Farmington • Lagoon Amusement Park’s newest attraction isn’t a ride that spins, twirls or sends thrill-seekers upside down.
It’s a Bavarian village that serves beer, something that hasn’t been offered on the midway for more than four decades.
Lagoon’s Biergarten Restaurants — with long wooden tables, rock accents and even a smaller version of the famous Hague Fountain in the Netherlands — has opened.
It serves 20 various beers on tap, along with German-inspired food and American classics.
“The response has been really positive,” Lagoon spokesman Adam Leishman said Thursday during a ribbon-cutting event for business leaders and media members. “We have some regulars already.”
Lagoon has never been completely dry, said Leishman. The campground has always sold beer to patrons, and it has been available for special events in the picnic area.
News articles from 1886, when Lagoon first opened, mention the presence of a tavern. Although, it was closed during the temperance movement of the early 1900s, by Simon Bamberger, the park’s founder and Utah’s fourth governor. An avid proponent of Prohibition, the Democrat and member of the Jewish faith, shuttered the saloon, even though it was likely at a personal financial loss.
It’s unclear when beer returned. But it was flowing in the 1970s, when the tavern near the grandstands became a natural hangout for the famous musical acts that performed there, including the Everly Brothers, Nat King Cole and Peter Paul and Mary.
The latest return of beer on Lagoon’s midway is welcome in this conservative Davis County community.
“We’ve been excited about this for a long time,” said Angie Osguthorpe, president of the Davis County Chamber of Commerce. “We know Lagoon as an amusement park, but you walk through the beer garden and it’s like walking into Europe. It’s a little bit more sophisticated.”
Lagoon has a diverse customer base that comes from across the state, country and globe, said Julie Freed, Lagoon’s director of special events and part of the Freed family that owns the resort. “We wanted something for everybody that comes to Lagoon.”
Here are a few other things you need to know about the Biergarten Restaurants:
Where is it? South of the wooden roller coaster and across from the carousel, where the old Music U.S.A. stage used to be. It took about two years to complete.
Are children allowed? Yes, it’s a restaurant, not a bar.
What type of beer is available? There are 20 beers available on tap, all are 4 percent alcohol by volume (that’s 3.2 beer by weight). It will go up to 5 percent ABV next season after Utah’s new beer law kicks in Nov. 1. Most of the brews are produced in Utah by Bonneville, Bohemian, Squatters, Uinta and Wasatch breweries. A 16-ounce glass is $8; 20-ounce pint is $10 and is served in a plastic souvenir cup.
Is there something special? The Lagoon-A-Bier is a pilsner made especially for the Biergarten by Uinta Brewing.
What kind of food is available? The fast-casual menu includes German-inspired favorites like beer-battered fish and chips, pork schnitzel, bratwurst and a Bavarian pretzel. Sandwiches, salads and hamburgers also are available. Prices range from $8 to $13. There also are to-go items.
Do I have to order food to get a beer? No. The Biergarten has a recreational beer license from the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which allows it to serve beer without food, similar to a bowling alley or golf course.
Can I take my beer onto the midway? No. Patrons must stay within the gated area. But there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, many spots shaded by trees or under a covered pavilion, in which to enjoy your beer.
When does it open? The Biergarten Restaurants are open whenever the park is, Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Beer service stops one hour before closing.