A brew in Utah? you scoff. Think again. Beer’s come a long way in this buttoned-up state, despite many attempts to curb the drinking tendencies of heathens both visiting and local. There may be little separation of church and state in Utah, but those who love a hoppy drink ultimately prevailed. Besides, with the abundance of tourists from across the pond who enjoy tipping back a glass and have no shame about it, it’s to the detriment of merchants’ coffers if a good brew isn’t available. Here are the hippest places to quench your powerful thirst after exploring Zion National Park’s breathtaking natural wonders.
The Bit and Spur Restaurant and Saloon is the locals’ fave and boasts an excellent selection of local brews. Sit on the patio and take in the sunset light while you raise a frosty mug of Provo Girl Pilsner or Squatters Hefeweizen. Rustic as noted in all their literature, the place is just darn cool, as you will find out when you chat up the neighboring table—those crazy big wall climbers (yes, the ones you see dangling hundreds of feet overhead when you look up and up and up the immense cliff walls) and parkies (National Park staff; yep, the friendly rangers) might be willing to tell you tales about their Zion adventures. The Bit and Spur’s food is a pretty sweet complement to the beer, but it ain’t on the cheap side. A big plus is live music, which can be one of the best ways to enjoy your cold one.
Zion Pizza & Noodle features a beer garden that boasts some mighty fine views to enjoy while sipping on your well-deserved draft after a day’s hiking. Try the local Zion Brewing Company for some authentic southern Utah flavor, including their Virgin Stout (named after the Virgin River) and Springdale Amber Ale. Their other Utah brews are Uinta, Squatters, and Wasatch, maker of Polygamy Porter— “Why Just Have One?” as their cheeky tagline proclaims—along with domestics in draft and bottle. Important note: they are CASH ONLY!
Majestic Steakhouse and Saloon sits atop the Zion Brewing Company. While it hasn’t taken off as a brewpub (probably because the food just doesn’t match up to the beer), you are at a brewpub—so drink the beer! And the view seriously is majestic, if you don’t mind a bit of corniness. Actually, there are few places in Zion (technically in Springdale, the gateway town, but you get my drift) that have shabby vistas. Bottoms up while you gaze out at the riot of colors in the rock walls, and toast your fortune to having found southern Utah’s first (and still only) brewpub.
Oscar’s Deli. On a budget? Oscar’s is your place. It’s just a little deli, plain and simple, and it’s so affordable compared to most other places in Springdale that you can eat dinner and drink beer and still leave with a relatively hefty wallet. They have five local brews on tap along with bottled Corona.
Your own campsite, either the South Campground or the Watchman Campground. Can you drink beer around your fire that night? You betcha—no laws broken there. Just take care not to stagger off down a trail, carousing and bellowing drinking songs at the top of your lungs, and you can sip away in peace. The easiest place in town to purchase beer is Sol Foods, but your best bet is to stock up on beer before you arrive in Springdale—say, in Salt Lake City.
Additional notes: Transporting beer within Utah is perfectly legal (as long as it’s not open in your hand while you’re driving, natch). Considering smuggling it across state lines so you don’t have to deal with Utah’s spartan 3.2% alcohol content by weight? Not so fast, pardners—that’s what we call a crime. Can you get regular volume beer in Utah? Yep, at one of the state-run liquor stores (operated by your rather stern Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control department), which are few and far between but do indeed exist. You’ll pay a bit more to indulge your desire for heartier stuff. Remember, you can still get quite a powerful buzz on from the 3.2 stuff, so drink responsibly while you’re having fun.
Want to plan a beer-friendly trip to Zion? Check out Julie’s guide here.