The Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society is bringing the party to the animals with its second annual Brew at the Zoo on Saturday, April 12. Last year’s festivities were such a rousing success that the good folks over at the zoo have bolstered this year’s offerings. Twenty-six breweries will be in attendance, serving more than 50 specialty beer samples for guests to imbibe on. This is one of more exciting beer events of the year, with proceeds directly impacting the programing of the zoo, which guests can experience first hand while sipping the night away.
Of the stable of brewers attending this year, eleven hail from Florida, with Palm Beach County newbie, Saltwater Brewery making an appearance for all those who have not yet made it down to their Delray Beach brewery/taproom. On the out-of-town side of things, I’ll be brining the old tasting glass over to Humboldt Brewing Co.—hopefully their brown hemp ale will be on tap—and Peak Organic Brewing Co., whose summer session ale is one of my favorites.
Part of the zoo’s initiative to reach out to community members who may not visit the zoo on a regular basis, Brew at the Zoo has an alterative motive behind the good times: to teach.
“We really want to build up an affinity for crossover with groups,” says Andrew Aiken, president and CEO of the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society. “We want to build on the visitor base beyond the people that would normally come to the zoo so we can explain our mission, which is conservation.”
This event, though fun and entertaining, is also an education opportunity for the zoo staff to impart this mission. The balance between nature and human development has never been so lopsided, appearing more as development versus nature in most corners of the globe. And the world of craft beer could not be more interrelated with nature when you start dissect its makeup. As much as 97 percent of beer is water. If this water is dirty, polluted, contaminated, or just flat-out unavailable, then the beer just won’t be. While much of barley, hops and malt used to make craft beer are grown with sustainable practices, helping ease environmental impacts, the elimination of ecological damage is not absolute.
The zoo’s mission of conservation does not end at the jungle’s edge in Malaysia or the plains of Africa, but rather starts locally and expands worldwide. Events like these make it possible for this mission to enlighten audiences while enjoying a brew. Issues of food production, diminishing fresh water resources and local watershed management may not be on the forefront of most beer drinkers’ minds, but after attending Brew at the Zoo, it might be a little more prevalent. With all proceeds from the event going to help support animal care, conservation, education and sustainability at the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society, attendees will have fun for a good cause.
Now, we have it on good authority that none of the animals will be partaking in the sudsy activities—which means: Don’t try to give them any of your beer—but there will be opportunities to come face-to-face with some of the zoo’s residents. Tasting stations will be strategically placed throughout the zoo, including the fountain circle and the wetlands exhibit.
Local acts Making Faces and Salty Pirates will perform at the Fountain Plaza and Mayan Plaza respectively, while food stations manned Flannigan’s, PDQ, Inika Foods and Top Dog Tiki will serve some carbs for patrons to nosh.
- General admission costs $35, while VIP status comes in at $75. VIP admission includes access to the Tropics Café (the VIP Room), where some premium brews will be on tap, complimentary buffet, a private concert by Steve Chumley and a limited edition t-shirt.
- Tickets are available online only and are expected to sell out, so grab them now here. This is a 21 and older type of event.
- For more information, see palmbeachzoo.org.