusion of microbreweries across the U.S. Why are they so popular? Why are they a good start-up business for entrepreneurs? What attributes of the brewing industry make it so attractive to home brewers and consumers?

As of now, I have six pages written and a stack of research articles read. More to come.

Love, Al

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Cozy Community Fund Update

Rikki Welz
POSTED BY
Rikki Welz January 20th 2014

Hi Everybody!

Rikki here, yet again, with all the exclamation points a person could need!!

The super holiday season that runs from Oct 31st to Jan 3rd is finally at an end. The tinsel fueled melee in our home (sorry husband, I’ll never volunteer us for hosting again. Well, at least for the next two months…) has reverted back to its usual, lovable, chaos. This crazy time of year for some can also be a hard time of year to get through, for others. How do we address that problem? With our Cozy Community Fund, of course!

This year, the brewery, along with our friends at Armtstrong’s Stove and Spa, Besel and Williams, Knudson Lumber , Yarn Folk , and with our wonderful customers, managed to bring attention to and help raise funds for two area families. These funds hopefully helped mitigate the crazy stress this time of year has to offer. Our Cozy Sweater Release party helped raised $549 of the nearly $2000 dispersed (more reasons to have more parties, right?!).  We paid utility bills, bought presents, filled gas tanks, helped to lessen the grocery bill, and hopefully, brought some light and fun into their homes. We are in a great community, and are lucky to have your support and friendship. Thank you also to the kind folks who nominated the families, without you, this wouldn’t have been able to happen. High Fives all around!

Now that you’re feeling all warm and fuzzy, don’t forget we have area organizations that work year-round to bring the same services to those deserving, and could also use our help. Here’s a few quick links to keep the spirit going. Love you all!

Kittitas County Habitat For HumanityHope SourceFISH Food Bank Red Cross Spirit TRC

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Because its 4 on a Friday and You are Over Work: Cool Things in Beer History

Paul Baker
POSTED BY
Paul Baker January 10th 2014

Ok. Cool thing about beer and history time. Everyone think about a witch in your head.

Did it look something like this:

Something like my incredibly crude MS Paint version of a Halloween witch? [Sorry Wiccans and Pagans. I’ll get to the point soon.] Ok, so we have pointy hat, cauldron, broom looking job and a cat. Right? Still with me? Good.

So through some very basic research and some pretty basic putting 2 and 2 together I discovered something pretty cool, at least to me. The conception of a witch we have today, with the hat and all, seems to be derived from early European brewers who were, predominantly, women.

So lets go through the main cliche elements of the witch and compare that to brewing:

1) Big Pointy Hat: So overall, with few exceptions, during medieval times and through the Renaissance in Europe, towns were pretty few and far between; with infrequent opportunities to buy and sell goods from other areas. So market days in Europe were a huge deal, like giant festival kind of deals. Buy wheat and sell your turnips, see the juggler, throw something at the guy in the stocks, maybe you’d see a hanging. All kinds of entertainment for the whole family. And brewers, in this case known as ale-wives, would be out to sell ale to the masses. And since there were so many people at a market, the ale-wives would wear large, often colorful, hats that would stick up above the crowd so you could see where beer was being sold. Like that weird guy at a rock concert with a huge hat. You can always see that guy no matter where you are. So there we go. Pointy hat.

2) Cat: Beer is made from Grain. Rats eat grain. Cats eat rats. Medieval breweries ie. houses, didn’t have fancy things like traps or doors or glass in the windows. Therefore. Probably didn’t hurt to have a few cats around to cut down on the rat crap going into your beer. I’ve said it many a time and I’ll say it again, what a fantastic age we live in, with our sanitation and doors and lack of rats in beer.

3)Broom Looking Thing: Before the days of advertising and when most ale was sold from private homes, brewers used an “ale-stake” to announce to the public, and to the taxman, that ale was available for drinking. This was a bunch of barley stalks tied to a tall stick and put outside the door. Looked like a lot like a broom. Still with me guys and gals?

4) Cauldron: My favorite part. Hops in beer is a relatively recent addition to beer. In England for example hops were not imported until 1400CE and not used in beer there until 1519CE; being considered a “wicked and pernicious weed” enjoyed by foreigners who didn’t enjoy wholesome British Ale. Prior to the addition of hops, a mix of herbs was used to flavor ale. These herbs were known as “gruit” and included things like heather, mugwort, sweet gale, etc. Really whatever grew on the ground that wasn’t immediately poisonous. Most of these things sound like something that you’d hear a witch in a fairy tale putting into her brew.[ Authors Note: Some of those herbs can cause hallucinations, sweating and can “put the fight in ya.” Therefore I will not be making “authentic” ale anytime soon at Iron Horse Brewery. Sorry.]

So there you go. Laying a bit of history down on you. Hope you enjoyed.

Cheers.

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#ThankASidekick

Tess McIntyre
POSTED BY
Tess McIntyre December 18th 2013

The following is a summary of a word for word account of a day in the life of Iron Horse Brewery’s Marketing Department. Or we made it up. But we mean it.

***

Tuesday 12.17.2013 9:42am

T: Hey, Jared?

J: Yes, Tess?

T: You in the middle of something?

J: Of course not. When do I ever do work?

T: Well, I was just thinking about Kimmy Gibbler .

J: Fo realz!? I was just thinking about her the other day.

T: Of course you were. Does a week go by that anyone isn’t thinking about Kimmy Gibbler of Tv’s Full House?

J: Tyson told me he used to rock spandex like Kimmy’s.

T: Man, I learned so much about  life from The Gibbler.

J: Don’t I know it.

Tuesday 12.17.2013 9:44 am

J: Hey Tess?

T: Yes?

J: You busy?

T: Of course I am, you have me doing all your work.

J: But I have Paul Pfeiffer on the mind and I just need to dish about it.

T: Dish away.

J: I was just spending my  work day on Wikipedia, like usual, and discovered that Paul was the only Wonder Years character without his own wiki page.

T: That’s a crime!

J: Don’t worry. I’m working on one.

Tuesday 12.17.2013 9:45am

T: Jared, do you like this hat I’m wearing?

J: For sure. The sunflower in the middle of your forehead is really tasteful. And what is that? Denim?

T: Oh yes. I’ve decided that I deserve a really classy makeover, ya know? I’m going for the Blossom  look. Six Lemeure really had  excellent taste.

J: You know when I was not a waiter in LA, I used to impersonate Joey Lawrence.

T: Really?

J: woah!

T: Spot. On.

J: Is it five o’clock yet?

****

And that concludes our fictitious, but rooted-in-truth, dialogue.

Why did we bore you with this?  Because we want to say thank you. Not to you, but to all of those actors who played our favorite sidekicks…..and there’s only one way we  know how to say it.  beer. Oh. and twitter.

We have a list of 18.35 of the best tv sidekicks of the 80’s and 90’s who we want to personally, via the internet, thank the Iron Horse way because A) they deserve it. Sidekicks are better than main characters. Duh. And 2) because the thought of Kimmy Gibbler tweeting a picture consuming an Irish Death gives us goosebumps. That might be weird. We hope that’s not weird. Or maybe we hope it is weird.

So that’s where we decided to start the thanking: Kimmy, Paul, and Six.

With a little twitter persistence, the hashtag #ThankASidekick, and your help we think that maybe these most famous of sidekicks will hear our ‘thank yous.’

We need you to retweet our pleas to be heard and to tag our sidekicks in your own posts using #ThankASidekick.  If we reminisce about our favorite episodes, show how much we really do love these characters, and pester them enough they may, so graciously, allow us to give them beer. This seems like a no-brainer. Be showered with twitter admiration. Say yes to the gift of beer.

All we want this holiday season is to be able to thank a sidekick.

Follow us @ironhorsebeer

Follow Kimmy Gibbler/Andrea Barber @andreabarber

Follow Paul/Josh Saviano @joshsaviano

Follow Six/Jenna Von Oy @jennavonoy

And for your viewing pleasure.. our sidekicks:

kimmypaulblossom and six

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Adios River. Hello New Person.

Tess McIntyre
POSTED BY
Tess McIntyre December 11th 2013

It’s the end of an era. Our man Daniel ‘River’ Rios has decided to hang up his trivia microphone and pass the torch to someone a little less handsome and a little more excited by the idea of finding interesting and relevant pieces of trivia. We will mourn this loss. Except we will still see Daniel everyday. So really, we won’t mourn. But you all will. Hopefully you catch one more glance at those bambi-like eyelashes before it’s too late.

So here we are sounding the call for the new, sort of improved, local trivia host. If you or someone you know is marginally cool, loud, clever, blunt, smart, interesting, hard working, has a sense of irreverence, really likes this list, enjoys large crowds, doesn’t mind that this list hasn’t ended yet, and knows how to make an entrance, well, neat. If you are all of these things AND have an interest in hosting the most above average weekly trivia night in all of Washington, come show us that you are better than us on January 14th, 6pm, at [the pub] in Ellensburg. Yes, we are making you audition so be prepared. Auditions will be 10 minutes in length and each host must lead trivia for that period of time. easy.

Here is what you do:

1. Let us know you are interested  and want to sign up for the audition by emailing tess@ironhorsebrewery.com to reserve one of the 10 minute time slots.

2.Prepare 5-7.5 questions to test the audience’s knowledge. These questions can be in regular question and answer format (Q: How much time does Greg spend on his hair each morning? A: 37.38 minutes),  true or false, or multiple choice. Topics should include general trivia, popular culture, beer, and current events.

3. Be ready to answers some questions from our judges

4. and prepare to demonstrate your most amazing talent.

That’s right, there is a talent portion. This is serious

There will be a secret panel of judges to assess your abilities and skills in order to become the next Daniel Seacrest Out’ Rios.

The New Host’s responsibilities and requirements  will include:

Committing to around 10 hours of work per week as the the IHB Trivia Host. This includes preparation, promotion, and hosting. Trivia is every Wednesday and the Trivia Host prepares all trivia material each week. On trivia days, you must deliver to [the pub] one hint for each round of trivia to be given to all trivia players who show up early and purchases a pint of Iron Horse beer between 6:08 and 7:00 pm. You will be there as well to guard the hints and, probably, drink a beer. Lucky. Following the fifty-two minutes of blissful beer drinking and hint sequestering, you shall relocate to the trivia-venue-of-the-week (location varies throughout Ellensburg). Here, you will be required to set-up, collect team names and money, do an interpretive dance, and proceed with trivia-ness. Also, we will train you on protocol, categories, and stuff. All trivia hosts must have the ability  to mix audio to be used weekly during Trivia.

Email tess@ironhorsebrewery.com if you have questions or want to audition.

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Press Release: Iron Horse Brewlette

Jared Vallejo
POSTED BY
Jared Vallejo December 5th 2013

I could modify our press release for the purpose of this blog, or we could just copy and paste, because that’s faster.
Yes, I’m lazy.
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For Immediate Release

Iron Horse Brewery Announces New Brewlette Beer Series Where They Have no Idea What Type of Beer You Will be Drinking
A limited release beer series for beer geeks, beer freaks, and tap houses interested in experimental and hard to find ales.

ELLENSBURG, WA (December 2, 2013) As part of their 2014 product offering, Iron Horse Brewery is titillated to announce their new, limited release beer series called Iron Horse Brewlette, where beer retailers, consumers and even its own employees will have no idea what beer they are drinking until they tap it, pour it, drink it, then guess what it is.

“We wanted to reinvigorate the ‘new beer’ drinking experience,” said Owner and General Manager, Greg Parker. “Finding and trying interesting, new beers is what drives the craft beer drinker. We see this type of beer exploration all the time in our pub. People come in, try something new, and then ‘check in’ to brag about what that experience was like. We thought we could take that concept and turn it into an entire beer series. There is a 67% chance that this is a bad idea, which is why it is appealing to us.”

Iron Horse Brewlette is a year long series with releases scheduled quarterly for mid-February, mid-May, mid/late-September, and mid-November. For each release Iron Horse Brewery plans to produce three beer styles (Big and Hoppy, Big and Malty, Big and Balanced) at a time and then ship them, unlabeled, out into the market. The beer retailer will not know what style of beer they have received until they tap it and taste it. It will be up to the consumer to find each of the beers, taste, and identify the flavors.

The Power of Social Media
In conjunction with the release, Iron Horse Brewery is developing a mobile web app to ensure that the Brewlette experience is fulfilling both on and off-line. “The web app will allow series participants to identify and share within their social media networks, where and what beer was found. Participants can check in, guess what’s in the beer, share their findings and enter to win Iron Horse Brewery swag and prizes, including a private brewery tour.” cited Director of Marketing, Jared Vallejo. “Also, does anyone know how to do what I just said, because that seems hard.” he added.

“This is a great opportunity for tap houses to attract new customers. The availability of the beer is limited so that Iron Horse Brewlette fans will have to look outside of their local watering holes in order to find the Brewlette beers each quarter,” commented Vice President of Sales, Ross Chalstrom. “Not only do craft beer lovers get to try new and interesting beers, they get to try new and interesting tap houses as well; most likely becoming repeat customers or regulars.”

For more information about Iron Horse Brewlette go to http://www.ironhorsebrewlette.com

About Iron Horse Brewery
Iron Horse Brewery, centrally located in Ellensburg, WA, has been producing hand crafted ales since 2007. Iron Horse is owned by father-son team Greg and Gary Parker. With 20 employees and a recent expansion, enabling IHB to double its brewing capacity, they plan to produce over 15,000 barrels of beer in 2014. To learn more about the brewery or to simply take a break from Facebook, go to www.ironhorsebrewery.com; you’ll probably be sorry you did.

Contact:
Greg Parker, General Manager
greg@ironhorsebrewery.com
509.834.7838 x102

Media Inquiries
Jared Vallejo, Marketing Director
jared@ironhorsebrewery.com
509.834.7838 x101

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The Truth About Greg…On Road Trips…to Montana

Tess McIntyre
POSTED BY
Tess McIntyre November 14th 2013

In four days I will be forced to spend far too many hours in a car with Greg. There will be other people there too, but it is Greg I am most worried about. Greg may seem like a heartless, stoic asshat. But this, IHB Friends, is where you are wrong.

Greg loves to sing.

Camp.

Fire.

Songs.

Sometimes when you walk by his office you hear him mumbling ghost stories to himself and hear words like “marshmallow,” and “I like mine crispy.”

It’s worse in the car.

If he’s not  pulling out his best solo Kumbaya then he is leading us all in rounds of She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain, while describing how to perform the corresponding hand gestures which really, in his own words “brings the song to life and touches my soul.”  I just threw-up in my mouth.

Six + hours of Greg singing at the top of his lungs, Jared deliberately trying to draw the attention to himself with one of the four jokes he has used for years, Suzanne quietly and efficiently doing work to keep this brewery afloat (thanks, Suzanne) and Gary….Gary will probably be asleep. Me? Well, here’s the worst part: I’ll most likely be singing along. 1. so that I don’t get fired and 1.25 because we will be headed to Montana and I’m so effing excited I won’t know what to do to myself.

The most painful car ride ever ends with the roll out  of Iron Horse Beer in Western Montana. Our beer is there now, and we would prefer that people knew about it so we are paying Montana a visit. Also Montana is pretty neat. Greg, Gary, Jared, Suzanne, and myself are hitting up the Flathead Valley Monday 11/18 through Wednesday 11/20. So you should probably find us, high five us, and drink some beer with us. We will be the ones with the tall blonde man trying to get Bloody Mary to appear in the bathroom mirror. you’re welcome.

 

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The Cozy Community Spectacular Extravaganza Gift-Times for All

Rikki Welz
POSTED BY
Rikki Welz November 7th 2013

Hey Y’all! Rikki here again!

    Ellensburg is a super-rad-tastic town, as most of you already know. When someone needs a helping hand, we have proven time and again how teamwork can make a difference. In the past, Iron Horse Brewery has teamed up with other local businesses  with the intent of  making an impact on our community, by finding one or two or three families who need extra help during the holiday season…and then aiming big to try to make a difference. We have paid utilities, fixed cars, and helped to furnish a home. The biggest year we have had raised $4500 in goods and services for the families. As a slightly competitive person (go #teamhighfive!), I think we can beat that! And we have already begun. Remember getting squished into the new pub on Saturday the 2nd? That day alone, we raised $549 for the Cozy Community Fund. Boom. And we auctioned the Cozy Sweater Cozy Koozies. You can see the making of the Koozies here on YouTube!

  We think we can make this year bigger and better, with your help. If you’re a business owner, contact me (Rikki@ironhorsebrewery.com) so we can get you on board. If you want to help, donate at [ the pub ] to have funds go directly to the families selected. If you know someone who needs a hand, nominate them here, or in person at the pub. If you have items you would like to donate to the families, contact me! Want some cozy koozies for your beer? Contact me, we can work something out!  If you have a theory about 6 foot tall lizard men ruling the world, contact Big Cat (Ross@ironhorsebrewery.com), he loves that stuff.

So far we have had businesses donate cash, gift cards for groceries, volunteer efforts, and advertising for our cause. And its only the 6th! The deadline for donations and nominations is December 16th, when we sit down and figure out who can benefit the most from our efforts. The following week, we will disperse those items, and have a big cozy celebration in our hearts (maybe the pub too), and collectively high five each other. Want a free high five? Please join us, and we’ll make it happen.

Rikki

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Iron Horse Brewery at Mustache Dache!

Alison Duff
POSTED BY
Alison Duff October 24th 2013

Have an impressive mustache you would like to show off? Want to drink some Iron Horse beer in a cool city? All the while supporting a good cause? In case you were wondering, the answer to the question is yes.

Iron Horse is blessing the cities of Seattle, Portland, and Corvallis with a beer garden at each of the Mustache Dache 5k races being held this November. Need one more reason to go? It’s a good cause. If you like people, and if you are nice, you would want to support Movember in their quest to raise funds for men’s health including prostate and testicular cancer as well as mental health.

To put the cherry on top, you can enter your mustache in a competition. Costumes are encouraged. If you don’t have one, there will be face-painters waiting to hook you up with a faux ‘stache. However, I know your main concern is: What beer do I get to drink? Well Ross and Jared will make sure that The Decision Maker, 509, and Irish Death will be there, waiting for you.

Ready to register?! I thought so.

November 9th,Corvallis http://mustachedache.com/corvallis/

November 16th, Seattle http://mustachedache.com/seattle/

November 16th, Portland http://mustachedache.com/portland/

Bye.

1 Comment

The Iron Horse IPA Horse.

Jared Vallejo
POSTED BY
Jared Vallejo May 13th 2013

One day, several weeks ago, Natalia and I were having one of our impromptu note taking sessions in the beer room. (we talk to each other about marketing related stuff, take notes, then dare each other to be in charge of that thing we just noted)

One of our discussions led to Iron Horse IPA and rebranding it.

The iron horse brewery cousins are usually pretty unified regarding beer labels, beer names and overall branding, however when it comes to the Iron Horse IPA label, there is a rogue group among us that doesn’t really like the label at all. I confess to being one of that group.

However, given the fact that rebranding an existing product that is presently in the market requires a good deal of effort as well as the potential to lead to brand confusion, we decided to not touch the label.

We did come to a pretty strong conclusion that we needed to do “something” with the IPA brand. The beer is delicious and amazing – everyone should go buy 42 bottles right now – that’s not the issue.
We had already done some work on the descriptions: dry-hopped, tongue-friendly, danktastic. These will be making their way on to the beer bottle labels shortly. (note to self, change IPA labels)

But, something was still missing.

What to do with the damn horse?

Then, we had a revelation. I’m not sure if it was Natalia or I, but we asked the question:

What do you do when you can’t change something you don’t like?
You embrace it.
Lenny style. You hug it out, squeeze it so much until you love it.

So that’s what we decided.
We’d love the horse, with it’s upright stature and prissy hooves.

But if we were going to love the horse, the horse had to have a name and personality.

The personality was a no brainer. Sarcastic Asshole. Boom. Done.

The name took a few seconds longer, but ultimately we only ever came up with one name, because it was so perfect and amazing and wrong.

Chauncy.

Yep, Chauncy the sarcastic asshole of a horse.

That’s his name.

Chauncy the IPA Horse

You are going to be seeing a lot more of Chauncy very soon.

New Iron Horse IPA Glassware

For the first time ever, you will soon be able to drink out of an Iron Horse IPA pint glass
chauncyipa

New Interactive Iron Horse IPA Coasters
We thought we’d have a little fun with these.
Coasters are generally so boring. So we thought we’d make them interactive. And by interactive we mean, you can write on them.
We left a space for you to “make Chauncy talk”. You can even email Chauncy, and you’ll probably get a (delayed) snarky reply back. Because, more email isn’t boring right?

ipa-coaster

This post is too long, so I’m cutting it off now.

If you have any strong or indifferent feelings on this non-change-change I’d love to hear them.

Next week: high five.

Oh, and here’s a bonus clip of Tess talking about Chauncy.

- Jared

1 Comment

The Case of the Broken Bottler: A Lesson on Telling the Truth.

Jared Vallejo
POSTED BY
Jared Vallejo February 11th 2013

As you are most likely aware, we recently discovered an issue with our bottler, which deposited one 3 inch stainless steel off-gas compression tube into one of our 22oz bottles.

Upon discovering the sanitary piece of stainless was missing, we immediately analyzed the potential impact of having said artifact the size of Andre the Giant’s finger in one of our bottles.

Among the options were: do and say nothing, recall everything that we have had shipped, or be forthright and communicate to our fans and frenemies that there is a foreign object in one of our beers.

Because we had no way of truly knowing when that piece went missing, we went with option three.

Here’s how the conversation went:

============
9:05 am.
Tyson: Umm, so it looks like we’re missing a piece from our bottler.
Greg: Shit balls.  Where is it?
Tyson: Most likely in a bottle of Irish Death, IPA, or Hefe.
Greg: Shit balls.
Jared: When do you think it went missing?
Tyson: Hard to say, but most likely this last session.
Jared: I’m going to ask three questions which will dictate our next course of action.
Is the object harmful? Will it compromise the sanitary nature of the beer? Is it possible to recover it without pouring and/or recalling?
Greg:  Whoa, whoa hold up.  Jared, somehow you are making it look like you are the responsible one in this dialogue, but we know that’s not the case.
Jared: Yes, well…damn it you’re right.
Greg: Here’s how it really went down.

=================

8:21 am
Greg: (inner voice) Man, it’s 8:21 and I’m the only one working right now, because I’m a committed person who likes bunnies and pancakes.  The pleasure of sitting at my desk gratifies me.  I better have some coffee and then work on my reprimand worksheets.

9:08 am

Tyson: Hello Boss.
Greg: Hello Head Brewer.
Tyson: We might have a wee problem.
Greg: Do tell.
Tyson: One of the off-gas compression tubes from the bottler is missing.
Greg: Well that is certainly not good. Where do you think it is?
Tyson: Most likely in a bottle of Irish Death, IPA or High Five Hefe.
Greg: Why did you link to those beers?
Tyson: Because this is a digital conversation and I figured our readers would appreciate quick links to learn more about the beer we make.
Greg: Smart and I appreciate you. Now, back to the matter at hand.
Jared: We need to call everyone and tell them immediately and we need to recall all the beer we’ve ever made ever. EVER! Wah, Wah!
Tyson: Um..hold on Greg.  I’m fairly certain this is nothing like the conversation that took place.
Greg: Oh..really, bro?
Tyson: First of all. I’m not a bro. Second of all, this post is really off topic, so I’m just going to summarize what happened.

I told Greg that the bottler piece was missing. Then we examined where it might be.  We concluded the most likely place was in a bottle of beer.  We then walked through quite a few scenarios as to what we should do. Potential harm, options to address etc.
We determined that the object was so large that no one would actually be able to swallow it, let alone not notice it was clanking around in the bottle.  We agreed that it was sanitary because the stainless steel tube actually goes in the bottle during bottling.  After a few more conversations and figuring things out, we concluded that we should just leave it in the bottle and tell everyone that our bottler broke.  That’s when Jared chimed in from across the hall…’let’s make it a contest, so at least it’s fun’.  I thought he was joking.  He apparently wasn’t.  Does that summarize things so far?

Greg: Yes….bro.
Ross: Hi guys.
Greg: Oh, sorry were you on speaker this whole time?
Ross: Ye…
Greg: <click>

=================

As you can see by the fictitious, but rooted-in-truth dialogue, we asked all the questions we felt were important to make a proper decision.

We did blow it by not notifying our distributors that we were having a first-of-its kind contest at the same time that we started to contest, but we still feel pretty good about how we handled it. We promptly brought our distributors in to the loop when we realized that they were affected parties.

As you now know, after we posted the picture and details, one of our Facebook fans quickly revealed that he had the missing piece. The original Post is here

We were surprised by this, given the fact that we believed the beer bottle in question was in a distributor’s warehouse, or not quite on the shelves yet.

This had us scratching our heads.  Time to do more digging.

Upon further investigation with the bottler manufacturer, information from the person who found the piece, and our own review of service documentation we now believe with that the stainless steel off-gas tube that was found, may have been missing for a little bit longer than originally believed, but was in fact found and the situation had been resolved.

Preventative Measures.
As a growing and maturing brewery, we have learned a couple of things and have immediately implemented additional procedures to prevent an issue like this coming up again.

-Audits are now being performed on an hourly basis to ensure that all bits and pieces of the bottler are intact and not in a bottle. This allows us to get through no more than 100 cases of beer before we check. While it is no excuse to have not done hourly audits before, the item in question is press-fit from the manufacturer leading us to believe it was not an area of concern. Mmmm, humble pie.

-We are planning the installation of a bottle sensor mechanism which prevents the circumstances that would lead to the loosening of the off-gas tube.

Great, so where’s the lesson?

As we outline in our company vision, telling the truth, even when it might hurt is paramount to our core business values. As such, we do not regret being forthright as soon as we became aware of the issue, but perhaps the method of execution could have been handled a little differently.     We continue to believe that the risk presented was below the threshold of warranting a recall. We stand by our actions, but we acknowledge our communication should have been all inclusive, rather than Facebook exclusive. In our defense, it was revealed within about an hour or so that the piece had been found, which pushed us down a different path.

We appreciate your understanding and support and would like to further impress upon you that we are committed to doing the right thing, telling the truth, and constantly improving our processes so that we can continually provide quality beer in a timely fashion.

Any questions, please let us know.

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my attempt at becoming the holiday cheermeister

Greg Parker
POSTED BY
Greg Parker December 24th 2011

This time of year I always feel like Scrooge, and often get accused of being a Scrooge. I don’t buy anything for anyone other than my wife and my kids (although last year, my kids got nothing from me). The usual question “are you ready for christmas?!” that passes for conversation causes my skin to crawl. The assumption being my response will be something like ‘oh, gosh no, i still have to shop for blah blah blah, and i don’t know what to get uncle Jack, and blah de blah”. These activities and conversations are not inherently bad or without merit, and I am sure they do bring some people true pleasure. I just can not busy myself or my mind with these holiday platitudes. Oops, the disdain is creeping back in.

It is not that I truly loathe any of this, well, actually, rampant consumerism I do kind of loathe, but I have nothing against the spirit of giving. In fact, giving can be a powerful action. On occasion, we have chosen to give to Heifer International in lieu of giving to others (my wife is not as cold-hearted as me and has to give in some way). This brings me to the point of my writing. Why do we give so much to our friends and family when, in many cases, they already have so much? This is obviously not the case with everyone who reads this, but for a great deal of Americans, actual ‘needs’ are covered and a great deal of ‘wants’ go fulfilled as well.

This year the brewery joined forces with some other local businesses and individuals and pooled our resources. Together we came up with over $4,000 in cash and services that is going to 3 different families to help them with basic necessities and hopefully a luxury or two. Without help from anyone, it would just be a cold and hard time for them. We started this last year and were joined by others this year, helping us to double the amount we were able to give. We realized that things were going pretty damn good for us. We realized that things are pretty rough for some people in our community. We realized that we would remember helping a family in tough times have a kick ass christmas, while we would most likely forget an ipod nano in a short amount of time. You know what? I remember the family we helped last year like it was yesterday, and it still breaks my heart to think about what they have been through. I don’t remember what my wife got for me last year (sorry Natalia). Natalia doesn’t remember what I got her last year (neither do I), but we still talk about the family that the brewery was able to help.

If you would like to give to this program next year, look for our call to action in November. We would love to see it continue to grow.

And Happy Holidays, even if you are getting a nano.

With Abundant Holiday Cheer,
Greg

5 Comments

I-1183, or why I will be voting no.

Greg Parker
POSTED BY
Greg Parker October 26th 2011
As someone who has staked his entire future on the ability to make and sell beer profitably, I am going to be voting no on I-1183. While there are many arguments stated by the “no” community (some valid and others I find inflammatory), I will be outlining issues that are lesser known and meaningful only to me, my staff, other small breweries, small wineries, and small beer stores, and . . .  Okay, I am trying to be dramatic, when the truth is I only care about keeping my kids outfitted with Italian made shoes. Nonetheless, I will outline what I believe to be considerable concerns for the craft brewing industry in Washington state.

Issue 1. Loss of Uniform Pricing.  One element that is left over from the immediate post-prohibition era is uniform pricing.  What this means is, a supplier (e.g. Iron Horse Brewery, ABC Distributing) must sell a unit of iron horse beer to every retail establishment for the same price. That’s right, Joe’s Bar pays the same price as Global Conglomerate Beer Warehouser Club for a keg or bottle of Irish Death (this statute applies to all alcohol). The effect here is two positives for the little guy. Joe’s Bar has at least a snowball’s chance in an equatorial region of maintaining its business because it works on the exact same alcohol margins. Yay Joe! (Joe’s Bar is still at a disadvantage because of the free stuff that is technically illegal to get from alcohol suppliers that the big groups get despite the laws). The other positive is the effect of best beer wins. Since pricing must be consistent across customers, producers set prices at sustainable levels.
“The current system encourages competition based on the merits of the beer and the brand rather than the depth of discount or value-added practices (free shit). These protections have strengthened the beer ecosystem by putting small breweries and small retailers on the same level as the big producers and retail chains.” (footnote 1) There are no price wars (not entirely, but it plays out much differently than if there were no uniform pricing) for retailer business, so price being equal, retailers take on the beers that consumers want and that sell the best. It is my honest, heartfelt belief that uniform pricing is one of the largest factors contributing to the birth and growth of the craft beer industry in Washington state. With the passage of I-1183, suppliers would be able to discount as they see fit, or in the case of Joe’s bar, not so much, since its buying power is minimal. Conversely, Global Conglomerate Beer Warehouser could come to Iron Horse Brewery and say, “we believe that your product belongs on our shelves, so long as it is 20% less than you charge Joe’s Bar or the Corner Store”.  What does a small brewery do? Sell to the big retailer for little to no profit, or perhaps a loss, so they can remain relevant to the consumer? Or should the small brewery forgo the added sales volume necessary to carve out a greater share for craft beer and the future of its own operations? You, the voter, get to determine the future landscape of the brewing industry.

Issue 2. Central Warehousing or Die! Little Retailer.
With the pasage of I-1183 it will be legal to buy wine in massive quanitities from any winery, from any state at the price a business might get if it were buying, say, 10 semi loads to store in their 400,000 square foot central warehouse to distribute to their 180 retail outlets. Unless of course you don’t have a warehouse, then sorry for you. You will be buying along with Joe’s bar at the prices that the little guy gets. Now that you have this higher cost, but the same item, what do you do? You sell it at an unsustainable margin, or you don’t sell it at all.  Both of those options provide an inadequate profit to continually operate your business, and the next thing you know you’ve got your 9 year old working behind the counter, Child Protective Services comes in and hauls them away and you get carted off to jail and the one employee you have loses their job because your store closes. So much for creating jobs.  See how much this matters?

Issue 3. It Will Be Very Easy to Make these Statutes Apply to Beer.
Right now, you may be thinking, “I-1183 doesn’t apply to beer, Greg, you asshole!” You are right, on both accounts. Although, one of these truths is likely to change. The Washington State Liquor Control Board has a stated goal of parity among the various manufacturers (wine, beer, spirits). So I-1183 changes the law for wine and spirits currently, and later, with a stroke of the administrative pen, beer can be, and in the opinion of myself and many peers of mine, will be, eventually included. Suddenly, Washington will become a “how low can your price go”, bigger brewery dumping ground.  Considering that Oregon, California, Colorado, and Massachusetts all have breweries that vastly outsize all but one Washington brewery, and therefore benefit from significant economies of scale, I believe we will see those breweries meeting the desired price point of massive retailers and taking a large share of Washington beer sales. (Obviously this does not apply to you, Mr./Ms. Craft Beer Purist, you will always support Washington beer, but what about your less informed, chain store shopping, counterpart on a tight budget?)

Issue 4. Taxpayers are Getting a Bad Deal.
I have no aversion to privatizing liquor sales. In fact, it makes a lot of sense – so much so that there have been a grand total of zero initiatives filed by citizens to privatize liquor sales. Sorry for the sarcasm (sort of). I believe liquor sales should be privatized, but not for the benefit of large corporations. Liquor sale’s privatization should benefit liquor producers, the state, and most of all consumers. You want liquor in Babies R Us? Fine, just get the initiative written by a citizen, not a corporation. (I don’t hate corporations necessarily, Iron Horse Brewery is a corporation in fact, s-corp to be exact, although we are thinking about changing to c-corp so we can have different classes of stock and wage class warfare internally, between the four of us.) If we get the state out of the liqour business, let’s make damn sure we sell the assets for a fair market value. Some other state did (I can’t remember which one, someone help me out on this) and made a lot of money. We’ve surely invested plenty, we should get a return on our collective investment in the state liquor stores.

Issue 5. Punishment of Suppliers for Distributor Violations.
This is a weird addition, but with the passage of I-1183 Iron Horse Brewery could have our licensed privileges revoked in a market because of illegal activity of our distributor with our product, whether we know it or not. What?! i don’t know where the hell that came from, but that would be a major blow if suddenly we couldn’t sell beer in Megalopolis because our distributor gave away a free keg of our beer to Global Conglomerate Beer Warehouser Club without us knowing or consenting. (footnote 2)

I have probably really agitated many of you and I hope, as did not occur with my last post, that you read me the riot act. I am sure some of my information is less than perfectly defensible and I hope you illuminate that which is not. From my position, this initiative has some pretty detrimental possibilities for my chosen profession and the 13 other people that have decided to make Iron Horse Brewery part of their working lives. This is what matters to me. From what I see, I-1183 has little to offer in benefit to citizens that couldn’t be accomplished with simply privatizing the liqour stores and not totally upending the foundation on which our current alcohol marketplace has been built. More importantly, vote yes, vote no, hate me, love me, but please, oh please, do not cast a vote without being fully informed of the true ramifications and intent of this proposal.  Simplified television advertisements are not telling you the entire story.

Hugs and Kisses,
Greg

footnotes

1 Greg Parker in an email to himself dated 8/19 on the same subject
2 This may already be in the law, i need to do some more research, but i ran out of time.
1 Comment

Not Enough Beer, WTF?! Signed, an Angry Loyal Customer

Greg Parker
POSTED BY
Greg Parker October 12th 2011

I see, not surprisingly, little, from my dumpy off-site office. Sometimes I open the blinds and see the backside of an old brick building and power lines, but often enough the sun is blaring through the window turning it into an oven so I tend to leave the blinds closed. More importantly is my lack of view of what is happening at ground level at the brewery, tasting room, micropub, distributors, and retailers. It is not that we don’t have an excellent and in-tune staff who convey the challenges to me. It is just that a layer of insulation tends to dull the pain. Add to that, the ongoing juggle of wholesale vs. retail, staff happiness vs. increased production and we end up with no one feeling truly loved. It is easier, perhaps, to have one child, but it is not ultimately better for the child or the parent. (unless you are the parents of an only child then i am sure it is better, it just screws up the analogy for me)

So here we are, iron horse brewery with a wholesale child and two retail children (which are kind of like siamese twins. and each distributor could be considered there own child and,boy, this is getting complicated). The strength of having retail and wholesale are at once obvious and obscure. Each has taken its turn in holding up the family budget in tougher times. They both promote iron horse brewery as a brand locally and regionally. Retail gives us direct consumer feedback, which is of immeasurable importance. Wholesale is demanding volumes of beer that will justify the imminent expansion of our production facility.

“No fair”, says retail, “we deserve more beer”. “No fair” says wholesale “we deserve more beer”. If only it were that simple. We take the concerns we hear seriously, they are real, and they trouble us.  The other day a “passionate” conversation was had by a few key staffers of the brewery. How do we solve this problem of limited supply and increasingly threatening demand was the question. Answers ranged from pull out of some distribution to get rid of specials at retail and raise prices. Everyone who participated had different views and something different at stake.  We all decided that we didn’t like any of the answers that we came up with but we had to be adults compromise and make some decisions. (Is anyone in Washington D.C. taking note?).

What we decided was this: Retail you have to give up something you have been accustomed to,  growler fills of every beer on tap. When we have a limited supply of a beer, it will be for pints only and when the cost of inputs is dramatically higher, the retail price will be higher as well. What we didn’t keep on the table was elimination of the smoking hot growler special, [you’re welcome!] and our everyday rock bottom growler prices. While prices always go up, and ours will on some items, we value getting good product to local consumers at prices that reflect cost of living and current economic factors.  Wholesale? You’re stuck, we are at capacity and there will be no more volume being carved out of retail for your benefit. We love you, but difficult decisions have to be made.

Now, I prepare myself for the barrage of angry comments. Let me have it, I love abuse.

Hugs and Kisses
Greg

1 Comment

Dolarway Road Closed = Rerouting Fun

Jared Vallejo
POSTED BY
Jared Vallejo September 1st 2011

September 6th – October
The West portion of Dolarway Road will be closed for 7-10 weeks from September 6th through
the end of October. You will not be able to get to the Brewery from the west side of Dolarway
during the closure; however, you can still get to the Brewery from the other direction:
• Head West on 5th Ave. until you come to Railroad Ave.
• When you reach Railroad Ave, take a right.
• Continue down Railroad Ave until you see Prospect St.
• Take a right on Prospect and follow the road to the Brewery.

No Comments

News? I guess this website is new.

Jared Vallejo
POSTED BY
Jared Vallejo March 3rd 2011

Welcome to our revamped website.
We’ve turned things upside down, so if you encounter any issues please email website@ironhorsebrewery.com.

Now, go drink a beer.

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, Malt Bomb, 509 Style, Loco Imperial Red, Light Rale Ale, Cozy Sweater, High Five Hefe and our latest Black IPA should be served throughout the pacific northwest. It can supplement meals too.