ST. GEORGE — The Zion Brewery hosted its first annual beer festival this weekend, one of the first of its kind in Southern Utah.
Zion Brewery hosted the event, which was attended by a total of 11 breweries, three of which are located in Southern Utah.
“With this, we wanted to support smaller breweries like us,” Manager Chris Pace said. “We just wanted the little guys down here, and to support local Utah craft beer. … We wanted the focus to be local.”
In addition to hosting local breweries, the festival music was provided by local bands.
Proceeds from the festival went to the Zion Forever Project, which Pace said was the main focus of the event.
Policy Kings Brewery, the first and only brewery in Cedar City, was one in attendance. They only have three barrels, about six beers on tap at their location, and work to brew unique products. The brewery is also about to celebrate the one year anniversary of their opening.
“It is awesome to see the beer community thriving in Southern Utah, and to be a part of that makes me so happy,” Policy Kings bartender Cade Bentley said. “Because it’s a little tighter community, you have that much more of a family feel, and that much more love for all the brews.”
Silver Reef Brewing Company, the first brewery in St. George, was also serving beer at the festival and are looking forward to opening a beer garden and taproom in the near future.
“We’ve gotten a lot of positive reception from everybody in town and the area,” Director of Operations Michael Key said. “The city, the mayor, everybody is very supportive. People are chomping at the bit for us to open up our pub.”
They are expecting their pub to be open in early 2020.
With Utah state laws changing starting Nov. 1, breweries will be able to serve beer up to 5% ABV, which allows for more flavor in the beer.
“You can make solid beers,” Key said. “Most of our beers will move to 5% that are on tap, except for our lager. It’d be great to be able to make a solid 6.5 to 7% beer and be able to just serve it on draft, but you know, baby steps. We’ll take what we can get.”
Zion Brewery is also looking forward to the rise in alcohol percentages as it gives them some more freedom in brewing.
“It does one thing for all of us in the industry, it opens up more flavor of our beer,” Pace said. “The higher you can go with the alcohol percentages means you can get more ingredients in there to make the beer taste better. We support any raise we can get, five is fine for us. It’s a nice change, and it’s good to see some forward progress for once.”
For a long time, Zion Brewery was the only brewery in Southern Utah, but with the addition of Silver Reef and hopefully more breweries, the Southern Utah craft beer scene is beginning to grow. Zion Brewery is also expanding and has plans to open a second location in an old fire station in downtown St. George.
“We’ve always felt alone down here because we were the first brewery in Southern Utah for so long,” Pace said. “Now Silver Reef is coming, I’ve heard of more coming, and for us to finally get a hold in St. George with our Station 2, it’s going to be great. We can’t wait for that.”
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.