The Beer Issue | Cover Story | Salt Lake City Weekly

August 24, 2016 News » Cover Story

The Beer Issue 

The 7th Annual Utah Beer Festival Is Here!

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These poppy portmanteaus really pack a punch.
By Darby Doyle

Beertails. Hopsology. Brewtinis. Whatever you want to call 'em, some of the top spots in town for cocktails and nosh also feature drinks with one of our favorite ingredients any time of day: beer. Of course we're hopelessly hooked on hops straight-up in a glass as our benevolent deity of choice intended. But we can appreciate some creative tinkering when the mood strikes to shake things up a bit. Whether you're in the mood for savory, sassy or sweet, there's a refreshingly bubbly beer cocktail to suit your specifications right here in the 801. Here are some of our faves around town.

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331 S. Main,
The alcohol overachievers at Bodega/The Rest recently hosted an entire event featuring beer cocktails, all made with Uinta Brewing products aimed to raise funds for the Ales for ALS cause. Doing good deeds by imbibing? Always a win-win. All three of them were refreshing and delicious (hell yeah, I tried 'em all ... duh). But The Harriet ($9)—so named by bar manager Adam Albro after the cult classic So I Married an Axe Murderer—notably nails all the cool and refreshing notes of summer sipping: fresh crushed blueberries, two kinds of housemade bitters, lime and grapefruit juices, crème de cassis for a nice black currant note, bourbon (bourbon and beer were made to go in a cocktail together) and Uinta's German-style lager Fest Helles. "It's an almost perfect hair of the dog drink," says The Rest's sous chef and collaborative drinks developer, Ryan Santo. We emphatically agree, and would love to wake up to Harriet any day, though we'll not-so-patiently wait until the bar opens at 5 p.m.

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East Liberty Tap House
850 E. 900 South
An afternoon spent sipping on ELTH's sunny patio and watching the wonderful wacky world of 9th & 9th go by always reminds us why we love SLC and her people so damn much. Add a beer cocktail or two concocted by owner Scott Evans to the mix, and we might never leave. Well, until the snow falls, then we'll gladly take our shivering asses into the tavern proper. Inspired by the bright and bitter (in the best possible way) notes of locally made Shades of Pale Brewing's truly phenomenal brew, the White IPA, Evans added local Beehive Jack Rabbit Gin to the party, along with orange and lime juices, sage bitters and fresh cilantro to create his Belgian Gin Spritz ($10). Big notes of orange peel and herb in the nose pair refreshingly with the gin's floral notes, and SOP's white IPA gooses the glass with a zing.

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Pig & A Jelly Jar
SLC and Ogden locations
To round out your hearty lunch or late power breakfast of chicken and waffles, nothing quite fits the bill like proletariat Pabst Blue Ribbon, served un-ironically at Pig & A Jelly Jar in pint Mason jars. We're partial to P&JJ's southern spin on the classic bloody beer with a PBR Mary ($4.50), which they stir up with their just-spicy-enough housemade bloody mix and serve with a Cajun sea-salt rim and house-pickled green beans. Also hitting all of the savory buttons is their PBR-tini ($4.50) with a little pickle brine added to the PBR pint jar, an herb-salted rim and a strip of thick-cut bacon wrapped around a chunk of bleu cheese—all skewered with a steak-knife to keep that greasy goodness from unraveling. Food pyramid: Nailed that shit.

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Epic Annex
1048 E. 2100 South
Leave it to the folks at Epic Brewing to take that roadie classic gin and juice, mix in a little salty dog-style summer sipping for further inspiration and take it up a notch or three by adding a hefty pour of their award-winning (for damn good reasons) Spiral Jetty IPA. Served with a sea-salted rim, the Great Salt Lake cocktail ($8) is packed with refreshing grapefruit juice and fragrant gin to give the bevvy a generous citrus base for all that hoppy IPA zip. Its fabulous paired with their hearty burgers, anything spicy or their hangover-friendly twist on that Canadian classic bit of gravy done good, poutine.

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Zest Kitchen & Bar
275 S. 200 West
(A 21+ establishment)
Zest is hitting all the summer lovin' buttons with their boozy spin on that bit of warm weather refreshment wizardry, the shandy. In this case, they pair fresh cold-pressed watermelon juice with vodka and Uinta Brewing Co.'s Sum'r Organic Ale, a citrusy American blonde ale eagerly awaited every spring and destined for coolers all over Utah. Zest's boozy and bright Watermelon Sum'r Shandy ($7) is available while the fruit is in season, and as early as 10 a.m. for weekend brunch (try it with their Southwest Skillet with quinoa and black beans; you'd never know it's vegan). Owner Casey Staker says, "We'll make it until the watermelon season is gone." In other words, hop to it while the farmers market melon pickings are still hot.

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Red Butte Café
1414 Foothill Drive
"I just love our beers," says Red Butte Café bar manager Sam Fredrickson, who's been overseeing the Desert Edge Brewery taps at this Foothills local favorite for almost five years. "The Happy Valley Hefeweizen is a really terrific beer, and I wanted to highlight all of those bright summer flavors with a citrusy beer cocktail." The result? The Fleur D'Orange ($7.50), made with that heavenly hefe, Beehive Jack Rabbit Gin, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, orange bitters and orange juice, and housemade honey simple syrup. It's an affordable and approachable cocktail that goes equally well with a lighter-style salad for lunch, or with RBC's hearty brunch offerings like breakfast burritos or an eggs benny. Cheers!

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