Here at 2nd Tracks were proud to be Utah skiers through and through. 801 powder baby, that’s what were about! But still, we have to admit we’re a bit jealous of Colorado…
Ha, no, not of their skiing, just of their beer! God, we aren’t jealous of the kind of commute Rado’s are stuck with for a day on the hill. In fact, If you want to know what its like to commute from the Front Range to the I-70 ski resort strip, here’s what you do: Drive your car in reverse from Salt Lake to the top of Parley’s Summit five times. Next wait in the chairlift line, when its your turn to get on the lift, excuse yourself and get to the back of the line. Repeat this process one or two more times depending on how realistic you want your experience to be.
All Utahans can agree that we’ve got them beat when it comes to skiing, but lag far behind when it comes to one important category; beer. Utah has long been notorious for it’s strict (and sometimes outragious) liquor laws, and even though things have eased up a bit, there is still some major bummers. On the other hand, new laws have allowed for the proliferation of small craft breweries across the state, and we now boast some of the best microbreweries IN THE COUNTRY!! Companies like Epic are making amazing high gravity beers, and the original Salt Lake craft breweries like Uinta and Squatters have some good ones to offer as well. Of course, if you don’t make it to the State Liquor store (or the breweries themselves) you are stuck with the normal 4% ABV “Utah Beer” swill we are famous for.
We have all excepted our secondary beer status and made the best of it, and you know what? It ain’t all that bad! The difference between a Bud Light here and in other states is pretty nominal, about 1% ABV, and even then it tastes like crap… If you know a few tricks, memorize a bunch of different liquor store hours and plan for Sundays, you can still drink like a ‘Rado without having to commute like one.
So, here are some of our favorite brews made here in The Beehive State to get you started with –
In general Epic Brewing has really been holding it down for our state’s beer reputation; their kind of our saving grace. They were recently on the top ten list for best microbreweries in the country; making big moves with their Elevated and Exponential series beers. Some highlights include a Sour Apple Saison – fresh farmhouse style ale with a perfect funkiness to it, the Big Bad Baptist – a stout with cacao nibs and coffee, aged in whiskey barrels and their powerful Brainless Belgium line with the classic boozy punch of a good Belgian Strong Ale. Furthermore, with the opening of there brewpub, The Annex, in Sugar House you have an alternative to the State run liquor stores where you can purchased full strength beer, cold and even on a Sunday!
One of our personal favorites is Epic’s Escape To Colorado IPA. It’s an amazing beer in the classic IPA variety. Lately it seems like a “make your beer hoppy arms race”, but this brew is just right. Tasty, strong, flavorful, and its now available in a can for your recreating pleasure.
My personal favorite, I wish it was available at more bars around town. According to Wasatch Beer legend: “Ghost-rider roams Utah’s Wasatch Range seeking revenge: “someone” lost his White IPA recipe. Smooth and crisp, it’s made from pale barley and citrusy hops. It’s too good to hide!”
This may be the strongest beer in SLC, and certainly the heavy-hitter in our lineup. It weighs in at 11.1% ABV and packs a hell of a punch in terms of bitterness as well. For those of you who don’t know, a barley wine is a style of beer that has a very loose definition, basically it has to have more alcohol then most other brews but lacks the intense grain bill of a stout and the heavy influence of yeast like a Belgian ale might have. Whatever you call it, this beer is amazing! Cork topped and made in small batches, this beer is perfect to split between a friend (or two)!
This is a great new release from Unita Brewing. It’s a 3.2 brew available in grocery stores and gas stations that proves low alcohol doesn’t mean low flavor. It’s smooth, drinkable and refreshing but that’s not even the best part. “(Uinta is) labeling 801 Pilsner as their first in a line of “Community Builder” beers. It will be donating proceeds and generating awareness for local non-profit organizations. Partnering non-profits will alternate and the featured organization’s logo will be incorporated on the 801 packaging. For the initial release of the 801 Pilsner, they have partnered with a company they have been supporting for 20 years, the Utah Avalanche Center (UAC), an organization that Uinta has been supporting for 20 years. The Utah Avalanche Center’s mission is to provide backcountry riders with the tools and information they need to stay on top of the great snow in Utah” (Uintabrewing.com). Talk about a win win. Go support the UAC and give it a try.
Last but not least, as important to us as water, which it basically is, the classic PBR. Unfortunately Utah residents don’t have access to the full strength stuff, but when it comes to PBR we go for quantity not quality. Great tip: when you drive through Wyoming on your way back from skiing the Tetons grab us a 12 pack of the real deal, we’ll be eternally grateful and you’ll get the VIP treatment at the shop!
This post brought to you by Bucharelli X Arredondo, we hope you enjoyed it!