By Matt Gibson, Trivago -- There are a lot of misconceptions out there about Salt Lake City, especially about the city’s drinking culture. The first thing most people think of when you mention Utah’s capital is Mormonism even though Mormons are actually a minority in the city. A lot of people also assume that alcohol is somehow limited, hard to find or even outright banned, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
Salt Lake City’s liquor laws are basically the same as those in many counties around the country, and, like most mountain cities, Salt Lake has a strong tradition of craft brewing and small-batch spirit distilling. Some of the area’s drinking establishments are even legendary. Here are a few of the highlights of cocktails and craft beer in Salt Lake City!
Squatters Brewpub is a Salt Lake City institution. It’s considered by many to be the area’s most popular brewpub and restaurant for its widely loved craft beers, including the famous Polygamy Porter. While the Polygamy Porter is best known because of its controversial name, it’s far from Squatters best brew. The Emigration Amber is probably the brewery’s most-loved brew, and the hoppy high-alcohol Hops Rising IPA is also very popular. The pub’s buffalo wings are widely renowned and the bacon-topped meatloaf is always in high demand. Squatters has locations in downtown Salt Lake City, Park City and Salt Lake City International airport, so if you don’t get to visit while you’re in town, you can still get one before you catch your flight.
Run by the well-known Epic Brewing Company, the Annex Brewpub serves 36 freshly brewed beers and traditional mountain-style dishes with a classy artisan touch. The beef brisket poutine is some of the finest poutine you’ll find south of the Canadian border and the lamb burger with feta cheese, romesco sauce and arugula is unlike any other you’ve ever tried. The servers here are very knowledgeable and always have a beer pairing suggestion for your order. The Annex always serves a variety of new seasonal brews, so it’s best to ask your server for recommendations, but you can never go wrong with classics like the Blue Ski Lager or Spiral Jetty India Pale Ale.
The neighborhood pub for one of Utah’s oldest and trendiest neighborhoods, ‘The Avenues’ is a friendly local gastropub serving small-batch craft beers and pub food with a creative flair, like duck-fat popcorn and cured bacon on the burgers. Every beer lover should try the pubs namesake brew, the Proper Beer, a nicely balanced English Golden Ale. It’s also the only beer that’s offered all year round. Everything else is seasonal. Looking for a cool hotel nearby? The Anniversary Inn is equal part cheesy and equal parts fun and will add an element of surprise to any SLC visit.
High West Saloon and Distillery
Utah’s first distillery, and the only ski-in gastro-distillery in the world, is located inside a 100-year-old house in nearby Park City. The High West Saloon and Distillery was the first legal still to open in Utah after prohibition and has been Utah’s best-known distillery ever since. The upscale western motif, fine spirits and creative cuisine make for a one-of-a-kind experience. Whisky-lovers have a broad selection to choose from, and the saloon also has an enormous menu of cocktails both traditional and specialty, such as the Giddy-Up Jupiter and the S’more Cocktail, Please. Stay nearby at the Main & Sky hotel for an easy trot home after you’ve tried that enormous cocktail menu.
Salt Lake City has the reputation for being the unofficial capital of Mormonism, but that has in no way dampened the city’s thirst for fine beer and spirits. These are just a few of the city’s specialty drinking establishments. If by some miracle you make it through all of these, then try out Desert Edge in Trolley Square or one of the two Wasatch Brewery locations in Salt Lake City and Park City.