A spiritual awakening
This story is found in the summer 2019 edition of Park City Adventure Guide.
In Park City’s mining past, there were dozens of saloons, bars, and speakeasies making sure the miners were well lubricated.
When Prohibition was enacted, though, the streets ran with beer from the barrels that were crushed. The ban also led to a number of backyard breweries, stills, and bathtub gin. The bootlegger legacy is alive once again these days as it’s easier to find alcohol in Utah. In the spirit of self-sufficiency and farm-to-table fare, Park City is a hub for brewers, vintners, and distillers. This is good news for those who enjoy a drink or three after hiking or an evening with friends. Our local liquors surely will see us through. So, after Milwaukee native Greg Schirf moved to Park City, he opened one of Utah’s first craft beer producers in 1986: Wasatch Brewery. Their motto was, “We drink our share, and sell the rest.” The brewery still fills the air with the heady aroma of barley wort at the top of Main Street, giving residents and visitors what they need with tongue-in-cheek names that poke fun at the local culture, like the Polygamy Porter.
Further up the road in Kimball Junction is another hoppin’ outpost. Since 2012, Park City Brewery has been producing their frothy products. The Ray brothers, from Kentucky, wanted to make some local beers too. You can enjoy their Hooker Blonde Ale, Boogie Water Brown Ale, and Breaking Trail Pale Ale at their taproom in Jeremy Ranch; perfect after a bike ride or afternoon run.
Beer’s not the only thing on the menu though. Adding to Park City’s spiritual awakening, David Perkins had a dream in 2007 to create specialty whiskeys in a historic setting. High West was the first legal distillery in Utah since 1870, and it sells about 70,000 nine-liter cases every year of their signature whiskey blends, such as the American Prairie Bourbon, Rendezvous Rye, and Campfire. From their saloon and restaurant in Old Town you can try one or all of these, along with a diverse food menu. You can watch the process and sample the results at the Blue Sky Resort northeast of town, too.
Another offering comes from Alpine Distilling, with their single-malt, barrel-proof whiskeys and liqueurs. Owner Rob Sar- gent is another Kentucky transplant (there’s a theme here), and produces a bourbon with a hint of cinnamon, primrose, and apricot, as well as a black tea, ginger and raspberry liqueur.
So, there’s no reason to despair in Utah. There are plenty of choices, from hearty brews to boutique spirits. You’ll want to try them all. Responsibly, of course.
For more stories from this edition, visit the Adventure Guide special section.
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