Snowy mountains. A giant, salty desert. Rugged terrain. Beehive decor. Wait, what? You might think you know Utah, but Salt Lake City is FULL of surprises.
Take the beehives, for example. Why are there beehives on everything!?
Well, there are three reasons. First, biblically speaking, the promised land is called the land of milk and honey, and Salt Lake City was founded as the promised land for the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).
Second, Utah was seemingly uninhabitable when the LDS Church rolled up; so their leader, Brigham Young, adopted a hive mentality with the church followers and they worked like bees. Everything you see in Salt Lake City was built by the industrious workers of the LDS Church, toiling away in a literal desert.
And lastly, the LDS brought with them 5 beehives to symbolize the commitment to the worker bee thing. And thus, Salt Lake City was born and covered with beehive embellishment.
Anyway, I went really off-topic.
My point was that I didn’t typically think of beer when I think of Utah. After all, it’s a city founded by a Church that forbids its members from drinking not only alcohol but coffee, too. (In related news, modern Salt Lake City has fantastic coffee.)
But our assumptions totally changed on our most recent visit to Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City has an absolutely incredible craft beer scene! So when Visit Salt Lake invited us to come check it out, we were positively buzzing. Get it? Bees? Beer?! Ahhh, I love wordplay.
Here’s everything you need to know about Salt Lake City’s booming beer scene.
Psst: Planning a trip to Salt Lake City? We have a couple more posts about SLC & nearby that will help you plan your visit!
- The 4 Best Salt Lake City Ski Resorts
- The 8 Best Hikes Near Salt Lake City
- Spring Weekend Getaway Guide to Park City, Utah
A Brief History of Beer in Salt Lake City
It turns out that there was a time when Salt Lake City was called the beer capital of the American West. Beer in Utah is almost as old as Utah itself – here’s a summary of the history of beer in Utah! We love history so much, you guys.
Let me regale you with a relevant historical story: An infamous member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, Orrin Porter Rockwell, was often accused of being a murderer. In fact, Rockwell was the lead suspect on several murder cases, including Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs, who was not a fan of the LDS Church, to put it very mildly.
But Rockwell was never convicted, although it also didn’t help that during a speech by Vice President Colfax in 1856, Rockwell shouted out “I never killed anyone who didn’t need killing.” Subtle.
So, why did I say this was relevant? Well, Rockwell started the first Utah brewery that same year (1856), the Hot Springs Brewery Hotel.
It became common practice for Mormons to make their own beer and wine; in fact, some families offered homemade wine as their tithes to the church. Eventually, Brigham Young – the second leader of the LDS Church after Joseph Smith, and the reason why Salt Lake City exists – was the only person allowed to bottle and sell it.
Over the years, beer was outlawed; although legend tells of an old, secret, and incredibly forbidden pioneer bar in Ogden Canyon.
I’m being incredibly brief with the LDS history of Salt Lake City, but suffice to say, it is FASCINATING. Here is some more reading material. We’re really going to try to contain our enthusiasm throughout this post, but y’all, we love pioneer history. Have we told you about our weird obsession with the Donner Party yet??
By the way: If you, like us, are weirdly obsessed with pioneer history, be sure to visit the fascinating Pioneer Memorial Museum during your trip (admission is free, so you really have no reason not to).
You’ll get to see not only an original copy of the Book of Mormon and the illegally printed money that led to Joseph Smith’s death by angry mob (you guys LDS history is SO INTERESTING) but also an original hand-cart … you know, of HandCart Tragedy fame.
Oh, you haven’t heard of the HandCart Tragedy??
Long story short, and I promise this is the last historical detour: everyone who moved to Salt Lake City in the first few years of its founding had to WALK ACROSS THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. Salt Lake City was literally just a desert before the LDS church arrived and built it, brick by brick, from the ground up.
But as Salt Lake City grew in size, word spread as far as Europe of the newly established promised land for Latter-Day Saints. The trouble was getting from Europe all the way to Utah.
But the church came up with a solution: a tiny hand cart designed by Brigham Young himself! The hand cart was supposed to be an inexpensive solution to the expenses of cross-country-on-foot travel: think like, Ikea but for your entire house, family, and all of your belongings.
And so 3,000 late converts walked all the way across the country, pulling everything they owned in these tiny hand carts, which were initially made of wood, splinters, hopes, and dreams.
As you can imagine, this did not always end well; the HandCart Tragedy is said to be the most deadly chapter of Pioneer history, putting the Donner Party tragedy to shame.
Okay, enough veering away from beer history into the long and fascinating history of Salt Lake City. Back to beer!
The modern beer scene in Salt Lake City is a more recent creation due to laws that have finally begun to change – as recently as 2008. Throughout our trip to Salt Lake City, we discovered a lot of interesting things about the current laws surrounding beer in Utah:
- All draft beer in Utah must be under 5% – recently increased from a measly 3.2% – but bottled or canned beer may be any strength
- The laws are ever-present – posted, signed, and hung for all to ponder and enjoy – and friendly bartenders will cheerfully let you know why you can or cannot do certain things.
- Your ID won’t just be checked, it will be scanned, usually at the door. I’m sure we’re now on some digital list of sinners somewhere.
- You must be seated at a brewpub or restaurant to order and consume alcohol. We’re big fans of sitting, so this was great.
Frankly, we think it’s a lot more fun to encounter new and unusual laws while drinking than it is to know exactly what to expect. Predictability is boring. Utah is FUN!
Tips for Visiting Salt Lake City
Here are a few travel tips to help you plan your trip to Sale Lake City.
Get a Brewery Tour Mobile Pass.
Thanks to our Brewery Tour Mobile Pass, we were able to sample beers from a ridiculous number of breweries all in one day – without breaking the bank! The pass gives you $5 vouchers to use at 13 different breweries, which can be spent on either drinks or food. Most of the places we visited offered tasters or flights for under $5, making the pass well worth it!
If you’ll be visiting multiple spots in one day, it’s definitely worth it.
Stay in downtown Salt Lake City.
We’ve visited Salt Lake City a few times, and each time we’ve stayed right downtown. Downtown is spread out and you’ll likely need a car, but some areas are quite walkable.
Here are our picks for where to stay in Salt Lake City:
- We’ve stayed at the Kimpton Monaco twice now, and definitely recommend it due to its convenient walkability. Plus, we love a quirky boutique hotel!
- For an even more budget-friendly option, try Hotel RL by Red Lion, also centrally located in downtown Salt Lake City. Prices start from just $94 a night and include perks like a free airport transfer, complimentary artisanal Victrola Coffee Roasters coffee and espresso drinks (YASSSS sold), and free bike rentals. They also have a philanthropic initiative, Project Wake Up Call, in partnership with The Road Home, which works to provide shelter to homeless individuals and families in Salt Lake City. You can get a free night at any Hotel RL location by making a donation of $100 or more to one of their partner charities (terms and conditions apply). How amazing is that?!
- There are lots of fantastic VRBOs in Salt Lake City. The location of this clean and simple apartment can’t be beaten. A five minutes’ walk from Temple Square, close to tons of restaurants and shopping, this historic building is a great home base for your SLC stay. Or stay in the heart of downtown in this beautiful penthouse loft. With city and mountain views, you get the best of both worlds. We also love this cozy, historic home, it is in a quiet neighborhood – but still within walking distance of coffee shops and restaurants. This home features a clawfoot tub, a beautiful private backyard, and lots of natural light.
We recommend booking directly through VRBO because it has fewer fees and more flexible cancellation policies than Airbnb – also, we’re not fans of Airbnb’s unethical track record and lax security.
You’ll want to rent a car.
There’s not much in the way of public transit to get you to and from the breweries in Salt Lake City, and while they’re mostly clustered together – so you could feasibly Lyft and walk – it’s much, much easier to just rent a car.
While hitting up multiple breweries and driving isn’t necessarily the easiest task, we stayed safe by sticking to small pours – most breweries offer 2oz tasters for cheap – and alternating who drank at each stop. Plus, we ate plenty of food, drank loads of water, and took our time! The legally-required low alcohol content helps, too.
Salt Lake City is an outdoor adventure paradise.
The nearby Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountains – the two ranges which you’ll see majestically basking in the sun from just about everywhere in the city – are full of adventure in all seasons.
During the spring, summer, and fall, they’re a hikers paradise! Within an hour of Salt Lake City you’ll discover gushing waterfalls, gurgling streams, mirrored lakes, unique rock formations, and sweeping views of the city, the valley, and even the Great Salt Lake itself. To help you plan your adventures, we’ve got a fantastic guide to the best hikes near Salt Lake City!
During the winter, those same mountains turn into one of the best places to go skiing and snowboarding in the country. There are 4 excellent ski resorts within a 45-minute drive of Salt Lake City – and we’ve got an entire blog post about skiing in Salt Lake City for you to read.
Let’s face it: nothing goes together quite as well as outdoor sports and cold beer, and Salt Lake City has heaps of both.
Salt Lake City has excellent coffee and food, too!
As for food, the extensive list of brewpubs will keep you full all day long, but if still you have room we recommend a delicious Mexican meal at Red Iguana, made famous after a feature on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Just be sure to arrive early, or prepare to wait!
And yes, it’s true: the food IS worth the wait.
The Best Breweries in Salt Lake City
If you find yourself short on time in Salt Lake City, we’ve managed to sum up our recommendations below into 3 must-visit suggestions. Although honestly, you should probably adjust your travel plans to spend more time in SLC, just sayin’.
There, I just saved you a bunch of reading. You’re welcome. No wait, please keep reading. We drank so much beer in the process of researching for this post, you guys. Please make our liver damage worthwhile.
If you’ve got more time to spend in Salt Lake City, be sure to read through our detailed recommendations below. Most of the breweries are clustered near one another, which makes visiting several in one day about as possible as the amount of beer your liver can handle.
We asked a few locals which places needed to be placed on our list, and Proper Brewing was always at the top. It was almost a knee jerk reaction. It’s like when someone says the word “Louisville” within Lia’s general vicinity and immediately and she instinctively says “You know it has over a million people.” Hometown love runs deep!
Our bartender at Proper described the brewery as a place for beer nerds who are really into learning about the ingredients and want to try something new. She also pointed that while breweries start with a base malt they use for multiple beer varieties, Proper creates different bases for each beer they make that is more like what it’s based on (ie English or German-style). Everything from water to hops is unique to the beer and as close to the original as you can get.
You can really taste the difference too! We had a sample of their most popular beer, the Lake Effect Gose. It was tart, tangy, salty, and so very unique. In addition to carefully crafted brews, Proper offers something truly unique: Beertinis! We tried their Peach Cobbler Beertini, a seasonal beer cocktail made from their Stumblebee Honey Vienna Lager, spiced simple syrup, peach whiskey, and lemon.
- Verdict: The best brewery for beer nerds in search of innovative brews
- Must-Try: Lake Effect Gose … and one of their delicious Beertinis
- Proper Brewing | Address: 857 Main St, Salt Lake City, UT
The Templin Family began brewing in the late 90s, and you can tell all that time has perfected their technique.
In general, you can expect to see a lot of German-style lagers and ales, so if you are into European style beers (ahem, biers) then this is your spot. As a brewery, they can only offer snacks, but lucky for you and your appetite, they have a rotating schedule of food trucks outside.
Our top two selections here are the Pineapple Berliner Weisse (it’s fruit-forward, sour, and tart) and the Smoked Helles. The latter made me want to wear Lederhosen and sing an Oktoberfest song, like the part-German I am.
- Verdict: The best brewery for fans of European and German-style beers
- Must-Try: Pineapple Berliner Weisse and Smoked Helles
- T.F. Brewing | Address: 936 S 300 W, Salt Lake City, UT
Fisher Brewing Company
Here’s another little Utah history lesson, and no, we aren’t talking about Brigham Young. We could if you want! Do you? …no? Okay, forget it.
Fisher Brewing opened its doors for the first time in 1884, founded by Albert Fisher, a German immigrant who had been working in the beer scene for about a decade. And business was booming! By 1905, Fisher was selling 75,000 barrels of beer a year.
Unfortunately, prohibition hit the Utah breweries hard and Fisher closed up shop. He reopened after the 21st Amendment was passed and continued growing for 30-odd years until he sold the brewery in 1957 to Lucky Lager, which became the biggest brewery in the state. Sadly, in 1967, Fisher closed down due to some complicated bygone bottling laws in Utah.
But then, 50 years later, Fisher opened back up for the third time! This time, the brewery is employee-owned, and one of them is related to none other than Albert Fisher, the original founder. They even use the same original beer recipe as Fisher himself!
In addition to their flagship Fisher Beer, they have a ton of Pale Ale selections. Personally, I couldn’t get enough of the Rye Cream Ale
Randomly, they have some really cute clothes for sale, many of which are locally produced. One sweater made by Locale Outdoor, which benefits non-profit organizations, was designed by a local artist, and if we had room in our suitcases we absolutely would have come home with it.
- Verdict: The best brewery for history nerds
- Must-Try: Rye Cream Ale
- Fisher Brewing | Address: 320 W 800 S, Salt Lake City, UT
I can’t call Kiitos Brewing my favorite, but only because as professionals, we don’t have favorites. Just like how I definitely don’t have favorite students…
Anyhow, Kiitos blew my mind. Immediately when you enter, you can tell how popular this spot is. Lucky for us, they have a little annex bar and we were able to talk about the offerings with a couple of the bartenders.
You know that thing that happens with beers where the description sounds great, but then it only vaguely tastes like what was described? Get that nonsense out of here. At Kiitos, everything tasted EXACTLY how you would imagine, and we were so happy about it.
The Blackberry Sour was funky, tart, and fruity. The Barrel-Aged Coconut Stout had serious depth and tasted of marshmallow, vanilla, bourbon, and rum. The Vanilla Nut Cream ale was light and tasted like a cream soda. And lastly, the Coffee Cream Ale smelled and tasted exactly like coffee with cream; we were a little thrown by the blonde color, but we were wrong. By the way, the last two are the most popular – for good reason.
- Verdict: The best brewery for anyone who trusts our beer recommendations
- Must-Try: Blackberry Sour, Barrel-Aged Coconut Stout, Vanilla Nut Cream Ale, Coffee Cream Ale … just try everything!
- Kiitos | Address: 608 W 700 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
Like a lot of places in SLC, Saltfire mostly sells their beers in cans and bottles, but they recently opened up a tasting room!
We got a few suggestions from local bartenders about which to try and we were very pleased with them. The first, and most commonly suggested, was The Smiths-inspired Frankly Mr. Shankly IPA. It was not a pain in the a**, as Morrisey says; instead it was a very balanced grapefruity IPA. I don’t usually like IPAs, but this one was really refreshing.
We followed it with the Pomegranate Sour. This one got us right to the point of almost too sour, but it evens out with a nice sweet finish.
Our third and fourth picks were the Rooster’s Black Widow Schwarzbier and the Dirty Chai Stout. Both of them had a coffee taste, but the stout was almost on the spicy side.
- Verdict: The best brewery for fans of The Smiths, and IPA’s
- Must-Try: Frankly Mr. Shankly IPA
- Saltfire | Address: 2199 S W Temple, South Salt Lake, UT
Get ready for some more history, y’all. From 1850s to Prohibition, Louisville, KY was the spot to try a new beer style: the Kentucky Common. Cue Lia raving about how amazing Louisville is. Incidentally, we do have a brewery guide to Louisville!
Refrigeration was expensive and ice wasn’t readily available in Kentucky at the time. So brewers would brew beer at high temperature and age it for a very short amount of time. This reduced carbonation and made it so the beer didn’t need to be cooled for very long. It kept costs down and created a sweet dark ale. Sadly, this style has since mostly died out.
But Jeremy, why are you talking about Kentucky? Like, we get it. Lia is from Louisville. Can we get back to Utah, please?
We do have a point, we promise! Level Crossing brews the You-tah Uncommon, a resurrection of this old style. I love a distillery, specifically the sourdough bread smell that wafts throughout. This beer smells exactly like that.
It has a dark color, but it’s deceiving; the taste is super light and malty. Level Crossing also has a coffee variety, where they’ve thrown locally roasted beans in. It’s one of my favorite drinks I had this trip!
They also serve food here. Just a heads up: their homemade pickles are as spicy as the menu warns. Oh, and their Reuben is delicious!
- Verdict: The best brewery for anyone obsessed with Kentucky (and history)
- Must-Try: You-Tah Uncommon and its variants
- Level Crossing | Address: 2496 S W Temple, South Salt Lake, UT
A word that came to mind upon entering was “industrial.” The history of the tasting room is basically “Hey we have a bunch of space in this corner of the warehouse, should we open it up to the public?” You’ll be sitting and sipping among giant beer vats, which feels very homey and bespoke.
If you’re an IPA fan, you’ll enjoy their Hazy and Juicy IPA. I don’t know how else to describe it but a pure IPA. It’s not rare to see “IPA but this is different,” but this just tasted precise.
I’m a big fan of sour beers, so I had to try their Plum Berliner Weisse. It was sweet and tangy, but not as sour as it looks. Thanos would be proud. Get it guys? Because it’s perfectly balanced?
There’s no getting around it though: the star at Shades is their Kveik 1. Here’s another bit of beer knowledge: a kveik beer is essentially a beer that has been made with a strand of yeast that has been passed down from generation to generation. Think of it like the mother dough or starter for sourdough bread.
It’s important to note (as beer nerds will tell you) that “kveik” is not a style of beer, but rather the yeast. So if you go up to a bar and say you want a kveik, expect to hold out your hands to grab some old funky yeast.
The Kveik 1 from Shades won the gold medal in the 2018 American beer festival, so it’s a pretty big deal. It smells of citrus and has a sour bite like a green apple. It’s super smooth and light though.
It’s an easy drink. In fact, my drunken scribble of notes says “DrInKs LiKe A PiLsNeR.” Thanks for that insight, Drunk Jeremy.
- Verdict: The best brewery for purists
- Must-Try: Kveik 1
- Shades Brewing | Address: 154 W Utopia Ave, South Salt Lake, UT
Here are Lia’s two favorite beer descriptors: sour and barrel-aged. I’m convinced she would buy Barrel-Aged Sour Compost Juice, and probably have very steadfast opinions about it. Note from Lia: um, rude. But accurate.
Those two adjectives come together in perfect harmony at Toasted Barrel where EVERYTHING is either sour or barrel-aged (or both!).
We struggled to decide on which four to include in our flight. After three existential crises, we finally landed on a selection of delicious brews.
First was the Barrel-Aged Pumpkin Sour. It had a rum scent and tasted like toasted sea salt caramel. Sadly, it’s a seasonal offering – if you visit during the fall, like we did, you might be in luck!
Next up was the Black Currant Sour. The size of the foam threw me on this one, but the cranberry smell and tang was very welcome. The Raspberry Berliner Weisse was thankfully less fruit than it looked or sounded. It would be a great introduction for someone who wants to try a Berliner Weisse.
To finish, we had the bartender’s personal favorite (and mine), the Phineus: a Vanilla Raspberry Sour! It was heavy on the vanilla, and just when you think it might end as sweet and cloying, it hits you with a refreshing raspberry taste.
- Verdict: The best brewery for lovers of complex beers
- Must-Try: Phineus
- Toasted Barrel | Address: 412 W 600 N, Salt Lake City, UT
Other Breweries in Salt Lake City
Although we did our very best to visit as many breweries as we could – and I’d say that 8-10 breweries per day for multiple days is something of an impressive accomplishment – we didn’t even hit all of the spots we wanted to go! It seems like new breweries are popping up daily, so chances are by the time this is published, there will already be some new and exciting spot that we’ll need to visit ASAP.
Here are the other spots on our wishlist. If you’ve been, leave us a comment with your recommendations! We plan to hit them up on our next trip to Salt Lake City.
- Bohemian Brewery: Like the name implies, Bohemian specializes in European – specifically Czech – style brews! Na zdravi! Fun fact: that’s the only thing we learned how to properly pronounce in Czech during our trip last year.
- Mountain West Cidery: I know this is supposed to be a list of breweries, but we have big love for hard cider, too! Mountain West Cidery makes ciders out of everything from apples to prickly pear. Yum!
- Epic Brewing: Epic’s claim to fame is being the first Utah brewery to exclusively brew high alcohol content beer. And as we learned during our impromptu beer law in Utah history lesson, high alcohol content beer can only be canned or bottled. Look for Epic’s 22oz bottles for sale around Salt Lake City, or visit the brewery and taproom to sip on site. If the can designs look familiar, you might have seen them for sale in Colorado: Epic also has a brewery located in Denver.
Brew Pubs in Salt Lake City
Since you’re probably wondering, the difference between a brewery and a brewpub, basically, is food. A brewpub has a different license than a brewery, and it allows them to operate a full kitchen and even serve liquor. You can also bring kids with you to a brewpub, which is like … a fun outing for them, I guess.
That said, the brewpubs in Salt Lake City also tend to brew their own beer. On this trip, we were focusing on beer rather than food, so we hit up a lot more breweries than beer pubs.
That said, here’s a list of our favorite brewpubs in Salt Lake City, plus a bunch more suggestions that we compiled from locals!
This brewpub is located in the super adorable Trolley Square, a surprising local find nestled amongst home goods stores. They offer samplers for $3 to taste four beers.
Our highlights were the Red Ale and the Latter Day Stout – and I have to give them extra points for wordplay.
We arrived around lunchtime and had to take advantage of their extensive lunch menu. We ordered the Black and Bleu Bacon Burger. It was…*chef’s kiss*.
Oddly enough, they also serve a bunch of pies there. I wanted to try one. Lia said we shouldn’t eat pie for lunch. We headed straight to divorce court after lunch.
- Verdict: The best brewpub for wordplay fans … who like burgers
- Must-Try: Latter-Day Stout
- Desert Edge | Address: 273 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, UT
Located in the middle of downtown – and spearheading an urban revitalization movement which ultimately led to today’s downtown Salt Lake City – Squatters Pub was a pleasant walk from our hotel.
This was exciting because we had to drive to everywhere else on our list, which understandably was challenging to do safely given that our task for the weekend was to drink a bunch of beer. This is also why you see us downing a quart of fresh-squeezed juice and a ridiculous amount of food on our Salt Lake City Instagram Story highlight.
Squatters Pub is quite popular, and we would definitely recommend getting a reservation if you don’t want to wait – it was packed on the night we arrived. This was where we learned another fun Utah law: you can’t be served beer at a brewpub or restaurant unless you’re sitting. As a bit of a sitting enthusiast, I was very happy to learn that, but it does mean that you’ll have to suffer through a long wait for a table here beer-free.
We tried the Wasatch Apricot Hefeweizen, which was very apricotty, tart, and bright. Refreshing! For fans of dark beer, the Oatmeal Stout was smooth and creamy, and the Espresso Stout had a slight bitterness to it. There’s also caffeine in it, so that’s a yes from me, dawg.
- Verdict: The best brewpub if you’re staying downtown
- Must-Try: Wasatch Apricot Hefeweizen
- Squatters Pub | Address: 147 West Broadway (300 South), Salt Lake City, UT
Red Rock Brewing
Located just around the block from Squatters Pub, we headed to Red Rock for dessert (and more beer). We were delighted to find no wait and plenty of empty tables – if the wait at Squatters is too long, you might try coming here instead.
Upon being seated at Red Rock, we were given the devastating news that Red Rock doesn’t do tasters. Drinking a bunch of beer is all well and good when you’re only sipping a few ounces, but this felt like a commitment. So we had to do our least favorite thing: make a decision.
The first decision we made was a great one! It was to order the chocolate brownie, which is not technically beer but… kinda? Right? Anyway, it was really good.
We also tried the Blackberry Belgian Dark, which surprisingly was super light on the fruit. Lastly, we got a Passion Fruit Gose, which landed somewhere on a spectrum between IPA and Fruity Sours.
- Verdict: The best brewpub if you’re craving dessert with your beer
- Must-Try: Passion Fruit Gose
- Red Rock Brewing | Address: 254 S 200 W, Salt Lake City, UT
Other Brewpubs in Salt Lake City
There are a LOT more brewpubs in Salt Lake City that we didn’t have a chance to visit (you guys, we did our best. We need more time!!). But luckily, during our trip we met up with Salt Lake City local travel blogger Janiel from CultureTrekking, who graciously provided us a few of her favorite local picks.
We also asked for recommendations from every bartender who didn’t seem to mind chatting with us while we awkwardly held up glasses of beer and took 9272867 photos instead of just drinking them immediately like normal people, and the result is this list of brewpubs we’ll definitely be visiting on future trips!
- BeerHive Pub: Stocked full of imports and craft beer, BeerHive offers over 100 varieties of bottled beer and 12 taps! Plus, they’ve got plenty of food.
- Bar X & Beer Bar: Opened the year that Prohibition was repealed, these next-door neighbor bars combine the best of both worlds. From their website: “In the mood for a meticulously prepared cocktail with fresh ingredients? Step through the magic door to Bar X. Did you get hungry and wonder what the score was? Step back through to Beer Bar. Just don’t stand in the doorway, it’s not huge.” It also says that their Belgian fries are really good, so, sold. Cuz we f***king love Belgium. OH ALSO, VERY FUN FACT: both bars are owned by Ty Burrell, of “the adorable dad in Modern Family” fame. HI TY, WE LOVE YOU. HIT US UP. That is all.
- The Rest: Hidden underneath a tavern called Bodega, The Rest is described as a “Subterranean speakeasy for creative eats & cocktails in atmospheric digs with a hunting-lodge vibe.” Google, who writes your reviews? Give them a raise. That sounds awesome. Upon further research, we found out that the hunting-lodge vibe comes from taxidermied animals, which creeps us out but also makes us even more intrigued. I wanted to look at their website, but it doesn’t exist. Ooooh, mysterious!
- Quarters Arcade Bar: It’s an arcade bar!!! Need we say more?! OK, fine, we will: they also have pinball, board games, and console games. Oh and drinks, because we’re also definitely grown-ups.
- Purgatory Bar: Not to be confused with Purgatory Correctional Facility, also in Utah (thanks Google, that was a fun detour), Purgatory is like heaven (GET IT) for adventurous foodies. Their globally inspired menu leans heavily towards Asian influences, with a dash of Hawaiian and Mexican. Yeah, we’re intrigued too.
- Prohibition: Looking for nightlife? You’ll find it here! We’re especially intrigued by “burly-oke,” described as “if burlesque and karaoke had a love child.” Um, YES. In addition, Prohibition serves up 16 local beers on tap, plus a plethora of fancy-schmancy craft cocktails… and some absinthe. Ooooh, sounds like a fun night!
- Hoppers BrewPub: Voted the best brunch in Utah, the liege waffles alone are enough reason to visit on your trip. But this is a beer post, not a waffle post (have we mentioned how much we love Belgium, by the way?) so instead, we’ll say that as a mild-mannered ginger, I’m very curious to try the Hot-Headed Redhead. We were also recommended to try “This is the Pilsner,” which has won 9 gold medals.
- Wasatch Brew Pub: Home of the Polygamy Porter (y’all know how much we love a pun) and a scrumptious sounding Apricot Hefeweizen.
- Whiskey Street: While technically not a brewpub, Whiskey Street’s beer selection does include several of our picks from Salt Lake City’s best breweries. But really, it made the list because we’re also fancy cocktail snobs and foodies, and literally everything about their menu and ambiance appeals to our deeply boujie sensibilities.
- Bewilder Brewing: This brand new brewpub sadly opened after our trip. Housed in a giant 120-year-old warehouse, Bewilder brews beer using premium and heirloom grains and pairs them with hand-crafted pretzels, brats, and hot dogs (and not-dogs for those who don’t eat meat). Bewilder will also soon offer classes, tours, and more for DIY beer enthusiasts.
For even more recommendations – y’all, Salt Lake City has an infinite beer scene – check out this excellent Salt Lake City brewery guide created by our friend Carol from Wayfaring Views.
Map of Salt Lake City Breweries & Brew Pubs
Wish you had a convenient way to take all of our recommendations along with you during your trip? You’re in luck! We created a Google Map for exactly that. Save it to your phone to refer to during your visit!
Feeling thirsty? Which Salt Lake City Brewery or beer pub is first on your list? Drop us a comment below!
Psst: Planning a trip to Salt Lake City? We have a couple more posts about SLC & nearby that will help you plan your visit!
- The 4 Best Salt Lake City Ski Resorts
- 8 Best Day Hikes Near Salt Lake City
- Spring Weekend Getaway Guide to Park City, Utah
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Disclaimer: This guide was created in partnership with Visit Salt Lake. All bad jokes, opinions, and weird obsessions with pioneer history are 100% our own and totally not their fault.