The assignment from The Boss was clear, if also daunting. City Weekly was going to hunt for the coldest draft beer in town, no matter where it might be poured.
That idea soon spread beyond the borders of Salt Lake City proper to include a broad sampling of bars from Ogden to Provo, Park City to Tooele, hitting more than 170 bars over the course of three weeks. Fifteen writers scoured the area with high-tech testing equipment (OK, cheap digital thermometers), certificates to note the thermometers’ readings and an eye for what made each bar unique from the next.
You won’t find every bar you know in here. Some familiar places don’t serve draft beer at all (Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Kristauf’s, Sandbar Mexican Grill, W Lounge, Ogden’s City Club and The Spur in Park City to name a few), some had broken coolers and couldn’t participate, some seemed to never be open when we went to test, some had closed (RIP Bar-X, Atchafalaya in Provo) and some we pre-emptively excluded for practicality’s sake, such as hotel bars, bowling alley lounges, golf courses’ 19th holes and ski-resort taverns (but we did tackle some of those bars via an online readers poll; you’ll find the results in the Readers' Picks article). We also didn’t test at places more known as restaurants than as bars nor did we test at concert or sporting venues open only for shows or on game nights. And we ordered cheap yellow beer at every place we visited (usually a Budweiser or the closest thing to it).
Some interesting things we learned: A bar’s beer temperatures can vary day to day, based on a number of factors. But more to the point, a 35-degree glass of Bud really doesn’t taste that much different than a 45-degree glass. There are many more groovy neighborhood bars reflecting their respective communities than we could have imagined and, thanks to the state doing away with those annoying private-club requirements, a lot of bars are spiffing up their environs to attract a wider clientele.
This, then, is your guide to those neighborhood haunts that you’ve always wanted to check out. Sit back and savor the results, hopefully while downing a frothy mug of your own.
Contributors: Nick Clark, Austen Diamond, Bill Frost, Jesse Fruhwirth, Rachel Hanson, Randy Harward, Josh Loftin, Dan Nailen, Eric S. Peterson, John Rasmuson, Scott Renshaw, Ted Scheffler, Anna Sullivan, Cody Winget, Jerre Wroble