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Downtown Ellensburg brews up a good time

Cody Spencer, Staff Reporter - January 16, 2013

Breweries from around the Northwest have been hand-selected by the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce to pour their beer in venues throughout downtown for the annual WinterHop Brewfest on Jan. 19.

Held the third weekend of January every year, the event is fast becoming a popular community gathering and showcases the best of what our region has to offer.

Tickets for the event went on sale Dec. 1, 2012, but were sold out by Jan. 4.

“We have sold out every year,” said Roylene Crawford, director of events at the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce. “The brewfest provides an economic impact to the community, especially in the middle of winter when things are a little slower.”

Crawford spearheaded the planning of this year’s WinterHop Brewfest. She attracted twenty-one breweries from the northwest, including local favorites Iron Horse Brewery and Roslyn Brewing. Some breweries scheduled to be at the event, such as Diamond Knot Brewing, are not based in Ellensburg but have ties to the community.

“Our goal is to get people to come to Ellensburg,” Crawford said.

Jessica Tate, junior recreation and tourism management major and Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce intern, assisted Crawford in planning the event.

“People come from all over,” Tate said. “Even if you are a non-drinker, just go. It’s a fun way to spend a day in downtown Ellensburg.”

A variety of live music will also be featured at the brewfest. Performers include Central student artists, local bands and professional musicians. Alex Mabey, junior recreation management, is a local singer/songwriter and will be performing at the brewfest.

“My music targets a wide range of people,” Mabey said. “I would absolutely encourage everybody to go downtown.”

The breweries will be stationed at 10 separate downtown venues, offering product samples to people who have a ticket. In addition to tasting the best of what the northwest has to offer, event attendees will have a unique opportunity to talk face-to-face with brewers.

There is no age limit for entry into the venues, so alcohol safety will be strictly enforced. To receive and consume alcohol at any location, attendees must check themselves in at a pre-determined location, where they will be given a glass to use for the day.

They must also be wearing an event bracelet given to them by an event official. Ticket-holders will have access to five free glasses of beer, which will remain available for purchase from the brewer if the attendee wishes to sample a few more.

Businesses will not shut down during the festival, so the public is encouraged to attend the brewfest to listen to live music and celebrate the success of our local breweries have had. For a complete list of breweries, venues and musicians, contact the Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce at

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