Where to Find the Best Breweries, Hot Spots and Sights in Salt Lake Cityiainoldman
Brews Less Traveled is a membership club that delivers hand-selected beers from some of the best breweries in lesser-known beer cities across the country. This month we are showcasing Salt Lake City breweries.
Where to Find the Best Breweries, Hot Spots and Sights in Salt Lake City
Long dismissed by beer aficionados as a craft beer desert, Salt Lake City is ready to shed old stereotypes and misgivings visitors may have about its drinking culture. Indeed, Salt Lake City breweries now proudly stand as some of the best (and most established) in the western continental United States—and that is by no accident.
Hard work (and hard lobbying) by Utah’s most ardent craft beer enthusiasts resulted in the state relaxing its famously-restrictive alcohol laws around 2008. The result? Salt Lake City breweries have blossomed in size and ability, joining the craft beer revolution with a bang.
That’s not to say Salt Lake City hasn’t been without a long-established brewing culture. On the contrary, Utah’s first microbrewery opened in the mid-1980s, with more than a handful of breweries following in the next decade.
Salt Lake City is now unquestionably a very appealing destination for traveling beer enthusiasts everywhere. Because of its unique history, proximity to some of the nation’s best ski hills and a thriving counter-culture, Salt Lake City is quickly becoming a must-stop for beer tourists across America.
If you’re interested in an expertly-guided tour of some of the best breweries pouring brews in Salt Lake City, check out City Brew Tours. The brewery tour provides behind-the-scenes tours of local breweries, ample beer tastings, a paired meal or snack and comfortable transportation to whisk you from one place to the next.
There is a lot to take in during your stop in Salt Lake City. To help you get around, we’ve put together a helpful guide—including an interactive map—of some of the best breweries, bites and sights that Salt Lake City has to offer.
BEST BREWERIES IN SALT LAKE CITY
There are dozens of great breweries in Salt Lake City to check out. Here are just a few highlights.
Where to Find Barrel Aged Beer
For the past decade-plus, Epic Brewing Company has developed a reputation for bottling some of the most flavorful beers in Utah. That’s in no small part thanks to the brewery’s focus on its cellaring program, which yields new and innovative barrel-aged beers throughout the year.
Epic Brewing Company every year releases new batches as part of its “Big Bad Baptist” imperial stout series. The collection of stouts features bold variants like a chocolate mint stout and a stout aged in American whisky barrels.
Are stouts not your thing? No worries, as Epic Brewing Company also has a line of sour and wild ales aged with fruits. Look for beers like the Oak and Orchard Strawberry Rhubarb, or an oak-aged sour beer made with Colorado-grown honeydew melons.
Where the Hop Heads Go
Founded by a pair of homebrewing and beer education enthusiasts, visitors can always count on Bewilder Brewing Co. to have a full lineup of diverse beer styles available on tap at any time. From kölsches to ESBs, the brewery usually has something on for everyone.
But Bewilder Brewing Co. really leans into its IPA production, with a half-dozen IPAs of differing styles available year round. The brewery also likes to experiment with its IPAs and has produced interesting brews like a gin-barrel aged American IPA and a Sour Mimosa IPA. This Salt Lake City brewery is churning out IPAs hard to find anywhere else in the country.
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Where to Snag Seasonal Beers
Uinta Brewing first opened in 1994, making it one of the oldest and most established breweries in all of Utah. The brewery which started out in an old mechanic’s garage has since grown into a 5-acre production facility and brews nationally-renowned beers like Hop Nosh IPA and Detour Double IPA.
Relying on three decades of experience, Uinta brews up fantastic seasonal releases. Throughout the year, you can find tropical IPAs, pumpkin ales, winter lagers and even a black lager from Uinta Brewing, both in the taproom and on shelves. Keep your eyes open for Unita Brewing’s “Pro Line” experimental series, which features beers made with unconventional yeasts and experimental hops.
AN AFTERNOON IN SALT LAKE CITY – SUGAR HOUSE
Check out this collection of local hot spots in close proximity so you can eat, drink and see Salt Lake City in one afternoon.
About 10 miles south of downtown Salt Lake City you’ll find the eclectic Sugar House neighborhood. The area is home to chic shopping spots, colorful restaurants and teeming green spaces.
Two of Salt Lake City’s most interesting breweries—SaltFire Brewing Co. and Shades Brewing—can be found just west of Sugar House. We recommend starting or ending your day in Sugar House at these breweries in close proximity to one another.
SaltFire Brewing Co. focuses on small batch brews, so its taproom pours an ever-evolving collection of flavorful stouts, fruited wild ales, fresh IPAs and classic lagers. Grab a fresh pint inside SaltFire Brewing Co.’s expansive taproom or grab something to go from its in-house bottle shop.
Just a block away, Shades Brewing is one of Utah’s most innovative breweries. The brewery has won multiple national beer awards, including a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival for its Kveik 1 Golden Sour Ale. Shades Brewing has taken that Kveik 1 base to make a collection of truly unique beers, like a Thai Tom Kha Golden Sour. Make sure you stop into the taproom to try one of Shades Brewing’s endless supply of limited release brews. Seriously, the tap list at Shades Brewing is so long that it could take you a full month to get through the whole thing.
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After checking out breweries, it’s always a good idea to fill up on some food. Luckily, Sugar House features some of Salt Lake City’s finest dining establishments.
Neighborhood establishment Finn’s Cafe is a staple for breakfast food. The local spot has a menu full of nostalgic diner dishes like eggs benedict and sourdough pancakes, but don’t sleep on Finn’s Cafe’s specialties—its Scandinavian dishes! Try its Scandinavian Breakfast with red trout or the Pyttipanna, a Swedish hash made with beef and poached eggs.
Local brasserie chain Bruges Belgian Bistro has a Sugar House location, and it is a must-stop for any Belgian beer lover. The restaurant’s menu highlights Belgium’s two most famous culinary exports—waffles and frites. Stop in for lunch and enjoy a cone of Belgian frites served alongside a collection of Belgian beers. What’s better than that?
Sugar House is also famous citywide for its vibrant shopping options. The neighborhood still has several offbeat local shops like Raunch Records, a punk-focused record store and skate shop. Swing by Awakening Heart, a unique New Age gift store complete with psychic readings and tarot decks.
Spend the rest of your day in Sugar House by enjoying the neighborhood’s sprawling parks and scenic views. The eponymous Sugar House Park is a popular urban running trail spot and offers unforgettable views of Salt Lake City’s mountain ranges.
For avid golfers, the Forest Dale Golf Course is an historic municipal course right in the heart of the Sugar House community. Forest Dale Golf Course was built in 1906 and is the oldest golf course in all of Utah, and today features a cafe, a short range and 9-holes of challenging greens.
If you’re sticking around the Sugar House neighborhood for its nightlife (and you should), the area has a few fine dining options for a memorable night out. Check out Ekamai Thai for elevated Thai fare like Clam Pad Sha or Yen Ta Foh. Nearby, Kimi’s Chop & Oyster House is an upscale dining room with a seafood bar and tapas perfect for any date night.
Swing by these sites to document your trip to Salt Lake City.
Gilgal Sculpture Garden
The wonderful Gilgal Sculpture Garden is the life’s work of 20th Century Salt Lake City resident Thomas Battersby Child, Jr. He began work on the sculpture garden in 1945 and continued work on it until his death in 1963. Today, the tucked-away garden houses 12 original sculptures and more than 70 engraved stones dedicated to “the unsolved mysteries of life”.
The Gateway stairs
Located in downtown Salt Lake City, the Gateway is a cultural and retail district. The entire district houses murals and museums, but one particular highlight is the collection of colorful staircases sprinkled throughout the Gateway. Visit the Gateway to see how many of the stairs you can find!
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WORTH THE DRIVE – THE AVENUES
An affluent neighborhood in Salt Lake City’s northeastern sector, The Avenues serves as a sort of gateway to the city’s surrounding wilderness. But beyond that, The Avenues is also home to some of Salt Lake City’s most historic and iconic sites.
One of those sites is the Brigham Young Family Cemetery, which houses the burial site of Brigham Young—second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and founder of Salt Lake City. The nearby Brigham Young Historic Park now hosts concerts and other performances in the summer.
You can also find an historic church, Cathedral of the Madeleine, in The Avenues. This cathedral was finished in 1909 and is a splendid feat of architecture, complete with ceiling frescoes and intricate works of stained glass. The cathedral is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and open to public tours.
But The Avenues isn’t entirely just nice houses and historic monuments. The neighborhood has lots of great dining options worth a visit, including Hatch Family Chocolates. The family-owned chocolate shop makes specialty hand-dipped chocolates and crafts its own delectable ice cream in-house.
Check out eateries Cafe Shambala or Cucina for dinner in The Avenues. Cafe Shambala cooks up unique Tibetan dishes which are mostly vegetarian or vegan, providing flavors hard to find anywhere else. Cucina is a two-for-one: a wine bar and a small plate restaurant. The highly-curated menu features dishes like octopus gnocchi and wagyu bavette steak.
Finally, just north of The Avenues you will find a trailhead that will take you straight up to Ensign Peak, a small mountain with gorgeous vistas of Salt Lake City. Famously, Brigham Young climbed up to Ensign Peak to survey Salt Lake City shortly after arriving in the valley. The hike is short, but steep, so come prepared for a workout. Here’s a pro tip: bring a picnic blanket and watch the sunset from Ensign Peak.
Interact with the map below to navigate to every stop mentioned in this article, and have fun exploring Salt Lake City!