The Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society’s Brew at the Zoo event is so nice they’re doing it twice. That’s right beer fans, Brew2 at the Zoo is set to tap the tasting kegs on Saturday, September 26, but this time with a twist: this is an all-Florida type of party.
Proponents of carbon reducing practices, the Palm Beach Zoo’s popular beer festival is welcoming a Florida-only contingent of brewers, reducing those brewskie travel times to a fraction of their cross-country and cross-ocean brethren. For this biannual event, most of the breweries are within 50 miles of the zoo, while none are more than 200 miles away. But don’t let that deter potential festivalgoers, there are plenty of brews to choose, with 25 breweries tapping their wares, including new kids on the block Devour Brewing Co., Copperpoint Brewing Co., and Accomplice Brewery and Ciderworks—one of the only spots specializing in cider.
There will be plenty of grub for party goers, with Flanigan’s, Don Ramon, Dixie Bar and Grill, and the zoo’s own Tropics Café grilling up specialties, as well as food trucks Karate’s Kitchen and Iggy’s Chicago Style to round out the festivities. Live entertainment will include Rogue Theory playing in the Fountain Plaza, Steven Vincent performing at the Mayan Plaza, and Bobby G partying in the VIP Room. Speaking of VIPs, for $65 per person, and limited to just 200 peeps, guest get early 5:30 p.m. entry, free food from Carrabba’s Italian Grill, premium beer samples, and some Brew2 at the Zoo swag.
And while all this sudsy fun may seem like an excuse to party, it is actually part of the zoo’s initiative to reach out to members of the community who may not visit the zoo on a regular basis. There is a hidden motive to brews being poured and the tunes on the stage, and that is to teach.
This event, though fun and entertaining, is also an educational opportunity for the zoo staff to impart this mission. As human development continues to push natural areas further and further to the periphery, and global climate change continues its unchecked push, fresh water is increasingly becoming a commodity, and/or disappearing—just look at California. And this affects craft beer more than people might think. 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. And even if barley and hops used to make the brew are grown using 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, speaking to these very issues. 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. What’s more, there will be plenty of opportunities to come face-to-face with some of the zoo’s residents with tasting stations strategically placed throughout the zoo, including the fountain circle and the wetlands exhibit.
- Once at the zoo, be sure to look out for special time releases from Due South (7 p.m.), Twsited Trunk (7:30 p.m.), and Saltwater Brewery (8 p.m.) in the Fountain Plaza. These releases were made specifically for this event, so savvy be sure to make your way for a taste.
- Admission for Brew2 at the Zoo costs $35, $65 for VIP tickets, and $15 for designated drivers. For more information, visit palmbeachzoo.org/brew2.