Well, it’s almost here. On Saturday, Aug. 27, City Weekly and Local First Utah will host the second-annual Utah Beer Festival, taking place at the Salt Lake City & County building from 1-6 p.m.
I hear the groans. We got off to a rocky start with the 2010 beer fest, which tested our logistical planning capabilities and a lot of people’s patience. But I’m assured that this year will be different: better traffic flow and shorter lines at the event, for starters. Also new this year, thanks to our enlightened Legislature, beer drinkers at the beer fest will be given tokens with which to redeem beers. Beer-drinker admission tickets are $15 in advance ($25 day of) and will include five beer tickets and a commemorative 5-ounce tasting cup. More tokens can be purchased at the event. Twelve-ounce and 4-ounce pours will be available of both 3.2 percent and full-strength brews. Designated-driver admission for nondrinkers attending the festival is $5.
In addition to beer, this year’s event will feature live music, food vendors, a bike valet and more. Confirmed food vendors include the Chow Truck, El Zocalo, The Pie, Hoppers, Chris ’n’ Dave’s Boiled Peanuts, Casual Cuisine Catering, Chocolate Conspiracy, City Dogs and others.
But you’re coming for the beer, right? Here is what’s on tap. As of press time, I didn’t have information on all of the beers being poured, but did get most of them. New for this year are Moab Brewery, Park City Brewing, and Tracks Brewing Company. They will join returnees Bohemian, Desert Edge, Epic, Hoppers, Red Rock, Roosters, Ruby River, Shades of Pale, Squatters, Wasatch and Uinta, the latter of which will be pouring beers from its Classic, Organic and Crooked lines.
My favorite beer from the 2010 festival was Wasatch’s jalapeño-spiked brew, which will be on tap again this year. Other tempting brews being poured at the 2011 Beer Festival include beers from Epic’s Elevated series, like Brainless Belgian-Style Golden Ale, which offers rich and complex malt flavors, and its Hopulent IPA, packing a hoppy punch. Speaking of IPA, Tracks will pour Light Rail Ale, an American lager that should be perfect on a hot summer day. Among Moab Brewery’s offerings are Dead Horse Amber Ale, Scorpion Pale Ale and a lightly hopped, refreshing German-style pils called Porcupine Pilsner.
From the award-winning Red Rock Brewery, you’ll be able to taste beers ranging from its light-bodied, crisp Honey Wheat and intense Elephino Double IPA (double dry-hopped) to a Belgian-style Saison called Le Quatre. Another good warm-weather option at the fest will be Hoppers’ This Is the Pilsener, flavored with Czech Saaz hops. Hoppers will also be serving its traditional German-style Oktoberfest Marzen beer, Stein Knocker Lager, which has become one of my favorites. Park City’s newest brewery, Shades of Pale, will tempt festival goers with Jack Wagon, an American-style wheat beer that’s nutty with hints of citrus, along with moderately bitter (bitter beer is good!) Publican Pale Ale. Park City Brewery’s offerings include its popular PC Steamer and Baja Especial wheat ale.
I’m running out of room, but Roosters’ Diamondback Ale and Junction City Chocolate Stout, Desert Edge’s Helle Lager and Downtown Nut Brown Ale, and Ruby River’s Ruby Red Ale and Lower Latitude will all be available, along with too many more to mention.
Advance tickets (why wait in line?) are available at Epic Brewing, Desert Edge, Bohemian Brewery, Ruby River, Hoppers, The Beer Store, Red Rock, Squatters, Roosters, City Weekly offices or online at SmithsTix.com. Prosit!
Maybe someday the saying will be, “Eat, drink and be merry—you’re in Utah.”