Some might observe that after a few hours at a beer festival, the people in attendance begin to act like animals. So why not hold a beer festival where there are actual animals anyway?
The Brew at the Zoo was back at the Palm Beach Zoo for its third-annual installment this past Saturday. The beer festival is unique among events in South Florida. Patrons sample from a multitude of beers while meandering the zoo grounds, taking in the sights and sounds of monkeys, bears, tapirs, and anteaters, among so many others.
This year, there was a focus on bringing in local talents from the brewing scene, and a majority of the beer onsite was produced in Florida.
"The popularity of Brew at the Zoo allows us to put a special focus on South Florida brews,” said Ron Brooks, events manager for the zoo. “We’re proud to promote sustainability, and the reduced impact on the environment that comes from consuming local products.
“Local breweries don’t drive trucks cross-country to deliver their product,” Brooks continued. “They come from nearby, which leads to a lower carbon footprint.”
Each festivalgoer was handed a map of where to find which brewery; each map also bore the same message of local-oriented sustainability, ultimately ending with the slogan, "Drink beer, save wildlife!"
The beers on display were a lot of our local standouts: Due South Brewing Co., Funky Buddha Brewery, Barrel of Monks Brewing, Native Brewing, Saltwater Brewing.... I could list them all, but I won't.
I noticed long lines for beers from Tequesta Brewing Co. and Twisted Trunk Brewing. Word must be getting out about the awesome beers Matt Webster and Fran Andrewlevich are putting out from their two breweries.
In that same vein, Wynwood Brewing, set up at the entrance plaza, kicked its kegs fast. People were gunning for samples of the award-winning Pop's Porter and La Rubia, its blonde ale.
From beer to food trucks to watching monkeys play, jaguars sprawl lazily, and Floridians get buzzed, Brew at the Zoo is an adults-only event that brings out your inner kid.
Until next year, it's back to the same old boring beer festivals where people are the sole entertainment.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.
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