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18 of Our Favorite Memories From [the pub] Told By Past & Present Cousins

From The Iron Horse Brewery Blog

18 of Our Favorite Memories From [the pub] Told By Past & Present Cousins


The goal of our pub has always been to be a community gathering space with great beer.  We’ve strived to create an atmosphere where friends, neighbors, and people driving through Ellensburg that need a bathroom stop could all gather in comfortable harmony.  With a simplistic and open space, people could meet and focus on company and enjoy a beer together.  We’re proud that the 412 N Main location was a space that served everyone from our mug clubbers and regulars stopping by after work, to weekly trivia brainiacs, to community pint nights, to 1,000 athletes participating in our annual .5k micro-fundraiser.

As we transition towards [the beer park] (bark for short) at our production facility and [the pub] finding a permanent home at 201 N Pearl, we’re looking forward to expanding our services with the same goal of being the community gathering space with great beer.  There’s a lot of work to be done, but we thought we’d take a moment to look back on some of our favorite memories from 412 N Main.  Here are some of the highlights told by past and present cousins.  

There’s a lot to share, so we’re going to break this into categories. 

What are you going to miss about the pub?

“The thing I loved most about the pub was the connection between the humans who frequented it. People talked about the things that mattered to them, with people who didn’t necessarily think the same way,  all while enjoying a beer and each other. The rest of the world may think civil discourse is dead but it’s alive and well at Iron horse.

What’s special about Iron Horse is the people it attracts and the connections made within its walls. After overseeing two of these moves, I can tell you this is the one thing that remained the same and I am confident that will ring true for the next move as well. 

Good luck to all of you managing this next move! I can’t want to see it all come together.”

-Suzanne Vargas, former Pub Manager

“I don’t even know where to begin…. this place turned into my 2nd home over the last 5.5 years. I have experienced the lowest of the lows to the highest of the highs within those walls. cheese bandit still not forgiving her for stealing my damn string cheese. my first st paddys day, which turned into my least favorite day of the year to work. talk about stress levels high! Eastern Washington brewfest being my favorite event to date at the pub. Cozy Sweater parties… let’s just say I cut my first person ever off… you always remember the first, turned out to be a cousin’s boyfriend :/ adding food, taking away food. Going to miss the snowing night sitting in the watch the snow fall, to sitting outside by the fire.”
-Brooke Kvinsland, Pub Manager

“Pretty much every time I go into the pub I run into someone I know. And it’s not the awkward ‘I know them but not well enough to say hi or else it’d be really awkward’ kind of situation. It was always people I loved seeing! I’ll miss that.

I’m definitely excited for bigger and better things for the pub! I think IHB outgrew the main street location a while ago. I think it’s time for a sick new BARK!”

-Taylor Villock, former Server and mug holder in this picture

“I’m going to miss having the pub as a social gathering place, but let’s be honest 2020 really screwed that up for all of us. I think my best memories come from Evergreen Meetings, and IHB special events. (Mustache Party, Cozy Sweater, Etc.) With that said I know there is lots to look forward to with the new location, I love the idea of the barK, and honestly that can’t happen soon enough!!”
-Jettrell Stetner, HR

“My favorite memories from our [micropub] was on game nights, when the IHB softball team would come in before/after their games, it was always packed and joyful, no matter whether we won or lost.”
-Rikki Welz, QA/QC, Cicerone, Optimist

“During my trivia days, [the pub] almost felt like a home stadium. I didn’t have to worry about getting there super early to get the proper setup. I didn’t have to worry about competing with something else going on. The back room was safe. There was comfort and ease there that not a lot of spaces in Ellensburg that felt so free to me. Whether it was trivia or Third Thursday Thinks or Cousinfest, it had this “living room” feel that really added to an event. When we had to go from rotating trivia to [pub]-only trivia, it was a challenge to figure out how to keep people coming week after week. The ability to add a running scoreboard and try new things that [the pub] afforded really helped elevate the event further in my mind. I hope that whatever’s coming next can replicate that feeling and keep the “family” feel of Iron Horse for years to come. Also don’t add too many TVs if any.”

-Alex Grosby, former Trivia Host, former IHB Podcaster, and current Phish fan

“The pub is where I started my journey with Iron Horse Brewery.  After meeting Greg on a mountain bike ride, I wouldn’t stop pestering him and Jared about picking up odds and ends in the Marketing Department.  Studying marketing at CWU at the time, I didn’t think there could be a cooler job than brewery marketing.  I finally secured regular hours by pitching a weekly event- Bike Fights.  (shout out to my friends from the Bike Hub shop in Spokane for letting me lift their idea).
The concept is simple: two competitors ride as hard as they can for a minute on stationary bikes.  Whoever goes ‘further’ in that minute moves up a bracket until a winner is crowned.

In theory, it was a unique event that would draw in a small crowd on a weeknight.  In practice, I don’t know how we didn’t kill anyone.  A minute sprint at 100% effort is roughly the same amount of time it takes to grow old and raise a family- it is an ETERNITY.  Mix in a pint (that was included with registration) and the whole pub had the potential to be in the splash zone after every heat.  I can’t confirm or deny that we had contestants checking on the gutters and bushes outside after a few races.  It got pretty rowdy for a Tuesday night.  I don’t know how IHB thought it was a good idea to retain me after that, but I’m glad it worked out.”

-Adam Ransavage, Marketing guy and thanker of the Recycle Bike Shop across the street for letting us use their equipment          

What about special events at the pub?

“My fondest memory of the pub is the first year we did the Paddy .5K and the group of serious runners who were pissed because they didn’t see the decimal.”

-Ross Chalstrom, first in sales and second guy from the left in this pic

“My favorite all-time memory from all of the pub locations so far was when the band Iron Horse (they play bluegrass, from Muscle Shoals Alabama!) was able to come out and play at our St Paddy’s Day Half K celebration. So many of our friends came in from out of town to “run” the race and when the band started playing Polar Opposites, me and two of our guy friends were openly crying tears of joy about the whole day (great friends, great times, and one of our favorite bands? How can life get much better?!). The band was incredibly kind as well, I was very stoked to meet them in the “green room” (aka the old micropub!!), and I have the setlist from the performance on my desk to this day. In the other picture you can see me, paul, our friends morgan and chris, and ryan as well. Looking through the facebook album from IHB, I swear half the audience for the concert was friends staying at our place! We need them to come out again, asap. Preferably at the Bark, so we can use my house up the hill as the green room, and I can drive them to the stage on the company golf cart 😉 ”
-Rikki Welz, QA/QC, Cicerone, Optimist, girl to the right of Paul

“My favorite pub memory, hands down, was getting to watch Iron Horse play at the .5k in 2018. If you don’t know, Iron Horse is a bluegrass tribute band from Alabama. They’ve covered an eclectic range of other bands’ works; Led Zeppelin, Hank Williams, Guns n Roses, The Shins, and so on. I first stumbled on them in my college years when they put out a tribute album for Modest Mouse and I’ve been a big fan of their music ever since. Getting to watch them perform up close at the pub was an enormous treat for me, Rikki and several of our friends who are also fans.”

-Paul Copenhaver, Chief Abacus Operator, guy to the left of Rikki

“Ohh my gosh, I think the highlight memory for me was circa 2015, when Adam and Greg went head to head in a pixie bike race at the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance Pint Night!! I have never seen grown men take riding 12″ bikes so damn serious! Adam bent the cranks and I think Greg almost crashed! We literally packed this place out, the whole event was a major success and I think Evergreen raised like 700 bucks that night!!”

-Jettrell Stetner, HR

“That one time Brooke made me dress up as a penguin to hand out candy for Halloween.”

-Taylor Villwock, former Server

“This shirt I bought the first time I went to IHB (to celebrate getting engaged to Paul (neither of us worked for Iron Horse yet!). The vest Tyson is wearing I made out of old bottle labels. The picture was taken at IHB’s 10 year anniversary party. All happy memories in one picture.”

-Rikki Welz, QA/QC, Cicerone, Optimist, not wearing a vest

“When the brewery needed a couple more gentlemen to help keep up with production and hired Marty and Steve.  They even got promoted to host the High Five Hefe can release party and to no surprise, seconds after shot-gunning the first cans to be released, Marty chest bumped Steve in celebration. Steve almost puked on the pub floor.”

Steve Ashley Keiser, former Server turned Market Manager

What’d we miss?

“ just have so many awesome memories from IHB’s softball team gatherings, to evergreen meetings, to just casual conversations with complete strangers. I am going to miss the pub location as I’ve known it, but I also know there is so much to look forward to!”
– Jettrell Stetner, HR

“I think one of my fondest memories has to be anytime John and Marsha Smith brought us fresh veggies and fruit! I miss seeing my favorite regulars!”

-Taylor Villwock, former Server

“I am very excited to see what the future brings us, based on the last 3 places we have poured beer from, these next iterations will keep building great memories for us in our personal lives as much as professional lives of the IHB cousins. ”
-Rikki Welz, QA/QC, Cicerone, Optimist 

In closing, we’d like to thank everyone that had a part in making [the pub] what it was.  To the past and present cousins, the mug clubbers, the regulars, the trivia contestants, the party-goers, the pint-nighters, Bill, the just-stopping-byers, the .5k athletes, the just-passing-throughers; you were the community of our community gathering space.  

Thank you.  

We hope to see you in 2021 at [the beer park] and [the pub].  

We could ramble on, but we think Dane sums it up the best:

“The Pub. So many great memories, both on the professional and personal side of the spectrum. From the hundreds of people that would descend on it for the .5k to always seeing Jake and Morgan battle in yet another game of cribbage. Or maybe it was the 20,000 calories plus that I consumed of ‘Sloppy Jared’s’ or bacon wrapped dates. Trying one of KC or Tami’s new, experimented dishes or cakes. Or the time that I celebrated my parents 50th wedding anniversary in the backroom with an audience of their closest friends, only to have my wife publicly present me with a t-shirt that read, ‘I Still Live With My Parents’. Maybe it was the time that I played ‘rage cage’ with cousins, 15 years my younger, who ultimately had the last laugh the next morning. Whatever the memory or experience, the Pub never disappointed as the backdrop. But with all great things, they must come to an end. With that I couldn’t be more excited about the next chapter. Both the Pearl Street building and the bark are positioned to be a wonderful next step in the maturation of the Iron Horse Brewery experience.”

-Dane Williams, Sales/Marketing Extraordinaire and closing statement first-timer  

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