Can I get I drink?

First my apologies for being offline for a month.  Life, work, family and travel kept pushing writing a new post to the back of the que.

When I learned that I was going to be spending 10 days in Salt Lake City in order to attend the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, I inwardly groaned.  Salt Lake?  Really?  How boring. More importantly, would I be able to get a decent beer?

panoSLC

Turns out I had nothing to worry about.

Within just a few blocks of my hotel there are at least a dozen bars including two brew pubs, Squatters and Red Rocks.  Indeed within just a few outings I found that there were many local breweries making pretty decent stuff.

Of course there is a wrinkle.  While booze can be easily had the states’ Mormon heritage still shows through.  Most noticeably is in draft beer.  All draft beer in the state must be 4% ABV or less.  While this might sound like a terrible idea to everyone except Mr. Session Beer himself, Lew Bryson, it actually leads to a lot of creativity and some pretty tasty beers too.  The restriction harkens back to the old “3.2 beer.” Since 3.2 measured alcohol by weight as opposed to volume it works out to be the same strength.

While I can imagine that it makes a brewer’s job much harder, they actually manage to put forward some solid offerings.  I’ve had a few solid helles and pilsners but beyond that there are other more interesting options.  Naturally the “session” IPA’s and pale ales are ubiquitous but I’ve also had a really good cream ale and porter and saw a “chocolate, chocolate rye.”

Of course higher test beers can be had in cans and bottles and I’ve had some really solid options there too.  Sometimes the ABV isn’t all that much higher.  I’ve had pilsners and lagers that were 5.5% and tried several IPA’s as well.  I even had a good nut brown and a 12% ABV RIS.

IMAG00100

Bobcat Nutbrown at Red Rocks Brew Pub

The other vagary that I’ve encountered has no upside.  High West distillery is just a half an hour away on Park City and makes some great ryes in particular.  I was excited to find a number that I haven’t tried readily available and for a reasonable price.  I found out the catch when the waitress brought me a pour of “Son of Bourye” and I had to ask her if it was as full pour or just a taste.  Turns out that all hard alcohol must be poured out through a device that strictly measures out an ounce.  You also can’t order a double pour although if you have a drink with several alcohols in it then it can have up to 2 1/2 ounces in it. Doesn’t matter how nice you are to the barkeep, those skimpy pours are all the law allows.

So even though there are some real differences I have to say that SLC is a worthy beer destination after all.

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