There’s something about autumn’s approach that triggers a thirst. Specifically, the thirst for a frosty beverage in the hills. Parched from a summer under the hot sun, people suddenly unleash their inner lederhosen like we’re on holiday in Bavaria. Fortunately, Utah mountains abide such behavior, playing host to numerous beer-laden festivities at resorts throughout the Beehive State.
The real Oktoberfest, the one over in Munich, starts in the middle of September. We get things started a little earlier around to stay ahead of early autumn snowfall we tend to get at higher elevations as soon as the leaves change color. Check out these Utah mountain beerfests to make the most of late summer weather and enjoy Utah’s resorts in the offseason.
Snowbird: The Original Utah Oktoberfest
Utah was about 160 years late to the whole Oktoberfest thing, but the state’s first Bavarian-style festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year at Snowbird. Starting Saturday, Aug. 13, the festival will take over the resort every weekend from noon until 6 p.m. through Oct. 16.
As is tradition, the beers will be plentiful with more than 50 varieties from German-style originals to homegrown Utah specials from local breweries. Beyond the brews there is plenty to enjoy at Snowbird, including delicious German fare like bratwurst, weisswurst, strudel, spaetzle and more; live polka music in the Oktoberfest Halle and an Alphorn performance atop the Tram at 3:00 p.m. each day.
Parking is $10 per vehicle, but admission is free, and you can bring any prior year’s Oktoberfest mug to reuse so you can get the refill price from the very first sip. Two months of suds are here at Snowbird’s Oktoberfest. More information is available here.
Snowbasin: SnowWiesn Oktoberfest
Further north, Snowbasin is getting in on the German-themed fall festival action themselves with the SnowWiesn Oktoberfest. Every Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. this fall, beginning Sept. 4, there will be a host of festivities for attendees.
Snowbasin is serving up all the classic Bavarian food and beverages you’d expect, along with daily concerts and some unique games and competitions. Of note, the traditional stein holding endurance competition, Masskrugstemmen, will be held at 2:30 each Sunday at the concert stage. A $40 competition entry includes a 24-ounce glass mug with beer, a t-shirt and a coaster. If you’ve already purchased a collectible mug, it’s $30. You can also compete in some Hammerschlagen with your friends by driving nails into large tree stumps, which is free after you sign a waiver.
Of course, there are concerts as well. There’s now a $10 fee to attend a single day concert, or you can purchase a $75 summer concert pass for all of them. Premier season pass holders receive free entry to the summer events. Complete concert schedule and full details are available here.
Deer Valley: Mountain Beer Festival
Okay, this one isn’t explicitly Oktoberfest themed, but Deer Valley is hosting a celebration of local Utah brewing culture in the mountains this summer. On Sept. 17 and 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the inaugural Mountain Beer Festival is taking place at Silver Lake Lodge.
More than a dozen Utah breweries, from pioneering types like Squatters and Uinta to upstarts like Park City’s Offset Bier, will be serving up locally made suds. Musical acts curated by Mountain Town Music will take over the grassy infield alongside a Culinary Corridor featuring a selection of Deer Valley’s famed edible treats.
The venue is only accessible via a chairlift ride, which is included in the purchase price of the ticket. Tickets start at $40 for General Admission and go all the way up to $125 for the Imperial Package, which includes eight taster tokens, a commemorative beer mug and admission to a VIP BBQ tent. They can be purchased online here.