Fall kicks off with Oktoberfest at Snowbasin

(Photo by Tony Post) People line up for a sample from Squatters Brewery at Snowbasin's first Oktoberfest.
(Photo by Tony Post) People line up for a sample from Squatters Brewery at Snowbasin’s first Oktoberfest.

Fall may have officially started a few weeks ago, but on Oct. 5, Snowbasin capped off its summer season with an Oktoberfest-style party.

More than 600 people made their way to the Earl’s Lodge patio for Snowbasin’s first Beerfest. Live music provided by Two and a Half White Guys played from noon until the party ended at 5 p.m.

Instead of guests having to make multiple purchases through the day for beer, Snowbasin used a token system in order to keep the lines short and guests happy. Upon entering the patio, guests could purchase tokens valued at $2 each, which could be redeemed for a 6-ounce beer or two tokens for 12 ounces.

“I’ve been to other events that use tokens for beer, and I really like the way it works,” said Nicki Layton, an Ogden resident. “For me, I never finish an entire beer, so having the option to get six ounces is perfect.”

To keep with the Oktoberfest theme, traditional German food staples like bratwurst and sauerkraut were served alongside warm pretzels dipped in Dijon sauce.

“Snowbasin never seems to fail when it comes to food. We’ve been up here for Blues, Brews and BBQs during the summer, and I’ve never been disappointed,” said Jedd Hunterson, a Hunstville resident. “They know how to pair food and drinks. In the summer it’s barbecue and beer, and now it’s beer and brats. Doesn’t get much better than that.”

Eight local Utah craft brewers showed up for the event, offering up their own Oktoberfest-style beers along with their already famous brews. Brewers in attendance included Bohemian Brewing, Moab Brewing, Sqautters, Uinta Brewing, Red Rock Brewing Company, Unsacred Brewing, Wasatch Brewing and Ogden’s own Roosters Brewing Company.

For the first time in Utah, Uinta Brewing debuted its limited reserve brew Wet N’ Wyld, a new take on its flagship beer Wyld. Uinta explained that using wet hops in the brewing process is the same as using fresh tomatoes out of the garden to make salsa instead of buying canned tomatoes from the grocery store. Instead of using dry hops in the brewing process that were harvested the summer before, Uinta uses fresh “wet” hops to create a different flavor profile in the beer.

Wet N’ Wyld went over well with the Utah crowd, and many kept their cups full with the limited-release beer the entire day.

“It’s probably my new favorite beer. If you don’t like hoppy beer, though, it’s really not for you,” said Rick Bailey, an Eden resident. “I wish it was a year-round thing, but I’m glad I came up to give it a try. I love seeing Utah breweries get creative and competing against the bigger brewers nationwide.”

Keeping with the October theme, Uinta created its own spooky beer blend — the Black-O-Lantern. The blend consisted of half a pour of Uinta’s Baba Black Lager, topped with their seasonal Punk’n Ale.

“I love pumpkin everything,” said Brea Karras, an Ogden resident. “Once fall comes, I can’t get enough. The Black-O-Lantern is delicious. It’s creamy and full of pumpkin, totally perfect for fall.”

Cami Stone, a Weber State University student, came up with her two sons to enjoy the fresh mountain air.

“My husband started his elk hunt today, and we didn’t want to sit home, so we decided to come up and catch the last of the fall leaves,” Stone said. “It’s not a just a drinking event; there is a lot to do for the whole family. My boys love riding the gondola, and you can ride it back down or walk the trail back down the mountain.”

Summer being officially over didn’t stop Utahns from getting one more ride on Snowbasin’s world-class mountain-biking trails.

“We made a day out of it, came up and rode our bikes this morning and ended up here for lunch afterward,” said Melanie Butters, a WSU student. “The environment up here is beautiful. I’m sad to see the biking season come to an end.”