It never ceases to amaze me how, whenever you look at something statistical, the 80/20 rule always seems to apply. Such is the correlation between Washington’s population and the location of its breweries.
Roughly speaking, 80% of Washingtonians inhabit 20% of the state’s land area: specifically the western one-fifth wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains. So it makes perfect sense that 80% of the state’s breweries are located west of the mountains too. However, that’s not to say there are none east of the Cascades – just not so many.
One such brewer who has recently caught my attention is Iron Horse Brewery of Ellensburg, Washington. Their brews have started appearing in bottles in our local grocery store and I have sampled two of them on tap: Iron Horse IPA and Loco Imperial Red.
Neither of these ales are in any way exotic; in fact they conform closely to two of the four styles produced by pretty much every Pacific Northwest brewer. And therein lies their success – because they hold their own against 80% of the brews from all the other Seattle area breweries. This alone makes Iron Horse worth seeking out.
Iron Horse Brewery is situated close to I-90 just 55 miles east of Snoqualmie Pass. This puts them closer to the greater Seattle market than any other brewer east of the Cascades. And judging by the beer finder map at their website, they are aggressively competing for greater Seattle’s hotly contested tap space.
I guess what I’m saying is if you walk in to your usual watering hole; the place where you usually have a Mac & Jack’s; and you find Loco Red on tap, give it a try. Same for the Manny’s Pale drinkers; if you see a Iron Horse IPA tap next to your familiar Georgetown brew, give the Iron Horse a shot. That’s what I did both times and I’m glad I did.