The worst thing about Ellensburg Brewing Co. & Tilted Tree Cider is that I no longer have the excuse drive to Leavenworth for German food. Why weave through Blewett Pass when I can get my fill of schnitzel, spaetzle, and pretzels right here in Ellensburg? Writing that out I now see that it’s not a bad thing at all.
The second worst part is that I never know if I should call it Ellensburg Brewing & Malting Company, Ellensburg Brewing Co. & Tilted Tree Cider, EllensTree CiderMalt & Tilted Brewing, or any other of the mouthful of names that I associate with this place from signage or social media. Luckily for the EBC&TTC/EC&TB/WTAF that’s about where my criticism ends.
On a recent visit my little family of four ordered a pretzel with beer cheese, a kids chicken strips and fries, a Reuben sandwich, and a Jagerschnitzel. Everything tasted great and each dish was roughly the size of my oldest child so the majority of it came home with us in boxes. While everything was quite good, a surprising standout are the french fries. None of us could stop eating those beautifully-seasoned little buggers. The kids chicken strips could easily pass for an adult meal in both size and quality. The Reuben had about an inch and a half of towering pastrami and is a contender for the best version of that classic sandwich in town. The Jagerschnitzel is perhaps better than a Jagerschnitzel has any right to be with a perfect amount of mushroom sauce on a crunchy and tender fried pork loin, all atop braised red cabbage and those little heaven nuggets known as spaetzle. I could nitpick and say that I thought the spaetzle were a little puny and I much prefer them refried in brown butter as I do at home but spaetzle is pretty much wonderful regardless of shape or size.
I sampled all of the house-brewed ciders and while the American Apple is the only one I truly enjoy, I am just happy that more people are making ciders so, A for effort. The fruitier and sweeter offerings are not to my taste but I know that they will appeal to many others and the pumpkin cider is not remotely as bad as one would think it would be. The newly-released Oktoberfest beer is…I don’t know…beer. Beer rarely leaves an impression on me but I’ve been told it’s good by people who appreciate beer far more than I care to.
As with Jim Rowe’s other joints in town, it’s a highly professional operation staffed by competent people, but he seems to be really flexing his restaurateur muscles with this new venture. The food prices are a little high for the area but any two reasonable adults could split a meal and keep costs way down. A smaller lunch menu would be a nice addition.
I think Ellensburg Brewing Company is an asset to downtown Ellensburg. It’s big, friendly enough for groups and families, and brings to town a cuisine and atmosphere that we’ve been lacking. Oh, and the food is about as satisfying as food gets.