Photography & travel tips from an award-winning photographer, educator & wanderlust

3000 miles, 6 states, 2 thirsty ladies (part 1)

I know what you’re probably thinking: “You went on a roadtrip with your homebrewer and beer loving husband and of course you had to stop by various breweries for “research””

Nope!

My mother turned big 6-0 this year and to celebrate this momentous occasion I’ve been researching and planning for months as to how to celebrate. The idea of a photographically-packed roadtrip was born, making stops in famous places like Salt Lake City, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion NP, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Mountain Valley and everything in between.

Each day was calling for 6-8 hours of driving and of course what else can you do to split up the time and have an interesting place to stop and rest – Breweries! Luckily, my mother is a relatively new convert to the World of Beers and was just as eager as me to visit various drinking holes along our 9 day journey.

So in the order they were visited, here is part 1 of the places that kept us quenched, sane and of course – jolly!

1.Salt Lake City’s Desert Edge Brewery

Located in a very impressive building, this two story beauty is licensed as a bar (not a restaurant). Utah’s drinking laws require either one or the other license, making the patrons order drinks first, food second. Not an inconvenience but the same laws also state that you shouldn’t have more than 2 drinks at any time in front of you (so no samplers of 5+ glasses and such). In addition, those savages in Utah can’t have you driving home with the blood alcohol limit of higher than .05 (are you angry yet?) Lastly, a brewery in Utah has to “water down” their drinks if they want them to be served at convenience stores or grocery stores to 3.2% by weight (4.0% by volume). Cue a sad violin!

But tune in to part 2 of this post to see how our drinking experience in Salt Lake was redeemed and we knew not all was lost while drinking in Utah!

So, back to Desert Valley Brewery and the 6 beers we did get to try (among three people, of course):

  • Happy Valley Hefeweizen – BEST
  • Pub Pils
  • Utah Pale Ale
  • Belgian Enkel
  • Pub’s Hoppy Amber
  • Rye P.A. – BEST

2. Zion Canyon Brewing Company in Springdale, Utah

Driving through Zion, you couldn’t help but marvel and ooh and aah at the various rock formations. Spending minutes inside dark tunnels just to drive past an opening in a mountain that reveals (even if just for a second) the magnificence of Zion Canyon National Park. Well how convenient that a brewery situated itself among the tourist shops, restaurants and rental places, making it a definite lunch spot for many roadtrippers like us.

At $2 tasters we went with:

  • Foray Pomegranate Sour – BEST (fruity and refreshing)
  • Sweet Tart Saison
  • Zion Pale Ale
  • Echo Canyon India Style Session Ale – BEST (flavorful and aromatic)

Searching for closest breweries near our hotel in the Sin City, I couldn’t help but notice one pub RIGHT INSIDE IT. So making the most out of our day’s stay we decided to check it out.

3. Chicago Brewing Company Pub inside Four Queens Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

Good luck getting there, because you might be swayed by all the noise of the gambling machines on the way. The pub is small, dark and intimate, but even at the bar you’re faced with the choice of either drinking your beverage or gambling some more!

We each had:

  • Hardway I.P.A – BEST
  • Sun Down Stout (we’re not Stout drinkers but decided to try and barely finished it…)

Walking the streets of Vegas, we couldn’t help but notice all the crazies, especially those of Freemont Street. They were comparable to those of San Francisco homeless but with more glitter and skin showing. Luckily, towards the end of the street, we came across another Brewery – “Ok, we thought, let’s wash the crazies out of our minds!”

4. Banger Brewing

Enticing the crowds with a large tank placed right outside its front doors, this brewery had some very intriguing beer flavors I’ve seen thus far. We went with a sampler of 4:

  • Watermellon Wheat (2nd favorite)
  • Perfect 10 Pale Ale
  • Jalapeno Hefe – BEST

While I had a lot of curiousity for this Jalapeno concoction, it didn’t deliver in the taste department. On the other hand, my mom loved it and experienced all the spiciness it had to offer.

  • Hibiscus Saison – BEST 

Having only tasted Hibiscus Teas, I really loved the subtlety of this beer and the refreshing summer taste.


5.

Before passing some hail on the way to Grand Canyon, we ventured on to the infamous Route 66, where in Williams Arizona (pop 3700) we stopped for lunch at Kicks on Route 66 restaurant. There, we paired our burgers with a very delicious pint of Tower Station IPA from Mother Road Brewing Company (Flagstaff, Arizona). It was a perfect blend of hoppy beer, very friendly staff and a super delicious Bourbon Cheesecake desert!


So by no means is this a comprehensive report on the breweries visited and their beers devoured. It’s just two chicks on a road trip during the hottest time of the year, while enjoying refreshing beverages along their way. We’re beer enthusiasts, not connoisseurs, in case you couldn’t tell by lack of Porters, Lagers, Barley wine, Bocks and other styles. We like what we like and I write about it! Cheers!

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16 comments

  1. You’re road trips seems like a blast! And with your mom no less! Family trips are the best and to kick it off celebrating her big 6 0 is perfect. You almost had me tempted to go try a beer with that Hibiscus Saison! It sounds delicious. I might have to try and find one here in Seoul somewhere, hopefully. The south west sure is a beauty like no other. Have fun on your continued trip!

  2. I’m not really a drinker (the most my Korean genes can really handle are a few sips of really weak beer before I start to feel sick), but this seems like a great way to organize a road trip if you are. Maybe I should move to Utah? Haha. It seems like the watered down beer and extra rules are written just for someone like me. 😉

  3. Sounds like one heck of a road trip. Congrats to your mom. I wonder if you like the traveling and photography bit more or the beer haha. I wish I could make it out there to try someday. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but after having a bit of soju and beer here I’m ready to experiment. I’ve never had jalapeño beer before…

  4. What a lovely way to celebrate your mom’s birthday! The shots you got of all the beers are superb, as usual 🙂 But beer aside, what were your fave spots? I’m making it a goal to hit up the west coast and see some of the big national parks including zion and the grand canyon when I eventually do return to the States.

    • Part 2 will definitely talk about my favorite brewery while on the trip – EPIC out of Salt Lake City. They have super strong beers 6-9%, they are very delicious, and very inexpensive! My favorite from there is Sour IPA and Cask Aged Raspberry – Yum!

  5. Happy birthday to your Mom, Alla! And what a cool Mom she is doing this brewery tour with you. She’s lucky too to have a skillful daughter in you who can document this with beautiful photos. Cheers!

  6. I enjoy beer too, but you seem to really have a talent for describing the tasting experience vividly. Your description of your journey and your beer stops along the way sounds enticing and I can almost picture being there. Also, I like that you finish by saying, we’re enthusiasts and we like what we like. I find some readers forget that another human wrote the article, complete with personal tastes which may not be considered the reader’s idea of ‘perfection’. Nice job!

    • You’re right, its hard to write about beer and please everyone reading it. I used to dislike beer completely, so doing a tour like this and writing about it is my step towards trying to understand and appreciate this beverage.

  7. Love the title and happy belated 60 to your momma! What a milestone! And I loved that you guys did something of this caliber together! Jalapeno sounds like a fantastic accent to a hoppy brew but I can’t even imagine what hisbiscus tastes like when brewed! I need to conduct a tour like this… but only to cideries since I’m gluten-free!

    • Oh no, gluten-free I hope by choice and not by a medical necessity. They do have gluten-free beer out there, but I doubt it tastes any good. Another cool beverage I find more and more frequently in the States is Kombucha, even at beer pubs and not off the grocery shelf. Have you dabbled in that Izzy?

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