The Best Utah Beers for Taking Outside
Summertime in Utah means it’s time to swap skis for bikes, snowshoes for hiking boots, and puffy coats for t-shirts. But no matter the season, Utah beers and ciders are always in style. Utah brewers are pros at crafting beverages that are full of flavor without maxing out the alcohol, meaning you can enjoy (almost) guilt-free with your favorite outdoor activities.
It might be tempting to grab your old standby lager the next time you head outside, but if you’re looking for a new way to complement your adventures, here are a few local suggestions:
HIKING + MOAB BREWING
Let’s face it: there aren’t many flat trails in the Wasatch Mountains. Because when you skimp on elevation, you skimp on views. You’ve got to bring it to conquer our hikes, and you don’t want any extra weight holding you back. Fortunately, canned craft beer is all the rage, and Utah beers and breweries have fully embraced the movement. Moab Brewing is an old standby for legions of thrillseekers, and most of their offerings come in cans.
When you’re tackling a tough trail like Mount Aire in Millcreek Canyon, you’ll appreciate the extra four ounces in Moab’s standard tallboy can. An especially good choice is the Red Rye IPA, which packs in Chinook, Columbus, Centennial, and Simcoe hops balanced by a malty backbone. The result is a beer with a nice bite that’s not overly bitter, and supremely flavorful at 4% ABV.
Grab a chilled can from the fridge and stick it in your pack right before you head out, then enjoy at the summit to maximize your mountaineering experience.
KAYAKING + SQUATTERS BEER
Utah’s hot summers offer plenty of opportunities to find your liquid oasis. For great views, solitude, and more lakes than you can shake a stick at, the Uintas beckon. Drive an hour and a half from the city and choose your own lake-venture with your trusty watercraft.
Kayaks are especially nice for cruising the calm alpine waters, and are a bit easier to transport into the backcountry than traditional canoes. But let’s face it—all that paddling works up a thirst.
When the sun’s beating down, a lighter beverage hits the spot. Squatters makes a delicious variety of wheat ale, a kristallweizen, for the summer months. A kristallweizen is very similar in flavor to the more popular hefeweizen, with malty sweetness, notes of banana and clove, and a clean finish. But it’s filtered for a crystal clear appearance, much like the crystal waters of your favorite lake in the Uintas. Squatters Live & Let Live Kristallweizen may be one of your new favorite Utah beers for summer. Why? It tastes great while paddling around in a kayak, and at 4% ABV, you can throw a couple in the boat.
MOUNTAIN BIKING + UINTA BREWING
It’s one of the most popular summer activities along the Wasatch Front, with good reason. The same slopes that offer world-class skiing in the winter transform into miles of mountain biking trails once the snow melts. Although Park City might be the best summer biking destination in the state, Salt Lake City offers a solid trail network just a few minutes from downtown proper.
The Bonneville Shoreline Trail offers miles of dirt and outstanding views in the city’s foothills. Almost all of it is bikeable, but the most popular stretch lies between City Creek Canyon and the zoo. It’s a little over six miles round-trip, and while it’s not overly technical, you’re guaranteed to work up a thirst. Uinta Brewing is no stranger to the canned beer market, and the brewery’s canned options continue to multiply.
Tangerine Hop Nosh is a new seasonal for those who love IPAs, and for those who never knew they did. Uinta took their popular Utah beer, Hop Nosh IPA and added real tangerine juice, which gives the beer a pleasant juicy-tart character that’s unbeatable after churning up and down the BST. Put a can in your bike pack for a mid-ride refreshment, or leave one in your vehicle for a post-ride tailgate.
HAMMOCKING + MOUNTAIN WEST CIDER
Ultimately, summer calls for relaxation. And after all that activity, a little downtime makes a big difference. You want to feel the warm breeze and the sun on your face and stay off your feet, so out comes the hammock for a little chill session. Travel hammocks take the art of relaxation to a whole new level, since they pack down for almost any adventure or camping trip that you’re planning.
Once you’ve found the perfect spot and set up, consider a nice beverage to complement the bliss of doing nothing. Mountain West Cider is a recent addition to the craft beverage scene in Salt Lake City, and their gluten-free ciders hit the spot after a long day of play. 7 Mile is light and slightly floral, with green apple flavors and a nice dry finish. This one comes in a 16.9-ounce bottle, so you’ll want to share with a camp buddy, and savor the adventures of the day together.
Although they seem most at home in swanky bars, cocktails can also complement outdoor escapades. Perfect for the beer-averse, you can pre-mix these drinks and pour in a flask before hitting the road, or bring along the ingredients for a camp cocktail bar. Try High West Double Rye whiskey for a campfire hot toddy, Sugarhouse Distillery Vodka for a simple post-ride vodka tonic, or Beehive Distilling Jack Rabbit Gin for a gin rickey when the weather heats up.