Originally Posted by dburdenbates
Great place to ski, not the best place to drink. Hope you aren't a liquor drinker as the Utah liquor laws are pretty strange (private club memberships, etc.). The Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City (top of Main St.) has some nice home brews, you'll just need to drink twice as much. You can buy growlers of their brews to take back to the condo or hotel and then take them back for a refill at a discounted price. They brew a good HefeWeizen.
Holy freakin god, I get tired of hearing about weak Ut beer. Here you go once and for all:
Busting Utah's Beer Myths
By Kathy Stephenson
The Salt Lake Tribune
Matt Beamer, Jennifer Talley, Chris Haas and the state's dozen other brew masters work hard to make great brews that are busting Utah's beer myths.
But liquor lore is heavy here and many customers just won't shed their age-old thinking.
Take, for instance, the number 3.2, which refers to the percent of alcohol - by weight - contained in beer. Under state law, "three-two" beer is all that can be sold in grocery stores or on draft at bars and microbreweries. But Planet Utah is like no other in the universe.
Producers from everywhere else - from California to New York and Belgium to Germany - measure the percent of alcohol in beer by volume. Brewers say it is a significant mathematical difference that is lost on the everyday beer drinker.
"It's apples and oranges," says Beamer, the brew master at Wasatch Brew Pub in Park City.
When measured like the rest of the world, Utah's beer has 4 percent alcohol by volume. And while that is the lowest level in the nation, it is not far behind the national average of mainstream beers, which are about 5 percent.
That means all those youthful drives to Wyoming for "better beer" were probably a waste of time and gas.
"You'd have to drink a lot of beer to notice a 1 percent alcohol difference," said Haas, the brew master at Salt Lake City's Desert Edge Brewery in Trolley Square.
More lore: That brings up Utah Beer Myth No. 2: The point in brewing beer is to have as much alcohol as possible. In reality, beer is not brewed to be as alcoholic as possible - in Utah or anywhere else in the world. Beer is brewed to match a specific style or taste. Each style has a general color, flavor, bitterness and alcohol level.
A German-style pilsener, for example, generally has a light straw or golden color, a moderate flavor and aroma and an alcohol-by-volume level that ranges between 4 and 5 percent. An imperial stout has a dark copper, almost black color, a rich malt flavor and 7 to 12 percent alcohol by volume.
The list goes on since there are dozens of beer styles around the world. The Great American Beer Festival, the Oscars of the beer-making world, has nearly 70 beer-style categories, according to the Brewers Association, which sponsors the annual event.
That means lower-alcohol beers made at Utah's microbreweries - pale ales, English-style browns and bitters - are comparable to those made outside the state.
Many people assume that popular beers, such as Guinness, a dark Irish stout and Corona, a beer from Mexico, have a higher alcohol content everywhere except Utah. But in reality those beers are 4 percent by volume (or 3.2 by weight) all over the country.
Large manufacturers like Budweiser and Coors make their beers fit all the different alcohol rules simply by adding filtered water, according to experts.
Of course, like any craftsperson, Utah brew masters would love to have a full spectrum of beers in their arsenal like a bock (6 to 7 percent alcohol) or a barley wine (8 to 12 percent).
"There are some styles that I'd love to do but will never be able to do unless there's some sort of revelation that happens on the [state Alcohol Beverage Control] commission," said Beamer. "It's happened. I'm not crossing my fingers, but it's happened before."
However, Utah brewers with the ability to bottle their beverages are producing beer with higher alcohol content. Squatters Pub Brewery in Salt Lake City makes an India Pale Ale that is 6 percent alcohol by volume, while Uinta Brewing Company makes a barley wine that is almost 10 percent alcohol. The beers are sold in Utah only at state liquor stores.
Karl Menzer worked as a brew master in Louisiana before coming to Tracks Brewing Co. in Tooele. He said it hasn't been that difficult to adapt to Utah laws.
"There are styles you can't make here, so I concentrate on the summer beers and fall beers instead of the traditional 5 1/2 to 6 percent I made before," he said. "But they are great beers nonetheless."
Smarter brewing: Menzer and other brew masters say working under Utah alcohol limitations has made them better brewers. With a higher alcohol brew, they say, the easier it is to hide any imperfections in the beer.
"That's the beauty of 3.2 beer," said Talley, the brewer master at Squatters Brew Pub. "Everything the brewer puts into a beer is right on the palate. You can't hide behind it."
Because of that, Utah brewers are forced to work smarter than some of their counterparts in other states, paying careful attention to the marriage between their hops and barley, said Talley.
That careful attention has paid off in numerous gold, silver and bronze medals for Utah's microbreweries at the Great American Beer Festival as well as the World Beer Cup.
Sales figures say customers like what they are being served as well. Talley said beer sales at Squatters brew pub grew 11 percent over the last year.
And last year, the Uinta Brewing Co. sold more than 15,000 barrels of beer, moving it out of the smaller "microbrewery" category and into the group known as regional specialty brewers, said Steven Kuftinec, the director of sales and operations.
Utah is following the national trend. In 2005, America's craft brewers sold 9 percent more barrels of beer than the year before.
That made microbrewed beers the fastest growing segment of the U.S. alcohol beverage industry for the second year in a row, according to the Brewers Association.
"Small brewers lead the entire industry by offering flavorful, interesting beers," said Ray Daniels, the associations director of craft beer marketing.
And Utah has some of the best, says Spencer Alston, co-owner of The Bayou private club in Salt Lake City. "We outperform other states on a regular basis."