Smack dab in the middle of Washington State, Ellensburg is known as the home to Central Washington University and famous for the Ellensburg Rodeo every Labor Day Weekend. The walking-friendly town of close to 20,000 is not often considered a destination for craft beverages, but over the last decade, the prevalence of beverage makers has started to change.
It’s also been decades since Ellensburg has had an operating hotel in its downtown core, but with the recent opening of Hotel Windrow, there’s now an option for downtown accommodations. Hotel Windrow is attached to the former historic Elks Lodge building, with much of the original 1923 brickwork still visible in parts of the lobby and restaurant. The 59-room hotel is just steps from downtown, offering an ideal basecamp for sipping and strolling.
Make your way into the downtown core to explore the wonderfully preserved historic building, charming shops and sip along the way.
Iron Horse Brewery
Iron Horse Brewery started in a tiny space with a big dream and has grown into one of the largest producing breweries in the state. Its production facilities reside just on the edge of town, with a large brewpub in the heart of Ellensburg. Stop into the pub downtown to enjoy the fun atmosphere and great service. There’s a full menu with delicious options, as well as, of course, plenty of IHB beers on tap. Try something you can’t find in cans on shelves or go for the Iron Horse namesake, a pint of Quilter’s Irish Death. If you’re there in the warmer months, grab your beer and take it outside to play a round of corn hole, a game of giant Jenga or sit by the custom IHB fireplace and chat with friends.
Whipsaw is the brainchild of Charlie and Debbie Tierney, opening in 2016 after Charlie’s years of work in the logging industry. Whipsaw is best known for its Buzz on Blackberry wheat ale, which Charlie developed after Debbie, who wasn’t a beer drinker, asked for a beer with berries in it. The fruity beer with notes of blackberry and lemon was born, and the Tierneys decided to move forward with opening a brewery. Visit their taproom a few blocks from downtown and grab a pint of Buzz On, or if you’re in the mood for something that packs a punch, a Stumpblower IPA, and enjoy the cozy space surrounded by dark wood. There’s normally a food truck on-site to pair food with your brew, and in the warmer months, there’s plenty of outdoor seating to soak up the sun.
Ellensburg Brewing & Tilted Tree Cidery
Ellensburg Brewing opened in the former Moose Lodge building, preserving a piece of Ellensburg history. The town once had its own Ellensburg Brewing and Malting Co., operating in the early 1900s, and this space, decorated with historic prints from the county’s museum, aims to pay homage to the town’s brewing past. There’s a long bar for seating and plenty of tall tables to enjoy a pint, but the best spot is right in front of the fireplace on a big comfy couch. Order from their German-inspired menu, grab a pint of Ellensburg Brewery’s own brew or opt for a glass of cider or a cocktail.
Dark Moon Craft Beer & Wine
Although not a brewery or winery in its own right, Dark Moon is a great stop for those looking for something unique to sip. This bottle shop and taproom boasts 14 rotating taps featuring a variety of brews. The space hosts a wide selection of bottled and canned beer, both imports and domestic, along with a unique wine selection to round out your choices. Choose a bottle off the shelf and grab a few glasses or try a beer on tap and find a seat to enjoy something you may have never heard of before.