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Weekend Pick: Don't be left out of Winterhop Brewfest

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The Ellensburg Winterhop Brewfest is sold out. Also the sky is blue, fire is hot and ice is cold. As it ever was, as it ever shall be.

You have to get your tickets as soon as they go on sale in early December. But (BUT!) here’s the thing: You can still go and hang out even if you don’t have a ticket. Winterhop is a different kind of beer festival that way. It’s not in a convention center or a roped-off area outdoors; it’s spread throughout downtown Ellensburg businesses. So if, for instance, you wanted to stop by Old Skools to flip through used records and check out a Brewfest set by Yakima singer-songwriter Jez Slowe (These Guitars Say Sorry), you can do that without a ticket. You can’t taste the beer they’ll be pouring there, but you can still get a taste of the festival atmosphere.

There’s a whole lineup of local musicians playing Winterhop, including a few names that should be familiar to Yakima music fans. First-rate teenage rock group Tempest will be there. And Abby Brown, The Girl in Black, will be there too, as will The Chase Craig Band. There will be 15 performers over all, including Portland-based Sam Densmore, who may be my favorite of this year’s bunch.

Of course, for those of you who DO have tickets: Congratulations; you’re in for some wonderful beer. Thirty-one Northwest breweries, five cider makers and one hard seltzer maker will pour their products at the festival. The lineup includes some beloved favorites such as Bale Breaker Brewing Co. and Deschutes Brewery, as well as some up-and-

comers such as SnoTown Brewery out of Snohomish and Squirrel Fight Artisan Brewing out of Moses Lake. It’s up to you whether to try something new or go with what you already know.

Speaking of what you already know: Remember, if you want a ticket next year, get it early.

If you go

What: Ellensburg Winterhop Brewfest

When: Noon-5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Downtown Ellensburg

Tickets: $40 (sold out)

Reach Pat Muir at

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