Our favorite Salt Lake area breweries and distilleries.
After a steady daily diet of powder, sunshine, and joy on the slopes of the Wasatch, Alta Chalets guests may not realize how many excellent options they have for washing it all down. Despite a history of pious teetotaling that once gave Utah a dry reputation, the state is now home to dozens of fantastic microbreweries and distilleries, about 30 of which are right in the Salt Lake area. (There are even a handful of wineries, the best known of which is Castle Creek, where wine is made with unique desert-grown grapes outside the town of Moab.)
After decades of drawing outdoors enthusiasts from all over the world—as well as a booming tech economy dubbed the Silicon Slopes—the brewery scene in Salt Lake has exploded. Call it counter-culture, or just call it delicious.
Not only can skiers and boarders order local libations for apres, but it would be a shame not to try the flavors inspired by this mountain landscape.
A few of our favorite Salt Lake microbreweries.
While all the local microbreweries offer in-person tastings and drinks, most offer a food menu too, which makes for a fun afternoon or evening out. However, you—or your friendly Alta Chalets staff—can easily pick some up either at the brewery itself (for a full selection) or at one of the local liquor stores (for a decent variety, plus out-of-state options).
While there are over 20 breweries in Salt Lake, here are a handful of our favorites for apres-ski.
Tucked away in an unassuming industrial district south of downtown, Saltfire does one thing: meticulously crafted, esoterically imaginative small-batch beer. You won’t find a fussy upscale tasting room or food menu here: it’s about the art and science of beer, and the bartender can talk for hours about what went into every single one. For apres-ski, we adore the Barrel Aged Imperial Dirty Chai Stout or the high-potency 12 Monkeys IPA. The beer menu constantly rotates, so there’s always something interesting afoot.
Level Crossing Brewing Co
With a laid-back atmosphere and simple, tasty food menu, Level Crossing doesn’t take itself too seriously. It just takes its beer seriously. Beer lovers flock to the brewery’s South Salt Lake taproom for a taste of its award-winning Suss It Out Rye IPA (Resinous! Spicy! Piney!), which is as perfect an end to a ski day as we can imagine. Their In The Pines Hazy Pale Ale perfectly complements a day spent in the woods of the Wasatch—slightly hoppy, bright, and subtly citrusy.
One of Utah’s oldest brewing companies, Uintah has things down to a science—but you should still expect the unexpected. Its brewers concoct playful, interesting flavors and package it up in bottles that give homage to the local mountains. Their year-round and seasonal beer offerings make each new brew feel like a delightful phase of an advent calendar. Classic favorites include the time-tested Cutthroat Pale Ale (winner of a long list of awards), Lime Pilsner, Dubhe Imperial Black IPA, and Baba Black Lager. And if you swoop in at just the right time, you can try a small or seasonal batch like the Yard Sale Winter Lager or Sea Legs Barrel-Aged Baltic Porter.
Fisher Brewing Company
Community-minded Fisher Brewing has a friendly brewery just a few minutes south of downtown, with communal seating on its patio and a different food truck out front every night. Low-key and tasty, Fisher has a handful of fresh brews on tap daily. While their original Fisher Beer is a simple, classic American pilsner, their brewmasters have fun with their White Pale, Hefeweizen, and Coffee Stout. This year, they’re brewing a special Monkey Wrench Gang series of beers in tribute to the book’s renegade crew—with a portion of proceeds going to help save beloved local bookstore Ken Sanders Rare Books.
Grid City Beer Works
A cool new up-and-comer in the Salt Lake beer scene, Grid City is named for Salt Lake’s numbered street system. Their gastropub not only knocks its cuisine out of the park, but its beers are absolutely delightful too. The brewery’s Honey Cream Ale has already won a medal at the Great American Beer Festival, and skiers adore their Hoppy Pilsner as a refreshing way to end a perfect day.
Bewilder Brewing Co
Tucked away on the industrial fringe of downtown Salt Lake, Bewilder Brewing brings Bavarian (and broader European) flavor to the local beer scene. Their roomy, casual brewery space is a relaxing hangout with a communal feel and a long list of beers worth sampling, including a tasty Ginger Bier, a traditional Schwarzbier, and a deeply likable Orange Honey Wheat. Pair it with a house-made bratwurst (with veggie sausage available!) and you have the most satisfying apres-ski meal possible.
Mountain West Cider
Not to be outdone by its beersy compatriots, Mountain West Cider, just north of downtown, crafts exceptional hard ciders named in honor of Utah’s outdoor adventures. Their Cottonwood Dry Hopped Hard Cider packs a medium punch at 6.9% alcohol by volume, with rich apple flavor that isn’t too sweet. Or, if subtle sweetness is your thing, top off your day with a Desolation Prickly Pear Hard Cider, made with prickly pear and melon.
A few must-try distilleries for every palate.
While a few Utah distillers have full-blown tasting rooms or restaurants (such as the famed High West and local favorite Beehive Distilling), you can find most of them at local liquor stores, or by hitting up their headquarters for their full offerings. Among Utah’s current tally of nearly 15 distilleries, we have a few favorites worth highlighting.
Whiskey lovers absolutely must sample High West, with its Campfire Whiskey being a perennial favorite. Newcomers like Sugarhouse Distillery, Black Feather Whiskey, Waterpocket Distillery, and Alpine Distilling are also impressing whiskey enthusiasts. (Alpine Distilling’s award-winning Lafayette Spiced Flavored Whiskey, with hints of cinnamon, apricot, and primrose, is an apres-ski dream.)
Beehive Distilling locally crafts gin and vodka, with its Jack Rabbit Gin being a perennial favorite with notes distinctly reminiscent of Utah’s desert, where the scent of juniper, save, and florals are never far away. Their tasting room, close to Saltfire Brewing, now offers a food menu and cocktail bar, making an in-person visit well worthwhile. (You may even meet their distillery cat, Gimlet.)
And, for anyone interested in the history of old-time Western spirits, Waterpocket Distillery is a must-try. Named for a famous geological feature defining Capitol Reef National Park in Southern Utah, they draw from long-forgotten historic distilling recipes for a true taste of the frontier. Try their Temple of the Moon Gin, a robust, piney, and lemony flavor inspired by a sacred rock formation in Capitol Reef’s Cathedral Valley. Their Snow Angel Kummel is essentially the flavor of winter: caraway, fennel, mint, and caraway. Its sweet simplicity is best enjoyed cold and neat at the end of a ski day.
We’ll take care of it for you–and even grab mixers or apres pairings.
While a fun brewery tour or distillery tour is a great outing during your Alta Chalets stay, you can also have the local flavor delivered to you. Our chefs can even recommend local brews and spirits that would pair beautifully with your apres and dinner fixings, and our staff is happy to pick them up as part of your grocery order or catering order.
If you have a favorite cocktail, we can pick up the supplies as well. As skiers ourselves, we know the feeling of the perfect end-of-day drink. And, like our favorite ski runs, it’s something we love sharing.