Always brewing up adventure, Southern Utah has a craft beer with your name on it
By Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin
The Southern Utah getaway weekend has long been a way to survive the dark, cold, inversion-filled winter months along the Wasatch Front. It’s a relatively easy drive south on Interstate 15 to bask in the sunshine while surrounded by the beautiful settings of national and state parks.
This winter, there’s another reason to head south when it snows—craft beer. In 2018, craft breweries opened in Cedar City, St. George and just over the border in Colorado City, Ariz. This new trio, coupled with the well-established Zion Brewery, can be added to the list of reasons to make the drive into the sunshine when you’ve had enough of the snow.
Head south on I-15 for 250 miles until you reach Cedar City. Your first stop is Policy Kings Brewery (223 N. 100 West, Cedar City, PolicyKingsBrewery.com) where Deandre and Sara Ridgel operate their mom-and-pop brewery. Stop in to try their Pale Ale or Midnight IPA, or whatever else might happen to be on tap since it’s a small brewery with regular changes to its offerings.
Opened in late 2018, Policy Kings also has a bar license, but it feels like a coffee shop that happens to serve beer. It’s light and airy and has free Wi-Fi. At this point, they don’t serve food, but local food trucks are often found parked outside, and you’re welcome to bring food in or have it delivered.
If you decide to eat elsewhere, check out Centro Woodfired Pizzeria (50 W. Center St., Cedar City, 435-867-8123, CentroPizzeria.com), a Cedar City staple since opening in 2012. Try a classic Margherita or the Dolce Diavola, which combines the spicy tastes of calabrese and hot cherry peppers with the sweetness of whipped ricotta and honey, proving their pies are every bit as inspired as they are tasty. Save room for a dessert of Nutella Piegato. All you need to know is that it’s pizza dough filled with Nutella which is then cooked over a wood fire.
Spend the night at Big Yellow Inn Bed and Breakfast (234 S. 300 West, Cedar City, 435-586-0960, BigYellowInn.com), where each of the dozen rooms features full baths, TVs and Wi-Fi. Some even have jacuzzi tubs.
To start the day, the Big Yellow Inn serves up full breakfasts including eye-openers such as bacon, cheese frittata, waffles and apple crisps.
Keep heading south to enjoy a day at Snow Canyon State Park (1002 Snow Canyon Drive, Ivins, 435-628-2255, StateParks.Utah.gov/parks/snow-canyon).
There are two ways to get there: One way is to travel south on I-15, exit in St. George at St. George Boulevard and work your way through town to head north on State Route 18 to Ivins. This trip takes about an hour. The other way is to head west out of Cedar City on State Route 56 until you arrive at Beryl Junction. Take a left and head south on State Route 18 through the towns of Enterprise and Veyo. This route takes an hour and 20 minutes.
Whichever way you go, the desert landscape of Snow Canyon State Park, with its sand dunes, lava beds and red sandstone, makes a great place to explore during the winter months whether by bike or on foot.
After a day of adventure in the park, St. George’s entry onto the craft brew scene is Silver Reef Brewing (StGeorgeBev.com, facebook.com/drinksilverreef), which opened in 2018. Their brews include the Agua Del Diablo Mexican-style lager and Color Country Red Ale, which contains notes of berry, banana and plum.
Silver Reef products are available in cans in stores and on draft in bars in northern and Southern Utah, but they do not have their own pub or bar. Look for Silver Reef brews to be on the taps at the St. George location of ’Bout Time Pub & Grub (929 W. Sunset Blvd., St. George, 435-673-3607, BoutTimePub.com). Pair a Silver Reef brew with plates of shared appetizers such as Philly Cheesesteak egg rolls or deep-fried, bacon-wrapped olives.
If you enjoyed the views earlier in the day at Snow Canyon State Park, consider taking them in at sunrise or sunset when you are staying just outside the park at Red Mountain Resort (1275 Red Mountain Circle, Ivins, 435-673-4905, RedMountainResort.com). Check into a room with a view, and consider booking a treatment at their well-known spa.
Before leaving Red Mountain, check out their on-site Canyon Breeze Restaurant, where you’ll find mesquite flour pancakes topped with prickly-pear syrup for breakfast.
Today, you’ll be leaving the area of Snow Canyon State Park west of St. George and heading over to Sand Hollow State Park (3351 Sand Hollow Road, Hurricane, 435-680-0715, StateParks.Utah.gov/parks/sand-hollow).
Return to St. George and take I-15 heading north. In about seven miles, take Exit 16 to access State Route 9, heading east. Continue on SR-9 toward Hurricane before taking a right on Sand Hollow Road. Drive south four miles to arrive at Sand Hollow State Park. The entire 25-mile drive takes about 35 minutes.
This 20,000-acre park opened in 2003. More than 1,000 of those acres are covered by the waters of the Sand Hollow Reservoir, which offers year-round recreation. The 15,000 acres of red sand dunes are also a popular destination for off-road enthusiasts.
After a day of sun, sand and placid waters, your next stop on the craft beer tour is in Colorado City, Ariz. Yes, that Colorado City. No, seriously.
Leave Sand Hollow and head back north to SR-9, traveling east through the town of Hurricane. On the east side of Hurricane, you’ll pick up State Route 59 and head southeast until you arrive at the Arizona border and Colorado City. The 35-mile drive takes about 40 minutes.
Technically, Edge of the World Brewery (70 N. Central St., Colorado City, Ariz., 928-875-8710, EdgeOfTheWorld.bar) isn’t a Southern Utah brewery, because it’s located on the Arizona side of the border across from Hildale. But, as long as you’re in this unique border town, you may as well check it out.
Edge of the World opened in 2018 and is known for beers such as its Raspberry Porter and a Petrified Porter. If you have a hard time picking just one, order a flight. The brewery also features a restaurant that serves sandwiches, salads and pizzas, including a Four Corners-version that features two slices each of four different types of pizza.
If the weather allows, consider spending the night under the stars (sort of) when you drive a couple of miles back across the border to Colorado City’s twin town of Hildale. Zion Luxury Camping (North Cottonwood Street West, Hildale, Utah, 435-363-9553, ZionLuxuryCamping.com) offers 1,000-square-foot “glamping” spots with a BBQ grill, fire pit and table. Inside the tents, you’ll find a king-size bed with fresh sheets along with a shower and towels.
Head back over the Arizona border to Berry Knoll Bakery (80 N. Central St., Colorado City, 928-875-8686, BerryKnollBakery.com), which happens to be next door to the brewery you tried last night. Consider ordering the frosted cinnamon roll topped with chocolate chips, which pairs nicely with a Narrows specialty coffee with flavors of caramel, hazelnut, sea salt and white chocolate.
Today, you’ll head over to Zion National Park (NPS.gov/zion) via State Route 59, which connects with SR-9 in Hurricane—an hourlong trip that takes you to the west entrance of the park. Another way to access the park is by heading east through Kanab and entering from the eastern side. Either way, winter is a great time to visit Zion because both the temperatures and crowds are moderate.
Whatever amount of time you end up spending in the park, save an hour or two to stop by Zion Canyon Brew Pub (95 Zion Park Blvd., Springdale, 435-772-0336, ZionBrewery.com), located outside the western entrance of the park, where you can enjoy the handcrafted beers of Zion Brewery.
As Southern Utah’s first microbrewery (established in 2006), the brewery’s offerings range from a sour Foray Pomegranate to a fruity Zion Pale Ale or the Coffee Conviction Stout nitro. You can also experience their beers cooked into many of the brew pub’s dishes. The Conviction stout is used in the signature Stout Stew, while the British favorite—bangers and mash—has brats soaked in Zion’s Jamaican Lager.
After a beer-enriched lunch or dinner on the beer garden patio, be sure to have designated driver for the return trip home to Salt Lake City.