Thank you for throwing the first Utah Beer Fest [“Beer Me,” Private Eye, Sept. 9, City Weekly]. The city could not ask for a better event to support our local brewers and drinkers. After 20-plus years in this state, I am stoked to finally see changes happening in the local culture that aren’t church-oriented. I do, however, have some complaints/suggestions should you choose to continue to hold this festival next year (which I hope you do).
• Spread it out. One corner to hold all of the brewers is ridiculous. Everyone was jammed so tightly that it was almost pointless to try and get a 3-ounce pour. The lines were so long I had no idea what beer I was getting until I waited 30 minutes to see what was being poured into other attendees’ cups. Get the brewers to advertise their lines better, maybe with large banners. Also, group the brewers into four tents instead of one and space them around festival grounds.
• Priced better, because the $25 in advance (or $35 at the gate) for five hours and the five beers I was lucky enough to get was way too much. Look at other beer festivals and price accordingly—$20 sounds about right. Also, why does it have to stop at 6 p.m.?
• Encourage more people to bike to the festival. Offer a discount if you check your bike in with the Collective.
• Talk to the Salt Lake City Arts Council. My first reaction to this year’s Twilight Concert Series at Pioneer Park was that they were going to be total junk. The council was able to turn it around in one week and figure out a way to make the concerts happen in a way that all attendees were able to enjoy the music instead of large crowds and lines.
My overall impression of the first beer festival is not as good as I was hoping for. I understand that this was the first run at this festival, but it was worse than I expected. I know that there are certain laws/constraints, but I think City Weekly should be smart enough to work them out with the local brewers and deliver a festival like none other in this state. I would like to see a beer festival happen again next year but will closely inspect the festival before paying my way into a mosh pit of pissed-off attendees looking to riot for a 3-ounce pour of beer.
Salt Lake City