Many of us have heard someone mockingly say “I remember my first beer”. What follows is the recollection of an inebriated twenty-something being savagely tossed something cheap while binging during “spring break” -- even if it's snowing.
Every time I hear this comment, I’m forced to reflect on my first experience with beer, though the details of that milestone are fuzzy at best. From what I can recall, it started with my friend convincing his too-cool older sister to buy beer for us while their mom and dad were on a spontaneous getaway (dad became a little too flirtatious with another gal at Donkey Tails two nights prior. Typical dad). Knowing what a sixteen year old dishwasher at a pizza joint can rake in on a paycheck, it's safe to assume the holy gauntlet of beer that night was probably a delicious (?) Coors. I’d never purposefully sought out beer at that time. To me, beer was reserved for men in wife beaters watching Judge Judy on a Tuesday afternoon in the ole recliner, covered in Cheeto dust and beef jerky. Unsurprisingly, that can of Coors didn’t change that perception of beer in the slightest. I was already a fat sixteen year old who thought that those bubbles would go straight to my hips anyway. After tasting what I thought was carbonated piss, I foolishly decided it wasn't my thing. I continued carrying this flawed belief with me until I found out that there was more to this world than shitty American lagers.
My ex-girlfriend’s hip father introduced me to a local beer called Kings Peak Porter by Uinta and it blew my mind -- I had no idea such a thing existed. Being the generous man my ex-girlfriend’s father was, he had provided two six packs and we got good and drunk. This, of course, led to some awkward conversations about his daughter's intimacy with me. Protective-tipsy-father conversations aside, I consider that Porter to be my first beer – definitely not the Coors. All of this waxing nostalgic about my first beer does have a point, though.
A new bar that I’m associated with opened its doors last Monday and it’ll leave you with a brand new perception and appreciation for beer. Beer Bar (If you haven't been there yet, the title really is that simple) is the newest addition to Salt Lake City's busting-at-the-seams bar scene. Beer Bar boasts an incredible selection of thirty local 4.0 draft beers and a whopping one hundred and thirty-plus carefully selected bottled beers from breweries such as Ninkasi, 10 Barrel, HUB, and New Belgium. You heard right -- these crazy bastards brought Ninkasi to the state of Utah. As you scarf down your chimichurri garnished kielbasa, you'll notice that every style of beer that’s poured at Beer Bar is stored and served at that style’s specific temperature with that style's specific glassware.
Do you know what a stange glass is? Do you know what style of beer goes in it? Not to worry -- the entire staff of beer bar knows -- they'll tell you all about it and never shut up. Those beer nerds were buried under study packets and weren't allowed to pour a beer until they earned their ‘Beer Server’ certificate under the Cicerone Program. I’m serious: they know their shit. Kyle Trammell -- Utah's only certified Cicerone brewer formerly for The Bohemian and Red Rock brewery -- sees to that the staff upholds to the Cicerone standards for beer. Watching that man talk about beer is strangely intoxicating, but don't tell him I said that -- I want him to think I'm cool. Behind the scenes are the yin and yang owners (It’s a compliment, please don’t fire me?) of Bar X, Duncan Burrell and Richard Noel. I've never had such an incredible duo to work for and am continuously humbled by their work ethic, creativity, and vision.
I'm gushing with pride for the night-and-day mash-up of Bar X and Beer Bar, but don't let my bias get in the way. If I didn't think Beer Bar was one-of-a-kind incredible, I would’ve stuck to my stubborn cocktail ways for this article and never made a peep about Beer Bar. Bar X opened its doors 3 years ago and revolutionized cocktails and bars in Salt Lake. Beer Bar is here to accomplish that same mission with beer – and again, bars. When you go in to Beer Bar -- whether it’s with your barely legal “spring break” binging friend or with your girlfriend's father -- remember, your first beer isn't always the best one, especially if it was a Coors. Take some tips from the staff and let them show you a thing or two. It's rare to be able to experience a first time more than once, but that's exactly what you'll get at Beer Bar – a Coors do-over.