Yes, I’ve been lazy about writing reviews this summer, but I promise it’s because I’ve been so busy eating and drinking my way through Central Washington. Someone has to do it. So let’s talk about my new favorite place in Ellensburg, shall we?
Whipsaw Brewery and the Red Pickle– meant for each other!
I’m a known wino and boozehound, so it’s pretty strange for me to really love a place that serves only beer. I don’t dislike beer but it’s not what I seek out. Plus, my husband loves beer enough for both of us. What makes us return again and again is the atmosphere. It’s cheerful and low-key, and the beer tastes great. Since I’m basically never without my toddler in tow, it’s critical that Whipsaw offers a comfortable indoor and patio environment for families, and bonus points for including the furry members. This summer, when the new-but-beloved food truck, Red Pickle, parked itself in Whipsaw’s parking lot, this strange spot in industrial West Ellensburg became something pretty special.
This is where the story gets cutesy. While Whipsaw is the product of a lovely couple who went all in to make delicious beer, Red Pickle is the product of a lovely couple who went all in to make delicious sandwiches. It’s basically the Brady Bunch but with alcohol. If I had the design skills to do so, I would make a helpful infographic to show how these two pair came together in this holy union that’s more than the sum of its parts. But I don’t. Sorry.
Now for the specifics. I’ve tried most of Whipsaw’s beers and have really, really liked all of them. Again, I’m not a really a beer person but I think I know a good one when I taste it and it seems like they’re all damn good. Crazy. Even the Buzz on Blackberry Wheat, despite my general dislike for overtly fruity beers, is amazingly subtle and refreshing; the Stumpblower is as good of an IPA as you’ll get anywhere, even here in hops country; and the stout doesn’t suffer from cloying thickness or overly chocolate or coffee notes. They always have about half a dozen varieties on tap (all their own creations) and I’ve yet to find a dud. For the non-drinkers, their root beer is delicious and pairs perfectly with a scoop of Winegar’s vanilla ice cream. Whipsaw, if you’re reading this, you are welcome to steal that idea.
The Red Pickle has the same attention to detail and it seems like their food just gets better and better. The buttermilk fried chicken sandwich is pretty excellent, and the cajun fries and fried okra that were offered over rodeo weekend were spectacular (where does one even get such fresh okra?). My favorite of Red Pickles offerings, however, are found on their weekend brunch menu. If you’ve read this blog you know that I have strong feelings about eggs benedict and constantly lament the lack of good breakfast and brunch options in Ellensburg. The Red Pickle does brunch really well. I’m not sure what else there is to say. The ham benedict, the breakfast quesadilla, and the green eggs and ham for the kiddo were all delicious. Once my kid got over the color of the eggs (which is, in a stroke of pure genius, just eggs and fresh spinach blended before cooking) he enthusiastically cleaned his plate.
What makes the Red Pickle and Whipsaw Brewery special is their dedication to excellence. Both are quite new, so not everything is perfect, but the fact that neither seems content to settle for “pretty good” is what sets them apart. When Mario, the co-owner/chef comes out from his truck to ask how the food is, he actually wants to know. True perfectionism and humility are rare qualities and I only wish more restaurants around Ellensburg adopt a bit of those attitudes that make Whipsaw Brewery and the Red Pickle a couple of diamonds in the rough.
I have only one suggestion: beermosas for brunch.
Oh, and in case this wasn’t obvious,
Whipsaw Brewery, 704 N Wenas St., Ellensburg, WA 98926