Coldest Beer: High Altitudes | Coldest Beer Issue | Salt Lake City Weekly

Coldest Beer: High Altitudes 

Get away from the heat by having your beer at a resort

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Get away from the heat by having your beer at a resort. It’s a great escape into hills of green, where you can mountain bike or hike in cool, breezy air, enjoy the adrenalin rush of ziplines and other thrill rides or sample the gourmet fine dining offered at famous resorts both in summer and winter.

Casual dress, even dusty shorts, are acceptable. The bars at resorts serve food, so they’re great for the under-21 set, including families with kids. Choose an “après fun” social scene, or any of the scenic patios that offer wonderful mountain views, where you can linger over your brew and watch the sunset.


The ‘Bird is a definite all-season resort, with a lot of fun summer rides and activities, including a zipline and alpine slide. Farther up Little Cottonwood Canyon is Alta, famous as one of the top spots in the country to see wildflowers. To cool off after your outing, check out these places:

Alta Lodge

A summer Saturday lunch, a Sunday full brunch and a close-up view of hummingbirds on the umbrella-shaded patio make this a great place to relax after a trek to view the wildflowers that attract tourists from all over the world. 10230 E. Highway 210, Alta, 801-742-3500,

The Aerie

It’s kind of unfair to the competition, says confident bartender Tim Nielsen of the chill in the new Lancer Beer System, which freezes every line and tap so the beer never runs through an unrefrigerated line. The art deco-ish, curved chrome dispensers are stunning, and so is the Aerie’s fusion décor and air of casual luxury; but the epic part is the ceiling-to-floor curved glass wall that gives a close-up view of the mountain’s rugged stone cliffs. Yes, there are 40 shades of brown! Cliff Lodge, Snowbird, Little Cottonwood Canyon, 801-933-2160, No. 2 Coldest Beer

El Chanate

El Chanate calls its food “Mexcellence,” and that’s not far off. There are also burgers, hot wings, steaks and sandwiches. It boasts the biggest tequila list in Utah, with 44 different varieties. The incredible patio is worth the trip alone. Ground squirrels plead for a bit of food, tame blue jays hop on empty tables ready to grab that snack from the squirrel, and if you look down by the creek, you’ll frequently see a beaver trundling along. Cliff Lodge, 9600 Little Cottonwood Canyon Road, Snowbird, 801-933-2025,


El Chanate

The Lodge Bistro & Lounge

A laughing good time will be found here, with bartenders who juggle lemons and otherwise entertain. Specialty drinks include the Millionaire’s Coffee, made with the world’s finest liquors, and the French Martini, and the place is famous for French onion soup. It’s casual and intimate, with, of course, a great view. The Lodge at Snowbird, 9600 Little Cottonwood Road, Snowbird, 801-933-2145,

Steak Pit

This is an elegant and sophisticated place to have a frosty brew, especially outside on the “deck,” which is Steak Pit’s name for the patio. The view from the deck is spectacular and so popular, reservations are only accepted for inside the restaurant—the deck is first-come, first-serve. Enjoy a full bar, but only bottled beer. Snowbird Center, 9600 Little Cottonwood Road, Snowbird, 801-933-2260,

Tram Club

This is the place for a social afternoon or evening. Watch the huge bull wheel that begins revolving when the tram enters or leaves the loading dock, munch on the well-known spicy cheese fries or enjoy the selection of appetizers like nachos or wings. There are 13 TVs for sports fans, plus pool tables and video games. Snowbird Center, 9600 Little Cottonwood Road, Snowbird, 801-933-2222,


Big Cottonwood is a quiet canyon in summer, with terrific fishing and hiking. Plus, there is great food at the two restaurants that stay open in summer and also offer beer. Try them:

Silver Fork Lodge

Brighton has no bars open in summer, but halfway up the canyon, this cozy and rustic gem gets double-parked crowded at resort closing time. Silver Fork is cyclist/mountain-biker friendly, with a great patio from where the runs of Solitude can be seen in the distance. The service is personal and caring, with a relaxing, old-fashioned mountain atmosphere for those who don’t want resort hustle and bustle. 11332 East Big Cottonwood Canyon Road, 801-533-9977, 435-649-9551,


Silver Fork Lodge

Kimi’s Mountainside Bistro

Beer isn’t the drawing card at Kimi’s—it’s all about the food. Chef Matt Anderson creates a European flair without fuss in an elegant setting, with a glass wall showcasing a view of the mountain. The outdoor seating has tables with individual fire pits—a fantastic experience in winter. There’s even a selection of hard-to-find European candy bars in the foyer. 12000 E. Big Cottonwood Canyon, Solitude, 801-536-5787,

Park City

Park City—what can you say? Glitz, glamour and celebs, all year ’round. We don’t have room to list every resort watering hole, but here’s a starter list:


The recent addition of bike park trails (like BMX tracks) for varying levels of mountain bikers has brought a new dimension to Canyon’s plentiful offerings. Après bike, have a refreshing brew and/or meal here:

The Farm

Aptly named, The Farm’s focus is on fresh. The restaurant gets as much of its menu ingredients as possible from farms within 200 miles of the resort—full bar, full menu, fully delicious. It’s located across from the loading dock of the Red Pine gondola, but you can enter through the Grand Summit Hotel. Canyons, 4000 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City, 435-615-8080,

Red Tail Grill

Yes, they offer a tuna margarita and Moose Drool beer; both are much better than they sound. Light and airy even in winter, Red Tail Grill is a great place to meet up for Southwestern-style food, even if you haven’t spent the day on the mountain. The excellent desire to please the customer, now part of Canyons’ worldwide reputation, is found here as well. Don’t worry if you’re dusty from biking the well-built dirt trails—no one will care. 4000 Canyons Resort Drive, Park City, 435-615-8068,

Slopes by Talisker

The food is sophisticated and farm-fresh healthy; the dark wood elegance feels rich, as any Waldorf Astoria Hotel should. There’s a full menu, but you can fill up on snacks while sitting at the bar. Waldorf Astoria Park City, 2100 Frostwood Drive, 435-647-5566,

Deer Valley

You can’t go wrong at any Deer Valley dining spot, but during summer months, many people bring a picnic basket or well-stocked cooler for an outdoor concert in the amphitheater behind the main lodge. If you arrive empty-handed, search for a brew here:


Famous for fresh farm-to-table ingredients, the luxurious experience at Apex surpasses even its reputation. For example, the Montage Mountain Ale and the Monty Belgian White brews are specially hand-crafted for Apex; they can’t be purchased elsewhere. Put this one on your bucket list. Montage Deer Valley, 9100 Marsac Ave., 435-604-1300,

Goldener Hirsch Inn

World famous for several reasons: It’s a duplicate of a gourmet restaurant in Austria with the same name. The beautiful wood bar seats were hand carved in Austria and shipped to Deer Valley. Another claim to fame: It’s a hotspot for celebrities who want a quiet, luxurious and gourmet dinner. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 3:30 to 5:30 for après bike; 5:30 p.m. for dining. 7570 Royal St., Silverlake Village, 435-649-7770,


Goldener Hirsch Inn

Park City Mountain Resort

Park City Mountain Resort is like an amusement park in the mountains during summer. An alpine slide, mini golf, kiddie rides and horseback rides are offered, as well as a selection of eateries, all of which offer beer.

Baja Cantina

Known for burritos, margaritas and casual, friendly service, this is probably the funkiest joint at Park City Mountain Resort. It has a pub atmosphere, with the many year-’round regulars creating an “everybody’s your friend” ambiance. The place is at the far end of the second level of the resort center. Park City Mountain Resort Center, 1284 Lowell Ave., 435-649-2252,

Corner Store Pub & Grill

As close to a belly-up-to-the-bar spot as you’ll find at a resort, this small, casual lounge has pool tables in summer, a patio on the Resort Center and a full menu—but the big draw is the laughter and fun from the joke-telling bartender and the servers. It’s like a locals’ bar. Plaza at Park City Mountain Resort, 1325 Lowell Ave., 435-645-8666,

Legends Bar & Grill

A friendly family restaurant, Legends is on the ground floor of the Resort Center—no stairs. It’s nicely dim, in case you want a break from bright sunlight. It’s also a good place to grab a quick sit-down lunch. Plaza at Park City Mountain Resort, 1345 Lowell Ave., Park City, 435-658-5812, No. 3 Coldest Beer


Mojo’s is probably one of the best places in Utah for people-watching. The unchanging, scuffed wooden benches and framed race-bib décor will soon be replaced by a 1950s look with chrome, surfboards on the walls and new chairs and tables outside. The big attraction will still be in the same location, across from the resort’s main Payday lift. Park City Mountain Resort, 435-649-7289,

Near PCMR, another favorite for après biking, golfing and relaxation is:

Squatters—Park City

The main “après fun” place in Park City collects from each of the three Park City resorts in summer and winter. “Turn and burn” service gets your food to you fast and furious, but tasty and reasonably priced. Afternoon offerings of free nachos, edamame and hummus appetizers keep the social scene, and the beer, flowing. 1900 Park Ave., Park City, 435-649-9868,


Luxurious and underappreciated (except by locals), the ‘Basin is, after a six-year hiatus, once again allowing dogs on the Needles Gondola—leash required. The walk down from the gondola is easy and scenic.

Needles Lodge/ Earl’s Lodge

Taking the gondola up to this lodge is good because the patio offers a view that includes the Jordanelle Reservoir and then goes on forever. Thougcolh only open on weekends in summer, the Saturday-night dinner is full-on gourmet, and Sunday brunch has a dessert table to die for. Meanwhile, the inviting umbrella-shaded patio of Earl’s Lodge, open weekends, has live music on Sunday while the open-air grill wafts tempting smells of bratwurst and burgers. Snowbasin Resort, 3925 E. Snowbasin Road, Huntsville, 801-620-1021,


Owl Bar

Don’t expect that just because it’s at a resort, they might as well shut the doors during the off-season. Utah County locals love the place enough to make the drive up Provo Canyon and settle in at the refurbished 19th-century vintage bar where Butch Cassidy and the Hole in the Wall Gang once bent an elbow. The atmosphere varies greatly depending on events taking place at the resort; a quiet evening might easily turn into a spontaneous dance party. Sundance Resort, 8841 N. Alpine Loop Road, 801-223-4222, (Scott Renshaw)


Owl Bar
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About The Author

Wina Sturgeon

Wina Sturgeon is an outdoor adventurer and a Salt Lake City freelance writer.

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