Illustration by Bryan Gomm

While Utah is more famously known as the home of Mormonism, the Sundance Film Festival and Arches National Park, unbeknownst to most outsiders and an appalling number of the state’s residents, Our Lovely Deseret is also the spawning ground of some very delectable brews. And while many a private soiree has been held in flimsy devotion to the consumption of local beer, never has a formal event been planned and thrown in honor of the brave men and women brewing within the borders of this all-too-sober state. That is, until City Weekly decided to hold the first ever Utah Beer Festival.

Occurring Saturday Sept. 11 at the Salt Lake City and County Building, the event showcased the efforts of such prominent Utah breweries as Squatter’s, Uinta, Desert Edge and Crooked. Lagers, ales, pilsners and porters were in abundance – over 40 varieties of locally brewed beer. While some in the crowd seemed at first dismayed by the somewhat diminutive 3 ounce samples, many were more than happy to take their binge drinking one tiny step at a time. Do the math: twenty five dollars for unfettered access to 3 ounce samples of 40 different beverages. Even if one were to only hit up each vendor once, that’s 120 ounces of alcohol swirling pleasantly in your guts.

In addition to brews, the Utah Beer Fest also featured the musical stylings of local psych-rock darlings Spell Talk, who won 2010’s City Weekly Music Award for Best Band. Also featured were The Futurists, the Samuel Smith Band and Wasnatch.

Portions of the proceeds went to Local First, a Utah non-profit organization which protects and preserves locally-owned and independent business in the state. Participators were pleased to know that while they were doing horrible things for their livers, it was partially in the interest of bolstering the local economy.