26 June 2008

Squatter's Pub

Airports are typically a gallery of fast food outlets and crappy sit-down establishments that feature more fat than flavor. Salt Lake City escapes this trap by offering fare from places like Squatter's, a Utah brew pub with tons of vegetarian and vegan options that are more than a cut above the slop that dots most airport landscapes.

Utah, the Mecca of Mormonism, loosened up it's stringent alcohol laws when the Olympics came to town, allowing places like Squatter's to thrive (or at least to convince outsiders that Utah isn't a complete killjoy). Add the extra bonus of voluminous veggie vittles and I'm in like Flynn.

The menu features vegetarian and vegan labeling, a practice that I always endorse. They make a number of items with a seasoned tofu scramble, a vegan version of scrambled eggs. I ordered the veggie wrap, which was made with the tofu scramble and an assortment of vegetables including lettuce, tomato, cucumber, black olive, red and yellow pepper and red onion inside a whole wheat tortilla. It was served with crispy potato chips fried in peanut oil. Squatter's also has a fairly tasty looking veggie burger in addition to a number of other items for vegetarians of all makes and models.

The beer is also cleverly marketed and named. The showstopper is the chocolatey Polygamy Porter, a rich, complex brew with a deep brown hue and infinite layers of flavor. Some other beer options include an oatmeal stout, a pilsner, a golden ale, a hefeweizen and pale ales of all shapes and sizes. There are also seasonal options, which included the Harvest Amber, a nitrogenated ale with a beautifully creamy mouthfeel.

The other bonus for Squatter's is their eco-friendly business plan which includes use of renewable energy in addition to efforts to conserve water and reduce waste. You can eat dinner, drink beer and not feel guilty enjoying yourself. Squatter's is recognized as a Salt Lake City Green Business.

I flew into Utah expecting prohibition and mundanity, but instead I found solidly constructed brews and a variety of vegetarian eats. I think I just might convert to Mormonism just so I can drink more Polygamy Porter. I hope Joseph Smith and Brigham Young won't keep me out of heaven for that.


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