Few things inspire me more than an afternoon beer with friends I truly love and the Beerhive in Salt Lake City offers the perfect room for such imbibing. I’m no lush, but 3pm is certainly not too early for a pint or two, especially on a Friday, especially if they serve Desert Edge’s UPA on tap. Especially.Several factors go into a good experience. First, if the company sucks, the beer follows closely. No matter if it’s Chimay Grande Reserve, Traquair House or Jacobite, Desert Edge’s entire beer menu, Odell’s 90 Schilling or Stone’s Arrogant Bastard Ale, a poor conversation wastes good beer. Second? Atmosphere. I want a place that’s clean but well inhabited, knowledgeable and slightly snobby about their selection. The Beerhive is all of these. Their liquor selection intrigues, but their beer menu warrants experimentation and perhaps a second visit.
Gather Nate, Nick and Mike around a table of pint glasses and prepare for exaggeration, a touch of vulagarity and April Fool’s jokes in February. The kind waitress raised her voice to match the volume of ours and graciously kept our glasses full as we went on about our fish stories. Beer is merely the engine that drives our conversation this particular afternoon, but we’re inclined to talk about the dark corners of our hearts even outside the familiarity of a good pub, because we are in a bible study together also.
It’s a shame that religious culture now condemns the drink that once blessed it. I know my friends and I certainly connect well over a few drinks around a wood table in the corner of the room. Through the course of the afternoon we talk about our marriages, our jobs, our frustrations and wants. The beer slightly loosens our pride to tell of our inadequacies and longings. But regardless of the conversation, we stand confident in our friendship and find fulfillment by simply sitting together over a beer.
The Beerhive offers a uniqueness only known in the elitist beer culture of Portland: the bar’s frozen ice strip. A stretch of ice extending the length of the bar cools your drink and reminds you of the beer’s value. Yeah, some cultures look down on the refrigerated beer. But that’s not my culture. I love my beer, no matter that variety, slightly chilled. I’ve never seen anything like the Beerhive’s bar. They tell me that Portland’s Henry Weinhard’s Tavern is the only other bar with such digs. I feel like a beer at the Beerhive is more of an honor than debauchery.
I think we’ll go back once a month, at least, to chat and try new beers and old favorites. Regardless, the Beerhive is reviving the lost art of good drink in a fine room.
written by Josh Rosenthal, husband of SLCfoodie and local beer connoisseur.
Beer Hive Pub
128 South Main Street