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The Beer Issue 

Beer as Art

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ANDY HOOD
  • Andy Hood

It was a sobering moment last month in Boulder, Colo., during the Association for Alternative Newsmedia's annual awards ceremony. City Weekly placed in all three categories it was nominated in, with last year's Beer Issue nabbing first place in the Best Special Section bracket. Surprised by the recognition, I got onstage to receive the plaque and said in front of a room full of alt-weekly cohorts, "Salt Lake City just won a national award for booze coverage. Let's all take a moment to soak that in."

Yes, our fair town is known for a lot of things, but our burgeoning craft beer market is not usually on top of anyone's list. Enter the Utah Beer Festival, which for the past decade has been showcasing and uplifting the Beehive's brew scene.

Wanting to really drive the message home, and apropos of the round number anniversary, we thought that elevating the local beer scene to art seemed fitting, given the crafty Pollocks, Fridas and da Vincis who have acted as conservators of its frothy swell.

The result is a curated love letter to all things Utah beer—from a museum-worthy brewery out to leave its signature in Utah County to a permanent exhibit of ale pairings that can be found in your grocer's freezer and a brewer collaboration that would make Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat proud.

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It's not all highbrow, though. This being a City Weekly pop-up, we also took the lot of SLC mayoral candidates out for a frosty one (Diet Coke counts, right?), continued our foray into the #FakeBeer movement, assembled the perfect playlist to get sloshed to and rounded up our staff's most trusted hangover cures (Velveeta, anyone?)

So raise a glass to (and place a red sticker on) this issue and all those featured in it. Our carbonation installation is now open to the public.

—Enrique Limón, docent


10 Years of Beers!

How the Utah Beer Fest went from an informal kickback to the state's largest beer-a-palooza.
By Ray Howze

Pre-summer 2010
In a virtual beer wasteland, Utahns were kept to bars and their homes to enjoy their hops. Times were bleak for some, as camaraderie and collective morale could have used a frothy boost. Luckily, the craft beer craze was picking up steam.

September 2010
City Weekly hosts its inaugural beer festival at Washington Square outside the Salt Lake City & County Building. The first year features a single-price all-you-can-drink model because of the pesky Legislature. Despite only selling 300 tickets in advance, more than 3,000 thirsty beer drinkers show up, creating some chaos. But it's a promising sign for the future. Ten local breweries participate.

August 2011
In the festival's second year, organizers move it to the third week of August, where it remains today. The Legislature had recently passed a new law requiring drinkers to pay as they quaffed, creating the token-like system used today.

August 2012
The festival moves to Gallivan Plaza and for the first time was held on a Sunday (proof Utahns drink on the Sabbath). Regional breweries join in.

August 2013
More beers are added, as well as an "International Beer Row" on Gallivan Avenue.

August 2014
The festival moves back to Washington Square and expands to include more food vendors along 200 East.

August 2015
No longer permitted at Washington Square, the festival picks up and moves across the street to Library Square. For the first time, tickets sell out.

August 2016
The festival moves to Utah State Fairpark and with it, more room for beer tents and, wait for it ... more beer! Tokens bid their adieu and drinkers can now get their suds via wristbands.

August 2017
Double your pleasure, double your fun. The state's largest beer bash is now a two-day event.

August 2018
Perhaps its best-ever event, the festival continues its two-day run. This time, it features an outdoor gear and beer tent—proving once again that recreation and beer go together—responsibly, of course.

August 2019
Finally reaching its 10-year vintage, the fest now features concerts at the end of each day with bands such as Royal Bliss and Jagertown. It also hosts nearly 60 beer vendors. Time to drink up, dance and be merry, fellow Utah beer enthusiasts!

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Cohoperation

How teaming up with the competition can be good for the beer biz.
By Mike Riedel

Top: Chad Hopkins and Jordan Schupbach - Bottom: Shades Brewing’s Trent Farger - MIKE RIEDEL
  • Mike Riedel
  • Top: Chad Hopkins and Jordan SchupbachBottom: Shades Brewing’s Trent Farger

Over the past 14 years, I've spent a good chunk of time working the Utah beer beat. During that time, there've been a lot of changes—some good, some bad—but the one thing that's been constant is the sense of community that exists among local brewers. I'm not out here saying Utah's beer culture is unique in its brotherly and sisterly love for craft beer. But let's face it, we operate under a whole different set of alcohol rules here, and those unique hurdles can naturally bring people together in unexpected, familiar ways. Nowhere else do you see brewers dumb down centuries-old beer styles just to keep thirsty customers satisfied. Another odd situation is that, at one time or another, many Utah brewers have worked for a competing brewery or have coworkers who've come from breweries across town. This creates a tight kinship that just adds to a harmonious beer culture.

Toward the end of last year, an odd situation arose where Epic Brewing Co. was having difficulty maintaining their Sugar House brewpub. Utah's largest locally owned brewery was kicking ass in the beer game, but was having a hard time finding focus at their brick-and-mortar Sugar House location. "The Salt Lake City and Denver breweries were taking up most of our attention and resources," says Jordan Schupbach, Epic's head of brewing and operations. As luck would have it, Chad Hopkins, a local home brewer, was looking to up his game. "It was pretty much always our dream to have a brewpub in Sugar House," Hopkins says. "When the opportunity came up to manage this property instead of building [one] from the ground up—that was huge." Huge sounds about right, as the neighborhood continues to boom. "We probably couldn't have pulled it off if [otherwise]," Hopkins notes. "Taking over the lease saved us a lot of money for sure." Along with rent being paid and careers being forged, partnerships were also solidified at the new Hopkins Brewing Co. "Epic wants to see Hopkins succeed." Schupbach says. "We've seen how they operate, and we know that the place is in excellent hands.''

In South Salt Lake, a similar situation is brewing. Earlier this year, Park City Brewery lost its lease in Kimball Junction and needed a new location tout suite. If you're familiar with the area, you know that real estate and rent in that part of Summit County is, for lack of a better term, outrageous. "If anybody understands the headaches of beer and real estate it's me," Trent Farger, Shades Brewing owner says. " I knew exactly what the Park City guys were going through, and I wanted to help." Shades' original location was in the heart of Park City, but growth and rent had driven them to South Salt Lake. "We had the space, and a large enough brew system that could handle both operations," Farger says. "I'm glad they took us up on it." If you go into Shades, it's obvious there's a lot going on. In one corner, you see cans of PC beer being filled, while pallets of Shades' suds roll on by. "It's funny how understanding and perspective brought all of this together," Farger chuckles. "I'd hate to see the Park City guys go under over a raw deal. It sure is different, but I'm glad they're around."

While it might seem these two symbiotic relationships are merely business-oriented, there's no denying they're also a testament to the camaraderie of breweries in the Beehive. Cheers to sudsy collabs!

Three Qs and a Beer

City Weekly sits down for a drink with this year's eight mayoral candidates.
By Peter Holslin and Ray Howze

DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle

This year's SLC mayoral race has been a doozy. Between sheepish mailers, claims of "dark money" and Rainer Huck's festive debate headwear, it's easy for a voter to get bogged down with election noise. Enter the great regulator: Beer (and in one instance, tea). In candid chats with City Weekly, all eight candidates as of press time sat down, talked shop—and suds. Want to know which mayoral hopeful used to get hopped up on Thunderbird? Read on.

1.STAN PENFOLD
Meeting place: Beer Bar (161 E. 200 South, 385-259-0905, beerbarslc.com)
Brew of choice: Hefeweizen

Do you remember your first drink?
"It wasn't beer, it was a margarita. Which is kind of funny, because people don't usually start with tequila. My experience has been, people will say, 'I can't drink tequila.' I love tequila but my theory is tequila was the first alcohol they had and got really sick so they have this bad association with it."

What's the most surprising thing you've learned about Salt Lake City while campaigning?
"When I've run before, it's just sort of been my neighborhood [Penfold is a former District 3 council member]. What's been pretty amazing is discovering these sort of really cool little clusters of streets. We were down somewhere west of Liberty Park on this short little street, big old original trees, great little houses and it was almost one of those caricatures of a neighborhood. It's been fun to discover these pockets of really cool neighborhoods."

What do you think residents are looking for in a candidate this election?
"I think people are being unusually serious about this race—they're really checking into the candidates and are concerned about how they want to vote. It feels very deliberate about it. Most of our responses when we talk to people are they're undecided, but undecided in an, 'I'm trying to find out who to vote for' kind of way." (RH)

2. RAINER HUCK
Meeting place: Murphy's Bar & Grill (160 S. Main, 801-359-7271, murphysbarandgrillut.com)
Brew of choice: Diet Coke

Do you remember your first drink?
"Well, I'm not Mormon or anything. I used to drink a little bit when I was a young guy, but it never did anything for me. It just put me to sleep. So, it's never been a factor in my life. But again, it's not because of any religious beliefs."

What's the most surprising thing you've learned about Salt Lake City while campaigning?
"Just how little interest the media has in candidates. I guess because of polling numbers. I got in the race kind of late. The reason I did was because all the other candidates seem to be monolithic. You could really elect any of them and I don't think you'd get anything different. So I thought I'd focus on issues that affect the people of Salt Lake, especially the working people."

What are some of those issues?
"Police violence. Justice system abuse of poor people and the homeless. I'm the only candidate that has a real solution for the homeless problem, which is a homeless campus. I can build that homeless campus in the Northwest Quadrant that will provide every service the homeless people need. The new homeless shelters are going to be 100% inadequate. My homeless campus will accommodate 5,000 people and it will have every service they need." (RH)

3. DAVID GARBETT
Meeting place: Kiitos Brewing (608 W. 700 South, 801-215-9165, kiitosbrewing.com)
Brew of choice: Kiitos Amber Ale

Do you remember your first drink?
"Yes. I didn't like it at first. I started drinking later in life—late 20s when I started. It was a bit more of an acquired taste early on."

What's been the most surprising thing you've learned while campaigning?
"I think the coolest thing about this campaign is going throughout the city and having conversations—seeing people are interested in their city, passionate in their city and that they want to have these conversations. They want to talk about ways to make it better. Air quality is a big one. I say it unsurprisingly, but I have thought during this campaign, 'Today is the day I go to a neighborhood that doesn't care about air quality.' And I have yet to find it."

What's been the most challenging part for you?
"It was a first-hand experience on what it takes to raise money in a race. Especially coming from someone with no name recognition, the only way I can change that is raising money to get out and talk to voters. Sometimes it reminds me of that idea about if a tree falls in the forest and no one's around. You can have the best policy ideas in the world, and if you can't get those to voters, can't do some advertising, can't pay for some material, it doesn't really matter." (RH)

4. DAVID IBARRA
Meeting place: Dick N' Dixie's (479 E. 300 South, 801-994-6919)
Brew of choice: Bud Light. "I like Coors Light but that is a Bud Light, because they don't have Coors Light [on draft]."

Do you remember your first drink?
"It gave me a headache and I still can't drink it to this day, but who would want to. It was a gallon that our friends got called Thunderbird wine. It was cheap wine and, my heavens, after you drink a little bit of that, we'd put it in Kool-Aid to make it drinkable. And, oh my, would you get sick."

What's been the most interesting thing you've learned while running for mayor?
"I'm really surprised the order of things are pretty much the same no matter where you're at. The environment is the biggest issue. It's interesting that most believe the environment has gotten worse when factually, that's just not the case. We've had two good mayors. Mayor [Rocky] Anderson who really started the ball of paying attention and making our city a leader in battling what a city could do for the environment. Then we come in with [Ralph] Becker and the implementation of our bike lanes. That's such an important part of our infrastructure. I think the next phase is going to work itself out. Clean energy is a given in 10 years because the old equipment we have that brings in dirty coal generated electricity will be retired."

What's been the most challenging part of the campaign?
"The irresponsible way we view the shelter-resistant population. Doing the easy thing is [letting them] sleep in public space. They're my brothers and sisters. I won't turn my back on them but you just did when you don't do something to remove them from the street. We're a better society than what we're showing right now." (RH)

5. JIM DABAKIS
Meeting place: Murphy's Bar & Grill (160 S. Main, 801-359-7271, murphysbarandgrillut.com)
Brew of choice: Golden Spike Hefeweizen, Uinta Brewing

Do you remember your first drink?
"I was about 23 years old before I had a sip of alcohol. I was a gold star BYU student. I moved to Salt Lake and discovered, among other things, beer."

What has been the most interesting thing you've learned while running for mayor?
"I've learned how basically good the people of Salt Lake are. I mean, I've knocked on a lot of doors, and with one or two exceptions, people have been genuinely nice. A lady the other day, I got to the door—a senior citizen woman, had a big, long cigarette dangling. I said, 'Hi, I'm Jim Dabakis, I'm running for mayor.' She says [Dabakis mimes taking puffing on a cig], 'I know who you are. I watch you on television. I hate you ... Now that I've met you, I hate you even more!' And she slams the door. But that was rare. Almost everybody else has been fun."

What's been the most challenging part of the campaign?
"Asking for money. I hate it, it's awful. I like to go to the Broadway Theater on Sunday afternoons. I have some friends I usually go with. [Recently] I texted, 'Hey, how is everybody today?' Nothing came back at all. I said to my husband, Stephen, 'This is weird.' Stephen grabs my phone, texts, 'I'm not going to ask for money, I just want to go to a movie.' Everybody goes, 'Oh, OK!'" (PH)

6. LUZ ESCAMILLA
Meeting place: Creek Tea (155 E. 900 South, 385-275-8827, creektea.com)
Brew of choice: Green tea lemonade

I take it you don't drink beer?
"I don't. I've never had a drink of alcohol in my life. I love tea. Chamomile is my favorite one—warm and cold. I love lemonade, but with lime."

What did you learn the most about Salt Lake during the campaign?
"Just how passionate people are for their city. Usually people get passionate when something goes wrong for them—there's this sense of, 'I will complain more when something is not working well.' But actually, people love Salt Lake City. Everyone wants Salt Lake City to get better. Everybody has a vested interest, not only for them but for their neighbors."

What's been challenging about campaigning?
"Raising money. It's brutal. Brutal! We're a grassroots campaign, I'm not personally wealthy. I work really hard, I've always had two jobs. The hardest part with this race is, because it's local, out-of-state people have no interest obviously. When I ran for Congress, I had tons of people giving me contributions from California. We don't have that in a municipal race. And when you have eight candidates? This has been a crazy, divided race." (PH)

7. ERIN MENDENHALL
Meeting place: T. F. Brewing (936 S. 300 West, 385-270-5972, tfbrewing.com)
Brew of choice: American Avenue Pale Ale, Templin Family Brewing

Do you remember your first drink?
"I do remember my first half bottle of wine. I was actually quite of age. I was in my mid-20s. I sat at my kitchen table with my childhood best friend and she walked me through it. Then she told me to take two Tylenol, drink a glass of water, and sleep well. It was a very shallow-end introduction. Nice and easy."

What's the most exciting thing about the campaign so far?
"It feels right. I'm a realist that verges into a pessimist at night and wakes up an optimist and back to realism by noon. I didn't have any fancy notions of having the time of my life on the campaign trail necessarily. I knew it would be hard work. I've run for office before at a council level, but I also knew there were a lot of other candidates and it would be an intense race. The closer we get to the end, the more I'm loving it. I feel very much at home doing this."

What's been challenging about campaigning?
"I'm never not campaigning. Even when I'm relaxing, I'm campaigning. I'm on. Like, if you got up to go to the bathroom right now, I'd probably check my campaign's Instagram and make a post. I surely have some questions from voters waiting in my inbox, so I want to jump on that. And that's what I've been doing for six years. I've stood up in front of community councils for the last seven years, starting as a candidate, giving people my cellphone number and inviting them to reach out to me." (PH)

8. RICHARD GOLDBERGER
Meeting place: Beerhive Pub (128 S. Main, 801-364-4268)
Brew of choice: Samuel Adams lager, served with a personal-pan pizza topped with onions, raw crushed garlic, squeezed lemon, plenty of pepper and no cheese.

Do you remember your first beer?
"My late father was from New York, from the Bronx and Scarsdale. He always gave me a tiny taste of his beer. It was good. No beer like Rheingold today, and no beer like Schaefer. Two wonderful beers—New York beers. It's an art and a science to make a wonderful beer."

What's the most interesting thing you've learned about Salt Lake City so far?
"I've been in Salt Lake a long, long time. I was here when West 2nd South was open for prostitution. I mean, it was wild. This was back in the '60s. There were some places people wouldn't even walk into, they smelled of urine and two-months-old beer. I used to frequent these dives and dumps. But there are no dumps anymore."

What's the hardest thing about campaigning?
"I use the media and I use forums, because I have no money. I'm running this campaign on a sub-shoestring. But I'm doing a good job. My slogan is 'GBO'—government by objectives. I work for the people. I'm totally a public servant. I don't like politicians. I want to get the politicians out of politics. I want to get the politics out of politics!" (PH)


Editor's note: Interviews were edited for clarity and length.

Almost Ales

Our continuing exhibition of #FakeBeers.
By Amanda Rock
Art by Derek Carlisle

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If drinking beer is your coping mechanism for the sad state of current events, we have the fake brews you need ...

Equal Pay IPA
Until women get paid the same as men, we're only paying 79 cents for every dollar this beer costs.

Inland Port Porter
This beer either provides thousands of jobs, elevating Utah from "Crossroads of the West" to the "Crossroads of the World," or it'll contribute to climate change and make our air quality even worse. Depends on who you ask, and who's profiting. Drink up?

Orange Man Bitter
This beer is free until he is either impeached or replaced. Cheers!

Why Is the Air Brown? Ale
Salt Lake County earned an "F" on the American Lung Association's "State of the Air" report this year. The inversion is so bad you can't see 10 feet in front of your face, or breathe on some winter days. Why not have a beer?

No Drivin' Hefferveisen
Statistically, Utah is one of the least dangerous states for DUI fatalities, but that didn't stop our Legislature and governor from lowering the blood alcohol content to .05 from .08%. Although they've likely never touched a beer, they sure like to stay involved with those of us who enjoy an occasional adult beverage. Thanks for looking out for us guys—this one's for you!

No Abortion For Amber Ale
Every time a man tries to take away a woman's constitutional right to reproductive autonomy, take a drink!

AOC IPA
Thirsty for change? Craving something different? This refreshing young beer is for everyone who's sick of the status quo.

Open Border Porter
Let's open the borders if they promise to bring beer. Problem solved!

Night at the Brewseum

Enter Strap Tank's delicately curated brewery.
By Mike Riedel

COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo

Back in 2016, Rick Salisbury turned Utah County on its head when he opened Strap Tank, the first brewery that Happy Valley had seen since the late 19th century. The Springville brewery featured a motorcycle theme that draws heavily from Salibury's passion for bikes and Americana. Today, Salisbury again is turning the establishment upside down with a second Utah County location, right in the heart of Lehi's technology corridor.

This second iteration is very much reminiscent of Salisbury's original brewery—but with its own twist. "It's hard to describe that Strap Tank vibe," head brewer Shawn Smith says, "but when you see it, you know what it is." He's right. The Lehi brewery has an industrial art deco exterior that transitions into a quasi-1940s carnival themed interior, complete with authentic relics from America's past. "It keeps similar themes as the Springville brewery," Smith adds, "but it definitely has its own unique identity." The museum-quality décor (along with the beer) competes for main attraction status. The details are extraordinary: the servers' station is an actual old circus ticket booth, and old Ferris wheel chairs and cars from long-dead carnival rides also call the place home. However, this is just one small chunk of the new space's identity as the existing architecture also adds to the charm. As I walked around the brewery's exterior, I noticed the building has many faces: from the west, it looks like a large 1900s urban factory; and from the east, it looks like a cross between a 1930s movie theater and a full-service garage.

But this isn't all about looks. "I love what Rick and his people have created here, but I'm more focused on the brewery and making sure that we have the best process possible," Smith says, and I quickly begin to get it. As we stand in the three-story glass terrarium that is Smith's new brewhouse, the possibilities of what's to come makes both our mouths water.

"We're going to get our core brands done first," Smith points out. The lineup includes their Flathead American lager, Highside American wheat beer, Sportster Session IPA, Bonkers English Brown ale and the Sgt. Holtz Irish stout. Beer nerds who like their suds a little less ordinary, will also be covered. "On opening day, we'll also have a Smoked German Helles, a Brut IPA, Watermelon Gose and Gulia, a brown sour ale with plum and raspberry," Smith teases.

The artist's eye gets a bit of a twinkle as he segues from what has already been brewed to what he hopes will roll out in the future. "I'd love to do a Nitro Bitter, a Hazy IPA, of course, and get a few German lagers going for the Oktobest season." Furthering the cohoperation vibe, Smith says Strap Tank will also offer two guest taps from other Utah brewers on the regular. "We want to support some of the other local breweries, so we'll have Uinta's Baba and Fisher beer as well," he says.

Strap Tank's new Lehi brewhouse includes a 15-barrel brew system, two 30-barrel and four 15-barrel fermenters—just the amount of capacity to keep a thirsty beer enthusiast happy. The space also boasts a special tasting room for those on brewery tours, and also for special events. Is this place unique for Utah? "I think it's unique for the United States," Smith responds. "You'd be hard-pressed to find another brewery that comes close to this."

Curator, Cure my Hangover!

Newsroom staffers share their post-rager tips and tricks.
By City Weekly staff

It's no secret journalists are professional drinkers. To quote our great governor, we're known to drink till our eyes bug out, and still manage to meet our deadlines the following morning (most of the time). So, if you're looking for help in appearing semi-normal post Beer Fest—or any other weekend for that matter—you've come to the right place. Take it from the experts: The road to pickled livers is filled with regret, V8, Velveeta and ... more booze?

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"I'm no stranger to that feeling, so heed my words: Keep an emergency bottle of Gatorade Pepino Limón (no relation) in the ice chest, pop a couple of ibuprofen without even thinking about it and drive, walk, scoot or crawl to Rancherito's Mexican Food in South Salt Lake (3450 S. State) for a sports bottle-sized chorizo and egg burrito. The Technicolor orange chorizo grease will drip down your face as you devour that bad boy, leaving a coat that's hard to scrub. (ProTip: Use the time you're branded with the Mexi-scarlet letter to nap or, you know, reconsider your life choices.)"
—Enrique Limón, editor

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"I'm a professional beer journalist and we don't get hangovers. However, on those rare occasions when I'm feeling a wee bit mortal and a little 'hair of the dog' is called for, I reach for a light lager, a can of Spicy V8 and three Aleve tablets. Boing! It's like magic."
—Mike Riedel, beer columnist

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I haven't had a hangover in many years, sooo, my thoughts are this: Practice. It's like exercise. The more you drink, the better you are at it. That's not to say become an alcoholic—just drink more than other people in your group of friends. Drink two glasses of wine to their one glass. This practice technique also works well with getting by the .05% rule and driving like a pro. If you feel like you're getting drunk, stop before it's too late. A nice buzz and happy feeling is good to go.
—Kathy Biele, columnist

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"It's been many years since I really had to worry about a hangover—parenting and trying to turn into a responsible citizen will do that to a guy—but it's easy for me to remember the worst one I ever had. And it happened to be the day of my college graduation ceremony, when the celebratory revels of the night before caught up with me, I had to put on a smiley face for my proud parents (and grandparents), and it was 90 degrees for the outdoor commencement walk. How did I deal with it? I don't ever remember drinking so much water in my life, and I could neither tell you anything our commencement speaker said, nor how I made it through two hours without peeing."
—Scott Renshaw, A&E editor

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"My favorite hangover cure generally starts with a deep regret of lack of water consumption. What follows is my attempt to be healthy (salads, veggies, the works) ending with carb-filled entrées including, but not limited to, Velveeta Mac & Cheese (the microwave cups ONLY). Drink water, kids."
—Kara Rhodes, contributor

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"An overnight stay in Drunktown must always end with a couple glasses of water. The morning after, the first thing I'm dying for is coffee, more water and some kind of food nutrient that will ideally stay in my stomach. Vietnamese pho is the ultimate go-to. I order the biggest size bowl on the menu with beef flank, brisket, tendon, and tripe, and let the broth and rice noodles heal my wounded soul."
—Peter Holslin, staff writer

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A liquid diet is what gets me going again after a night of imbibing too many liquids of the toxic variety. If I'm hungry, a sweet, sour thai soup does the trick for me, but more frequently, if I'm on the go and don't have time to dine, my go-to is another cocktail of sorts. I like stopping at the Harmons by my house to pick up my holy trio of coconut water, refreshing ginger or lavender kombucha and cold brew. Yep, all three, back to back. Coconut water does what Gatorade does with electrolytes, but better, and zaps a headache while also rehydrating my poor, dried up veins. Kombucha settles an upset stomach and restores appetite. And the coffee? Well, coffee is coffee and it does what it does, but I always save it for last, when my body feels almost normal again.
—Erin Moore, music editor

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"Well, if you don't have too many responsibilities the next day, sometimes it's best to keep the party going. The first beer might be hard to get through, but it's smooth-sailing after that. Call it rollover minutes or a shampoo party. Why? Wash, rinse, repeat—you don't need as much the second time around. Every heard of Sunday Funday? So I guess I'm just saying put off the hangover ... sigh."
—Ray Howze, editorial assistant

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I trek over to the Ice Haus (7 E. 4800 South, Murray) and order a bloody mary from barkeep Andrew Burt. Served with pickled asparagus spears (and bacon, if you request it), olives and a lemon wedge and, of course, 1 1/2 ounces of Tito's vodka—the headache-banishing beverage isn't too bland or too spicy ... it's just right. If you need more zest. Andrew's always sassy commentary fills the bill. Did I mention the bar's open at 10 a.m. on weekends?
—Lance Gudmundsen, proofreader


The Fine Art of Food Trucks

Enjoy an edible gallery stroll with 11 of our most esteemed mobile dispensaries.
By Alex Springer

ENRIQUE LIMÓN
  • Enrique Limón

In America's culinary history, there's been no gastronomic medium so controversial as the food truck. Some scholars argue that they're the natural evolution of mobile eateries found in ancient Chinese and Roman civilizations, but contemporary critics believe they're a novelty, and that their popularity will inevitably fade. Regardless of which camp modern restaurant connoisseurs tend to find themselves, the continued presence of food trucks in our community is worth further contemplation. To truly assess their cultural value, you must evaluate the fruits—be they deep fried, caramelized or dipped in chocolate—of their labor.

In an effort to better conduct this important artistic study, City Weekly has invited several local culinary artisans to demonstrate their contributions at this year's Utah Beer Festival. Based on my preliminary observations, these are the entrées that will please the palates of local food truck aficionados.

Fuego Mexican Grill
The burrito is an achievement in aesthetic and engineering perfection, so adopting this method is a paradox—burrito artisans are simultaneously wise and foolhardy. The wisdom comes from the burrito's natural ability to achieve the holy triumvirate of flavor, texture and convenience, but dallying in such perfection often requires more effort for the artisan's soul to truly shine. The Beehive Burrito ($6) from Fuego Mexican Grill masterfully treads the knife's edge between these two poles. The artisan paints brisk strokes of crisp bacon, velvety cheese and fresh pico de gallo across a canvas of carne asada and wraps the masterwork in a warm tapestry of tortilla. Pure symmetry between form and function. tacosfuego.com

Miso Yum
While it's easy to write off a rice bowl as an unimaginative attempt to combine protein and starch, the combo cup ($8) at Miso Yum is fertile with possibilities. Red pepper pork and honey glazed chicken offer corresponding spicy and sweet notes as a foundation, but the consumer can choose to enhance one flavor over the other by selecting sweet, mild, medium or hot sauces. Romaine lettuce and steamed veggies add a complementary crunch to the whole piece, creating a textural foil to soft rice and glass noodles. A balanced work through and through. misoyum.com

Umani
Pizza has been interpreted by several masters for hundreds of years, yet the medium continues to evolve. The artisans at Umani have composed a pie called the Amber ($10) that combines the universal appeal of bacon and the acquired taste of Roquefort cheese by including a measured dose of cranberries. Bacon and Roquefort are often present on the palettes of renowned burger artisans, but including them on pizza offers an interesting contrast that the cranberries delineate for the consumer. The tart sweetness of the cranberries creates a catalyst for the salty, smoky flavors imparted by the bacon and the creamy sharpness of the Roquefort cheese to converge into something altogether unfamiliar and exciting. umani.us

Fatty Tuna
Any soup ordered from a mobile dispensary should only be considered if the experience is worth the risk of spilling boiling hot liquid on you or those around you. The tonkotsu ramen ($8) at Fatty Tuna is worth such a risk. Their pork bone broth ruminates for at least 24 hours before it is poured over a delicious blend of chashu pork and noodles, spiked with bean sprouts, corn and seaweed. It's a full-bodied dish comprised of rich flavors. facebook.com/fattytunafood

The Corn Dog Co.
There's a certain Warholian tendency surrounding the corn dogs from The Corn Dog Co. Often considered childish or pedestrian, corn dogs might never reach the upper echelons of "high art," but that doesn't mean they should be overlooked entirely. For example, the artisans at The Corn Dog Co. have added complexity to the contemporary corn dog by infusing the cornbread-style batter with hints of honey. It's quite disarming on its own, but their traditional corn dogs ($4-$6, pictured) can also be topped with a drizzle of raw honey for an added element of sweet-meets-savory—or perhaps it's more accurate to say nostalgia-meets-sophistication. thecorndogco.com

The Local Greek
Like many of the cuisines featured on this list, Greek food has benefited from centuries of practice and evolution. The gyro itself represents a milestone in meat delivery that can only be challenged by the previously mentioned burrito. Gyros served from within food trucks like The Local Greek are unique in that gyro meat somehow tastes better when it has been shaved into thin slices by wandering professionals. Their gyro ($8.99) stands among the best because of its customizable options and traditional Greek flavor. thelocalgreek.com

Dough Gods
Also hailing from the Mediterranean—at least in concept—comes the cookie dough vendors known as Dough Gods. Boasting a Herculean menu of cookie dough flavors named for the deities of Olympus, Dough Gods has made a name for itself with its celestial compositions. While each flavor evokes the god or goddess for which it was named, the Hades Milkshake ($6.99) is among the most decadent. Hades cookie dough is comprised of cinnamon chocolate cheesecake and chocolate chips, which is dark and rich as the god of the underworld himself. In a shake, this dough blends with locally-made vanilla ice cream that is worth the six months you have to spend in Hades' kingdom for a taste. doughgods.com

Jamaica's Kitchen
Caribbean cuisine is known for being cooked long and slow in order to get the most flavor. The beef oxtail ($13) at Jamaica's Kitchen is a master class in such preparation. Meat that has been stewed or braised on the bone develops a heightened flavor profile and can easily be pulled from its attached osseous matter. It can be a daunting task for those unfamiliar with oxtail, but this should be undertaken nonetheless. Such comforting flavors are uncharacteristic in the summer months, but this is something that can be enjoyed regardless of the season. jamaicaskitchenslc.com

Lucky Slice
It's common practice for pizza artisans to adopt a less-is-more approach to their pies, and many do so with great success. The renegades at Lucky Slice, however, have become masters of excess. The Fire Island pie ($3.49 per slice) is an unlikely combination of several geographical flavor profiles that don't typically show up in the same space. The garlicky cream sauce, mozzarella and capicola ham ground the pie in its Italian roots, but the addition of caramelized onions, sliced jalapeño peppers and pineapple hearken to the more tropical areas of Central America. Regardless, this pie is replete with strokes of heat and tantalizing sweet acidity. theluckyslice.com

Balabé
Those connoisseurs that prefer a plant-based experience should definitely sample the Senegalese cuisine at Balabé. Their finest piece is a dish known as mafé ($10). It's a savory stew made with peanut butter, and Balabé makes theirs with vegetables. Served over rice, the taste buds tingle with the familiarity of perhaps a massaman curry or even something along the lines of tikka masala. As close as these flavors are, however, mafé provides flavors just beyond the boundaries of familiarity. facebook.com/balabeslc

Fry Me to the Moon
What food truck stroll would be complete without a stop to appreciate something deep fried to a golden brown? Fry Me to the Moon specializes in this technique, and the fish and fries ($11.50) is their magnum opus. Thick slices of cod, deep fried in a crispy batter and served alongside piping hot fries is summery and satisfying. Those interested in a sweet conclusion to their food truck experience can also experience gourmet doughnuts ($6 for 10) three ways—traditional glaze, cinnamon sugar and Nutella. Regardless of what your appetite longs for, a priceless piece of deep-fried wonder awaits you here. frymetothemoonslc.com

Ice Cold Beer Pairings

What beer artfully complements corn dogs, you ask? Read on.
By Amanda Rock

DEREK CARLISLE
  • Derek Carlisle

The next time you choose quality time with yourself over a busy restaurant with friends, head to the grocery store. Pick out your favorite frozen food, whether it's Totino's pizza or Morningstar Farms Veggie Corn Dogs, then peruse the beer aisle for its perfect pairing. Hell, hit Red Box on your way out and call it a date, because #selfcare.

Brunch
Any beer with fruit or coffee in the name is fair game for brunch. Try Kiitos Coffee Cream Ale, a light beer heavy on coffee flavor and aroma, paired with warm, toasted waffles or freshly microwaved pancakes. The Grapefruit Revolution IPA from Shades Brewing is a brunch no-brainer. With a flavorful and grapefruity finish, this refreshing beer is divine paired with greasy, salty fare like breakfast sandwiches and hashbrowns.

Pizza, pot pies & corn dogs
Wash your cheese pizza down with a cold can of Uinta's Cutthroat Pale Ale. The slight bitterness is a delicious contrast to the rich cheese. Squatters Provo Girl Pilsner pairs well with pepperoni pizza. The maltyness grooves with the crust, and the carbonation cuts through the grease and quenches your thirst.

Whether you opt for a vegan pot pie, or prefer the $1 Banquet variety, grab a Squeaky Bike Nut Brown Ale from Moab Brewery. Slightly sweet with roasted malts and a medium body, this beer stands up to the rich pot pie flavors.

I posed the question of what beer pairs with corn dogs on Twitter. Tim Haran from the Utah Beer News website and podcast suggested a clean and hoppy American Pale Ale. Squatters Full Suspension Pale Ale fits the bill. He also proposed a German-style Pilsner or Helles. Local celebrity chef Tom Woodbury suggested pairing corn dogs with Kiitos Rimando Pale Ale, promising it to be "... perfect a pairing as could be." My friend from work suggested root beer. Wasatch Brewery's Brigham's Brew sounds like a tasty pairing to me!

Beer floats
Think root beer float, but with alcohol! Use a dark, heavy-ish beer like Uinta's Baba Black Lager, Wasatch's Polygamy Porter or Kiitos Coconut Stout. Choose an ice cream without any bits or chunks because ... ew. Pick up a quart of vanilla, coffee, or chocolate ice cream and float away!

Tasty to the Core

For more than half a century, Apple Beer has been one of Utah's finest exports.
By Alex Springer

COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo

As a teenager, I wasn't very interested in acquiring beer. I was, however, quite taken with the minutiae that is part and parcel of drinking beer—I owe most of this to Bob and Doug McKenzie in the film Strange Brew. Frosty long-neck bottles; the carbonated hiss of a newly popped cap; pillowy foam lazily bobbing on a golden surface. Like smoking, butterfly knives and Marilyn Manson, something about the appearance of beer seemed cooler than it actually was.

When I first discovered Apple Beer at the local Albertson's, I was a little apprehensive. I figured that since it was shelved with all the other sugary swill that I adored as an adolescent, that I wasn't going to get arrested if I brought it to the cashier. Even so, something about the caramel-colored bottle and the word "beer" made me think I was violating the moral code that my LDS upbringing had instilled. I bought the bottle without incident, twisted off the cap and introduced my taste buds to something that I would love for the rest of my life.

As most root beer is cloyingly sweet and most ginger beer tastes like gasoline, there's a welcome crispness to Apple Beer's flavor that cuts through the traditional soda-pop sugar rush. Perhaps it's because this particular recipe dates back nearly a century. According to local history, Apple Beer president and CEO Larry Stillman encountered a nonalcoholic drink called fassbrause in the early 1960s while serving an LDS mission in Germany. The beverage made an impression that Stillman wished to share with family and friends—so Apple Beer was born in 1964. It's remained a family-owned company since. The product's distributed as far as the Caribbean, where it's become popular to serve at weddings.

Locally, Apple Beer continues to earn accolades from consumers and business leaders alike. It's won multiple awards, and members of the Stillman family have delivered lectures and speeches to up-and-coming entrepreneurs across the state.

Over the years, Apple Beer has introduced a few new products that have diversified its lineup. I was at the Utah State Fair when I discovered the first of these—the low-cal cousin called Apple Beer Five. It maintains the same crisp taste, but it's sweetened with açaí and packs a ginseng kick, which is how it keeps the calorie count to just five per bottle. The full-octane version tastes a bit better because of cane sugar, but you could do much worse for a lighter soda. The company has also expanded its roster to include ginger beer—of the non-gasoline variety, of course.

With all this variety flooding local grocery stores, I felt that a definitive taste test was in order. I grabbed a four-pack of original Apple Beer and Apple Beer Five—both bottles and cans, in case you were wondering—and a four-pack of ginger beer. By far, an icy cold original Apple Beer in a glass bottle is the best way to experience this beverage. Apple Beer out of the can is still tasty, but something about the aluminum can mutes the drink's natural bite. The ginger beer is a mild brew—none of that chest-ripping ginger found in other varieties. In this case, the mild flavor of the ginger is overpowered by an abundance of sweetness.

Regardless of what you're after in a beverage, Apple Beer's selection has something that most fans of nonalcoholic beverages will enjoy, which is quite impressive considering the chokehold that international megacorporations have on the soft drink industry. Its continuing success is one of many examples of Utah's ability to hang with the big guys—especially when it comes to nonalcoholic beverages.

Sudsy Sonnets

Get tipsy to these 10 songs about beer.
By Nick McGregor

Drinking songs date back to at least the 13th century, when the German manuscript Carmina Burana included a medieval drinking tune that began, "In the boozer/ You're a loser." Since then, odes to alcohol have been penned by artists across all genres, all geographies and all socioeconomic levels. But it's the beer ballads that really resonate with those of us in the brew crew—songs about drinking beer, looking for beer and lamenting the effects it has on our love lives and our livers. In honor of City Weekly's annual Beer Issue and forthcoming 10th annual Utah Beer Festival, we collected our favorite songs about beer from across the last 75 years or so.

click to enlarge songs_jimmy-witherspoon.png

Jimmy Witherspoon, "Drinkin' Beer (Havin' a Ball)"
It's criminally underappreciated, but this 1950 deep cut might just be the best song about beer ever written. Our man imbibes at all hours: "Yes, early in the mornin'/ Yes, in the afternoon/ Yes, in the evenin'"—"even till the rooster crows at dawnin'." Even better is Witherspoon's pre-craft beer breakdown of the endless varieties of beer: "Now lite beer is real beer/ Dark beer's real gone too/ You drink too much ale, you get put in jail/ So I think I'll stick to home brew/ Drinking in the mornin', had a little stout/ A little stout'll make you poke way out." We're not sure about the science behind that, but it sure makes us laugh every time we hear it.

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Flaco Jiménez, "En El Cielo No Hay Cerveza"
A staple of polka bands far and wide, this weepy exhortation to imbibing while still on earth was first written for a German film (figures) in 1956. Warped and molded over the decades by concertinas, trumpets and clarinets, it might have reached its artistic apex in 2003, when acclaimed accordionist and conjunto legend Flaco Jiménez gave it a Tejano spin. Even better, Jiménez gave it the trilingual treatment, singing the famous verse—"In heaven there is no beer/ That's why we drink it here/ And when we're gone from here/ All my friends will be drinking all the beer"—in English, Spanish and German.

click to enlarge songs_hank-williams-sr..png

Hank Williams Sr., "There's a Tear in My Beer"
The country song about beer that laid the template for all other country songs about beer, this 1950 heartbreaker finds ol' Hank in quite a pickle: "I'm gonna keep drinkin'/ Until I'm petrified," "I'm gonna keep drinkin'/ Till I can't move a toe," and "I'm gonna keep drinkin'/ Till I can't even think." Why's our man with the nasally hillbilly whine so blue? "There's a tear in my beer/ 'Cause I'm crying for you, dear/ Into these last nine beers/ I have shed a million tears." Three years later, Hank Sr. died in the back of his Cadillac limousine, surrounded, unsurprisingly, by empty beer cars. And in 1989, his son, Hank Jr., revived dad's old demo, adding his youthful voice in duet to lay the blueprint for modern music's posthumous tribute.

click to enlarge songs_bob-willis.png

Bob Wills, "Bubbles in My Beer"
But wait! The king of Western swing wrote this jaunty number in 1947, and in the tight-knit circle of post-war country performer, surely Hank Williams Sr. heard it a time or two. But we say the more the merrier—when it comes to beer itself and songs about beer. And shoot, wouldn't you rather have bubbles in your beer than tears? Wills went a little deeper than Williams with his lyrics, too, starting off with, "Tonight in a bar alone I'm sitting/ Apart from the laughter and the cheers/ While scenes from the past rise before me/ Just watchin' the bubbles in my beer." His "Life's been a failure," his road is "Paved with heartaches and tears," and he's "Seeing the past that I've wasted/ While watchin' the bubbles in my beer." Consider it an early example of reverse psychology—now get out of the bar and start living!

click to enlarge songs_people-under-the-stairs.png

People Under the Stairs, "Beer"
Don't think beer songs are only a country and blues trope. Hip-hop has long celebrated a laundry list of intoxicating beverages, from St. Ides to Hennessy to vodka and milk. But this Southern California rap duo kept it simple, stupid, on this 2009 banger, which seems to have been written strictly for a house party the kids would now describe as "lit." And give Thes One and Double K credit for working early digs at social media into their rhymes: "To my liver and my kidneys, your time is near/ You like hangin' on Twitter/ And we like beer." Chalk that up to the first prescient takedown of the platform we all love to hate and hate to love.

click to enlarge songs_tom-waits.png

Tom Waits, "Warm Beer Cold Women"
Our favorite froggy-voiced folk troubadour penned this noir-drenched gem in 1975, revealing the dark underbelly of big-city life in his favorite "last ditch attempt saloon." Waits accepts his plight—"Warm beer and cold women/ I just don't fit in/ Every joint I stumbled into tonight/ That's just how it's been"—while keeping his distance from "All these double knit strangers with/ Gin and vermouth/ And recycled stories/ In the naugahyde booths." (Extra points for that lip-smacking rhyme scheme.) Waits even reveals his love of classic country, locking eyes with the band in the dive as they play forgotten hits by Tammy Wynette and Johnnie Barnett. But guess what? Tonight, Waits croons, "I'll be drinking to forget you."

click to enlarge songs_bowling-for-soup.png

Bowling for Soup, "Hooray for Beer"
Finally, a song celebrating beer for its pick-me-up purposes, not just its blackout-inducing properties. Pop-punk specialists Bowling for Soup named their whole 2009 album Sorry for Partyin', but "Hooray for Beer" makes no apologies about its unabashed love: "Hooray for beer!/ I'm really glad you're here/ Let's make this moment last / You feel so right/ Wanna be with you all night." At least the boys acknowledge the fact that, "Sometimes when I wake/ You seem like a mistake/ My stomach's turning circles/ My head is pounding." But, come 5 o'clock, "You say it's time to rock/ And I can't resist/ I gotta be around you." Dependency? Check. Thinly veiled alcoholism? Check. But celebration, too? Check, check, check!

click to enlarge songs_mf-doom.png

"One Beer" by MF Doom
Unlike the previous rap song on the list, this boom-bap banger by British MC Daniel "MF Doom" Dumile provides ear candy for underground hip-hop heads. Famous for hiding his identity behind a superhero's silver mask, MF Doom proceeds to scorch sucker MCs by (spoiler) getting them drunk: "There is only one beer left/ Rappers screaming all in our ears like we're deaf/ Tempt me, do a number on the label/ Eat up all their MCs and drink 'em under the table." Those are just four lines of a free-form 60 or so, with MF Doom also talking Teletubbies, derrieres, robberies and more. Oh, and he's got no use for your bubbly: "I get no kick from Champagne/ Their alcohol doesn't thrill me at all/ So tell me why shouldn't it be true?/ I get a kick out of brew."

click to enlarge songs_folk-hogan.png

"March of the Drunkards" and "I'm Still Drunk" by Folk Hogan
We're cheating a bit here by including two songs by local hellraisers Folk Hogan. But what's beautiful about these two standouts from the band's 2012 album Band of Mighty Souls is that one tracks the joy of a night on the town while the other shines a harsh light on the consequences that follow the next morning. "March of the Drunkards" doesn't discriminate, lifting hosannas to whiskey, rum and rye. But you can really feel the love on the verse that reads, "We illuminate like fire/ Bring the whole damn bar to its knees/ Each a keg of beer we require/ With a thirst so great, it's bigger than the seas." Meanwhile, a few hours later, "It seems the dawn has come/ Before the hangover has kicked in/ Well never fear, just have a beer/ 'Cause I'm still drunk." Words of wisdom, friends—words of wisdom.

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"Beer Run" by Todd Snider
The best beer songs mix wide-eyed reverence for the frothy beverage with snide sarcasm about its inebriating allure. And slacker-folk icon Todd Snider hit the nail on the head with this 2002 ditty, which follows "A couple of frat guys from Abilene/ [Who] drove out all night to see Robert Earl Keen." A modern version of the classic talking blues, which tell a ribald story with humor and hubris, Snider keeps spirits high by injecting the sing-along/spell-along chorus often: "B double E double R UN/ All we need is a ten and a fiver/ A car and a key and a sober driver." The boys might get a fake ID confiscated, but they still manage to score their brewskis and savor their night: "They were feelin' so good it shoulda been a crime/ The crowd was cool and the band was prime/ They made it back up front to their seats just in time/ To sing with all their friends/ 'The road goes on forever and the party never ends.'"

click to enlarge songs_chumbawamba.png

BONUS: "Tubthumping" by Chumbawumba
How on God's green earth could we not include this 1997 earworm? Love it or hate it, you know you're gonna sing along when vocalist Dunstan Bruce launches into the line "He drinks a whiskey drink/ He drinks a vodka drink/ He drinks a lager drink/ He drinks a cider drink." Written to commemorate the strength of the ordinary people that gathered at Chumbawumba's Leeds local, Fforde Grene, the payoff comes when the subject (and, really, everyone) "Drinks a song to remind him of the good times" and "Drinks a song to remind him of the bad times." We all get knocked down, but it's how often we get up again—and we don't let anybody hold us down—that really matters.

And to that, we say cheers to all the great beer songs written down through the years.

Frosty Flicks

Here's 10 movies that scream—nay, belch—beer!
By David Riedel

You know what they say about beer. You're not buying, you're renting. HA HA HA HA HA. GET IT?

Look, I don't know a lot of beer jokes. Or at least I don't know a lot of beer jokes that are funny. Here's what I know: Drink too much and the evening that begins innocently enough at The Other Room in Tribeca ends six weeks later with you in a rural Kansas motel room cooking heroin on a switchblade because you accidentally melted your spoon.

So how about we leave the beer jokes for the movie peeps? I combed through my extensive drinking history—may it rest in peace—and between blackouts found some flicks that manage to make beer funny (and some that don't).

MGM / UA ENTERTAINMENT CO.
  • MGM / UA Entertainment Co.

Strange Brew
Few seem to remember Strange Brew, but we can probably blame that on blacking out, too. Anyway, what's not to love about this tale of two moron Canadian brothers, Bob and Doug Mckenzie (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas), trying to swindle free beer? Consider this: The villain is played by Max von Sydow (fucking Max von Sydow!); there's a dog named Hosehead who flies like Superman; and significant chunks of the plot are lifted from Hamlet. (I'm not even kidding. The beer in it is called "Elsinore.") Plus, Bob pees in a vat of beer and then drinks the whole thing. This movie is the best.

MAGNOLIA PICTURES
  • Magnolia Pictures

Drinking Buddies
I'm no Joe Swanberg fan (in fact, some of his movies, such as Happy Christmas and Digging for Fire, I downright loathe), but Drinking Buddies isn't just a great movie; I consider it one of the best movies ever made. This story of will-they-or-won't-they friends and co-workers (Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson) and their significant others accurately portrays the perils of keeping some friendships platonic and others ... not. It doesn't earn its happy ending, but it earns everything else, including my undying respect.

DE LAURENTIIS ENT. GROUP
  • De Laurentiis Ent. Group

Blue Velvet
You could argue David Lynch's last linear screenplay (and first masterpiece) is about beer the same way Denis Villeneuve's Enemy is about spiders, but you'd be missing the point. Lynch's tale of just-beneath-the-surface suburban evil is a wild ride of sex, violence, abduction, but above all, PABST. BLUE. RIBBON! Plus, any movie that puts Dennis Hopper back on the map and treats Heineken with unironic affection must be great.

METRO GOLDWYN MAYER
  • Metro Goldwyn Mayer

What! No Beer?
What's funnier than Prohibition-era movies about illegal breweries? Lots of things, but few of them star Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante in pre-Code comedies. Buster and Jimmy get into all sorts of shenanigans when they mistakenly think Prohibition is over and start a brewery. Tragically ironic, possibly apocryphal anecdote: Keaton showed up drunk for filming most days because his personal life was in the toilet. Bonus: His character's name is "Butts," which frankly, always makes me laugh. Non-Durante fans would be best off avoiding this. People who mistake Jimmy Durante for Danny DeVito can go ahead and look.

FOCUS FEATURES
  • Focus Features

The World's End
I enjoy the first half of Edgar Wright's weirdo sci-fi end-of-world fantasy when it's a funny but surprisingly serious look at alcoholism and broken relationships. But as Wright's movies are wont to do, The World's End takes a left turn into the absurd (and in this case, absurdly stupid) and never returns. I've wondered what this movie would feel like if it didn't take that android-filled bathroom break, but I've never wondered too much because who gives a shit? The first half is great, and you can salvage the second half by turning it into a drinking game: Chug each time one of the characters does, and by the time you get to the bathroom scene you'll be having your stomach pumped at the local hospital and the dumb plot twist will be the last thing on your mind.

ORION PICTURES
  • Orion Pictures

Beer
Not to be confused with Beer: The Movie (no, really), this ho-hum satire of the advertising industry features a young and a not-young but then-little-known Rip Torn. Plus, Loretta Swit makes one of her few memorable non-Hot Lips Houlihan performances. The only reason I'm listing it here is because I'm hoping it will eventually end up on the "How Did This Get Made?" podcast. Unfortunately, there are considerably worse movies that will come before it.

UNIVERSAL PICTURES
  • Universal Pictures

Smokey and the Bandit
It's less about beer (illegally hauling Coors across the country) and more about Burt Reynolds' body hair, but for a Reynolds racing vehicle (ha), the first Smokey entry is the apex. No joke, it's actually funny when it means to be! It's not the cinematic equivalent of brain surgery, but it's the best car-race movie of its era (a low bar, but still). Plus, it was nominated for an Oscar for best editing (also not a joke) but lost to Star Wars. With the it's-not-shit exception of Sharky's Machine, this is the last watchable movie Burt made before Boogie Nights, a spectacular 20-year dry spell unrivaled by anyone. (Even Stallone broke things up with Cliffhanger.)

IFC FILMS
  • IFC Films

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
A documentary about the personal problems of a bunch of asshole millionaire spoiled musicians? Who wants to watch that? For starters, me, over and over. After all, our problems, no matter what they are, are real to us, and directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky humanize the until-that-point larger-than-life band that looked like it had everything. In fact, in 2001 Metallica's members hated each other and the band was on the verge of breaking up, their fragility fueled in large part by frontman James Hetfield's descent into full-blown alcoholism. Only downside? Learning Metallica's song "Sweet Amber" isn't about beer, but moral trade-offs and betrayal. Best (unintentionally?) funny moment: Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, after imploring Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich to stop sniping at each other, slapping his forehead when Ulrich tells Hetfield, "You're just sitting here being a complete dick."

WARNER BROS. PICTURES
  • Warner Bros. Pictures

Beerfest
Broken Lizard, the vampires of comedy groups—because they suck the fun from everything—made a movie about drinking games. Much like their other films, it's laugh-free. (Super Troopers is held in high esteem by some people; those people are idiots.) I guess you could make a drinking game out of Beerfest, though. Each time a good actor appears on screen, clearly slumming it, chug a pint. Considering Nat Faxon, Will Forte, Mo'Nique, Jürgen Prochnow and Cloris Leachman act in this dog shit, you'll do a faceplant by the one-hour mark.

SONY PICTURES
  • Sony Pictures

Dazed and Confused and/or Superbad and/or Booksmart
Each of these movies is about the end of the school year (Superbad and Booksmart about graduating seniors, Dazed and Confused about incoming seniors hazing incoming frosh), and each has its share of super drunkenness. Two of them are also drug movies (Dazed and Confused and, to a degree, Booksmart), but as any good alcoholic will tell you, the alcohol is the gateway to everything else, man. Each of these movies is laugh-out-loud funny, whether oddly nostalgic (Dazed and Confused), kinda gross (Superbad) or surprisingly sweet (Booksmart). My suggestion: Plan a night in with a sixer and all three flicks. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday.

Enjoy your IPAs, everyone! Save the hoppiest for me.
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