March 21, 2008
Definitely an enjoyable trip. I’ve only been to SLC once previously, and that was at 6 AM one December day in 2000 driving through on a cross-country trip. Having driven through from the Midwest at the time, I was struck by the fact that it was my first real experience driving through the Rockies, and it was rather nice to see a city surrounded by snow-capped peaks. My return trip did not disappoint:
From my experience driving around, it appears to be a very interesting city. Visually it’s quite beautiful, and it seems like a city in a state of transition. It’s apparent that there are some older, poor sections of the city, but that business is moving in and salaries are increasing. Excepting the whole 4% beer thing (which is only true of bars/restaurants, the state-owned liquor stores can sell higher), it sounds like a very nice place to live. But, with the beer restrictions, I think I’d be headed to Denver instead!
We did end up making it out to a brewpub called Hoppers:
I had 4 beers (easy to do when they’re so weak). Three of them were fairly good. I had a pilsner, a hefeweizen, and a stout, all of which were good representations of the style, and cleanly-brewed. I also had a pale ale, which failed to impress. I am not even sure I can put my finger on what was wrong with it, but my coworker also found it lacking. I think there may have been too much of a Munich malt bill, and not enough Crystal malt, which is more typical of a pale. Added to that, it seemed to have enough bittering hops, but was lacking hop flavor/aroma. Either way, I was impressed. It just goes to show that you don’t need to make beers strong to make them tasty. I’ve had badly-brewed strong beers in brewpubs, and if I had a choice between a badly-brewed 6% ale and a well-brewed 4% ale, I’ll take the 4%.
The strangest thing I saw, though, was in the airport on my way back. Dressed as a business traveler, carrying only a boarding pass and a laptop, the lady at the security checkpoint directed me to the “Expert Lane”. I was in so much shock that I didn’t think to take a picture of it. SLC’s airport actually has a sign and screeners devoted to an expert security lane, for frequent travelers. This is very useful for me, as I regularly scan the people in front of me in line at the airport, to ensure I’m not behind any families or anyone who looks like a tourist or infrequent traveler. Those of us who spend a lot of time in airports are able to quickly get all of our bags / metal items / laptop / shoes / etc organized and through the x-ray rather quickly. Those who don’t know the rules or don’t do it often can slow the line down immensely. It appears that at least one airport understands this, and is trying to help out those of us that know our way around.
It’s nice to be home… Of course, the situation in PA hasn’t sufficiently improved, so I may be flying back there on Monday… Then coming back home Tuesday evening, only to fly out to Phoenix for Wed/Thurs… I think I’m going to have to use all my frequent-flyer miles and hotel points to take my wife somewhere nice, and soon!
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