Rails to Ales: Cle Elum celebrates beer and community

Rails to Ales

Rails to Ales

Last month, Vivian and I had the pleasure of attending the third annual Rails to Ales Brewfest in Cle Elum. I have been wanting to check out this brewfest for a couple of years but I have had a difficult time enticing someone to cross the mountains with me to drink beer. After attending Rails to Ales once, I don’t think I will have that problem again. I think Rails to Ales is a perfect example of a well run community brewfest!

Milwaukee Depot

Milwaukee Depot in Cle Elum

This brewfest did a great job of emphasizing community and great beer. Rails to Ales Brewfest is a fund raiser for the Cascade Rail Foundation and is held at the historic Milwaukee Depot in South Cle Elum. Under a brilliant summer sky, with the mountains as back drop, people gathered for food, fun and BEER! The crowd was a nice mix of the locals, vacationers and a few day trippers like ourselves. The socializing and the entertainment were just as important as the beer at this brew fest.

Pike Brew Taps

Pike Brew Taps


Rails to Ales boasted 19 breweries, wineries and cider producers pouring two to four beverages each.  Both sides of the mountain were well represented with a few national breweries thrown into the mix. Breweries ranged from the big like Mac and Jack to the tiny like 192 Brewery. Georgetown Brewery won the people’s choice for Manny’s Pale Ale but we leaned towards spending our tokens on the east side and smaller breweries that we usually only see at brewfests.

Here were some of our most memorable brews from that day:

  • Roslyn Brewery: Roslyn Dark Lager
  • Whitstran Brewery: Highlander Scottish-Style Ale
  • Diamond Knot Brewery: Blonde Ale
  • Snipes Mountain Brewery: Lavender Wheat
Dancing to Vicci Martinez

Dancing to Vicci Martinez


I have heard some pretty atrocious music at brewfests so we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the entertainment at Rails to Ales. I admit that often I try to find the location farthest away from the bands but that wasn’t the case at Rails to Ales. It is really amazing how much more enjoyable a Brewfest is when you can kick back with a brew and truly enjoy the music. Three live bands graced the stage and all three had the crowd up and dancing. It was fun to watch them get up and dance and it made me miss the days when I could join them.

Hula Dancing

Hula Dancing

It was Vicci Martinez that blew us away. Long after the taps had shut down, we sat back and enjoyed her sexy and sultry voice croon while her band kept the beat. It didn’t matter that we had a long drive ahead of us back to Seattle, we stayed until the last note was played.

With ticket prices only $15, the Rails to Ales Brewfest is an exceptional deal. It is more than just beer, it is about enjoying great beer in the summer time for a good cause. Take a trip to Rails to Ales next year, it is worth the drive.

3 Responses to “Rails to Ales: Cle Elum celebrates beer and community”

  1. Vivian says:

    The backdrop of the South Cle Elum Ridge was just the icing on the cake, or rather in this case, the head on the beer. I know I will return to enjoy this summer festival again.

  2. linda says:

    Bean as always, you captured the essence of the day and the festival beautifully. Cheers, Linda

    • Bean says:

      Thanks Linda, it was great fun to hang out with you at the Pike Brewing booth. Ebony appreciated the ice and I appreciated the beer and company 🙂

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