Utah Beer Festival: Beer Here 

City Weekly cooks up Utah’s biggest brewhaha.

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A state like Utah, with an abundance of award-winning beer producers, deserves to have a great beer festival, right? It’s a no-brainer, which is probably why we at City Weekly got into the brewfest biz.

We’re not the first. I recall wandering around a sparsely attended beer festival back in the early ’90s at Deer Valley Resort. It’s where I first met Mark Alston, proprietor of The Beer Nut and The Bayou, who shanghaied me into taking a crack at homebrewing. I’m not sure whether to thank or smack him, such was my addiction to homebrew for many years.

I’ve more or less gotten that monkey off my back now; I leave the brewing to the pros. Which brings me back to the City Weekly Utah Beer Festival: It’s gonna be a gas, and loaded with Utah’s best suds, made by the pros. We’re so confident that this thing is going to rock that we’re calling it our first annual beer festival.

Here’s the nitty-gritty: The Utah Beer Festival takes place at the City & County Building in downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 11, 1-6 p.m. Attendees will get to sample 3-ounce pours from among more than 40 different Utah brews made by about a dozen different brewers, including full-strength varieties from brewers such as Epic, Uinta and Squatters. A portion of the proceeds from the Utah Beer Festival will be donated to Local First, a nonprofit organization that seeks to strengthen communities and local economies by promoting, preserving, and protecting local, independently owned businesses throughout Utah. Advance tickets are $25 per person, or you can foolishly wait until the day of the festival and pay $35. Needless to say, you must be 21 or over to attend. There are also $5 designated-driver tickets available for purchase at the City Weekly offices or the day of the event.

OK, so that’s the skinny. Who’s going to be there? Well, who isn’t? The lineup is a who’s who of Utah’s best beer makers, including Desert Edge Brewery, Red Rock Brewing Company, Crooked Line, Four , Wasatch Beers, Hoppers Brew Pub, Squatters, Epic Brewing, Roosters, Bohemian Brewery, Ruby River, Shades of Pale and Uinta Brewing. This is your big chance to sample beers from nearly all of Utah’s great brewers under one roof. Well, under one big, blue, (hopefully) sunny sky.

From Roosters, I’d look for their hoppy and justifiably well-known Polygamy Pale Ale, which should be a perfect pitch on a warm sunny day. Monkshine Belgian Style Pale Ale is my favorite offering from Four , while at the Squatters booth, longtime Squatters/Wasatch beermeister Mark Cleveland will be doling out full-strength Hells Keep golden ale. Speaking of Wasatch, I’d love to sip their Devastator Double Bock, one of my faves.

I’ve never had the chance to drink Shades of Pale beer but love the name, and I’m hoping to try Parley’s Pale White Ale, along with Ruby River’s Rockwell Porter, Hoppers’ Pale Morning Ale, Bohemian’s flawless classic Czech Pilsener, and Summertime Kristalweizen from Desert Edge, another of my longtime favorites.

I love Crooked Line’s 9.5 percent ABV Detour Double IPA, as well as Epic’s 9.6 percent Brainless Belgian-Style Golden Ale. From Red Rock Brewing, I’d be thrilled to sip the award-winning Black Bier or German Pilsner and, from wind-powered Uinta, their Anniversary Barley Wine. Prosit!

To buy tickets, go to utahbeerfestival.com

Editor’s note: As with any festival, some beers listed here may be in limited supply or substituted, based on availability. We recommend arriving early for best sampling.

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