You might not think of Salt Lake City when you think of breweries, but you're about to be pleasantly surprised: The city has a thriving craft beer scene. Whether you like a lighter beer, a full-bodied porter, or a bitter IPA, local breweries have something on tap for you.
Note that Utah’s laws limiting the percentage of alcohol in beer have relaxed, as you can find beer above 3.2 percent ABV these days. In fact, beer can be up to 5 percent ABV on draft, while those higher than 5 percent must be bottled or canned. You can usually find these at state-run liquor stores, but breweries with stronger beers can serve them on location.
With locations in Sugar House and downtown SLC, Epic Brewing Company prides itself on being the first Utah brewery to serve all high ABV beer. They divide their beers into series. The classic series features the usual types of beer: wheat beer, lager, IPA, amber ale, and pale ale. The elevated series gets a little more creative, while the Exponential Series is where you’ll find barrel-aged beers, saisons, fruit beers, and more. You can enjoy the beers at either location with a food menu that includes meat and cheese boards, salads, a hummus plate, and sandwiches.
If you prefer your beer with a side of history, check out this brewery with an illustrious past. First founded in Salt Lake City in 1884, Fisher Brewing shut down during Prohibition, only to open back up when the constitutional ban on liquor lifted. After being sold to Lucky Lager in the 1950s, it re-opened for the second time 50 years later.
Today, it’s a craft brewery located in the trendy Granary District, where you can enjoy ales and lagers in the taproom alongside food from local food trucks. Leashed dogs are welcome on the side patio.
Since 1993, Uinta Brewing Company has been a staple of the local craft brewery scene. Set in an industrial-chic space, Uinta offers a little bit of everything, from your usual IPAs, pale ales, and hefeweizen to some truly interesting fruit IPAs. Uinta also likes to get into the spirit of the holidays, serving up pumpkin ale and German-style Helles in the fall and dark ales and winter lagers in the winter. The bar food doesn’t disappoint, either. Be sure to try the nachos with beer cheese or the sweet potato tots.
If you want a delicious dinner with an excellent beer to go with it, then this is the place for you. Founded in 1994 in an old dairy warehouse, Red Rock is both a brewery and a restaurant, featuring an expansive menu with appetizers, soups, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, and entrées galore.
Because it is a restaurant, the beers served here don’t top 4 percent ABV, but don’t let that turn you off—Red Rock enjoys the creativity behind crafting fully flavored brews. Bonus: It’s located near just about everything in downtown Salt Lake City, which makes it a nice spot for lunch or dinner after you’ve been out seeing the sights. There’s even brunch on weekends!
Featuring log cabin walls and antler chandeliers, this rustic brewery offers beer deriving from European lager recipes brought over from Czechoslovakia. Here, you’ll find lager, pilsner, and hefeweizen, as well as more unique choices like German schwartzbier and Bavarian weissbier.
Bohemian Brewing happens to be a great place for a bite to eat, too. They offer a nice mix of quality pub food and Old World European fare, with a menu featuring everything from potato pancakes and pierogi to pizzas and sandwiches. Don’t miss the truly giant pretzel ("giant" as in you might not need a meal to go with it).
With a colorful, mural-decorated exterior, Squatters is a comfortable place to relax with a beer in hand. It's also one of the older brew pubs in town, having been around since 1989. Since the two owners have been doing this a long time, they know what the public wants and needs, whether that’s an easy-to-drink American lager or a thick, dark stout.
The food menu includes plenty of traditional favorites, in addition to vegan and gluten-free options and more interesting items like bacon-topped meatloaf. And if you miss Squatters while you’re in town, you have one more chance to try it out at the airport.
Opened in 1986 as the first brewery in all of Utah, Wasatch Brewing later became the state's first brew pub when owner Greg Schirf approached state legislature to make brew pubs legal in Utah.
Whether you go to the original location in Park City or the newer locale in Sugar House, here you can enjoy some tasty brews as well as a full menu. Visit for lunch, dinner, or a late night meal Monday through Friday (brunch is added into the mix on weekends). Beers of note include the Apricot Hefeweizen and the Polygamy Porter for something dark and chocolatey.
Trendy and modern, T.F. Brewing Company serves up some of the best German beers outside of Germany, as well as a good selection of whiskey and wine for the non-beer lovers in your group. Try something unique like the Pomegranate and Blackberry Berliner Weisse, or their award winning Ethereal Leichte Weisse. You can also get some truly bold beers in cans to-go, like the 11.5 percent ABV Delmar Imperial Stout or 12 percent ABV Jesse Delmar Barrel Aged Imperial Stout.
Proper Brewing can get a bit crowded on peak nights, but the beer and fun atmosphere are worth it if you don’t mind a crowd. The pub's large-screen TVs and projector are usually tuned to the latest Real Salt Lake or Utes games, which you can watch while playing a round of pool, foosball, shuffleboard, or skee ball. Grab some food next door at Proper Burger Co. and bring it on over (but leave soda or milkshakes at the restaurant as those can’t come into a brew pub).