Every evening at 6:30, Antonio Palomares gets out his sword. "Here at the St. Regis," he says to the cocktail crowd assembled on the Fire Deck above a sweeping view of the Wasatch, "We like to welcome the evening with a glass of champagne."

He goes on to tell the story of how Napoleon honored Veuve (Widow) Clicquot's wine by using his sabering to lop off the top.Supposedly this was a compliment to the widow's beauty, but judging from this portrait,

I have to think it was a salute to the joy-power of bubbly wine. Or the Corsican was seeing stars, not just tasting them.

Then Antonio raises a bottle in one hand, the sword in the other, and whoosh! Off with its head. The bottle's head.

Antonio's awesomely good at this; he's in training to top the Guinness World Record of 21 bottles sabered in 20 seconds-he showed us a video of his practice round on his iPhone. (This is sort of a St. Regis thing.)

But Friday night, in honor of St. Regis' monthlong Octoberfest beer celebration, he sabered a bottle of Squatters Hells Keep, made by Utah Brewers Cooperative. and beer instead of champagne was passed among the guests for toasting.

Afterwards at the beer vs. wine dinner in the J&G Grill, each course was paired with a beer from Utah Brewery's selection and a wine from the restaurant's 9000-bottle cellar. Our vote? The High Star carrot salad went best with beer; the Snake River Farms pork belly was a draw between the Tk and the Tk; the duck breast was perfect with the Sonoma pinot noir and the apple confit dessert-though interesting with the hefeweizen, was sublime with the vin de glaciere. Overall, the evening itself was a winner-and a far cry from the hoighty-toighty image many have of this five-star hotel. The dining room was lively with wine and beer drinkers (Utah's godfather of brew, Greg Schirf et ux were there), families with children, people celebrating birthday parties and twenty-something guests. And afterwards, we slept snug as bugs in rugs in our high thread-count sheets. As Alexander, our awesome butler-who used to work at Buckingham Palace-knows.

The St. Regis Octoberfest runs every weekend through October. Don't miss it.