What You Missed at the Brew at the Zoo Beer Fest

For as advanced as we humans are, it’s a wonder that it took us this long to come up with the idea of Brew at the Zoo, last weekend’s craft beer bonanza at the LA Zoo. As the sun went down on Friday, a few local bands turned up the sound and a few thousand hop-heads turned up at the front gates of the zoo for a taste of the taps from more than a dozen craft brewers. The roster of beer talent included Southern California favorites The Bruery, Left Coast, Stone and hometown heroes Eagle Rock Brewery, while indie rockers like Heartstop and Tijuana Panthers echoed throughout the park. Of course, there were some animals too.

LAist was invited to spend the evening convening with nature for the event. Undoubtedly, the zoo’s biggest draw of the night (beyond the libations) was the Elephants of Asia exhibit, allowing the night’s revelers to watch the tusked behemoths with a delicate 5-pour in their hands. All around, orangutans, elephants, meerkats and kangaroos stayed up past their curfew to entertain the crowds and remind us all that the ticket price was really going to help keep this whole operation afloat.

The LA Zoo’s Brew at the Zoo was, from a marketing standpoint, an absolute success. Thousands of craft beer hounds trudged along the zoo’s many pathways in search of the next cleverly titled beer station (Meerkats and Micro-Brews, anyone?). However, there’s a lot to learn for the next Brew at the Zoo. Most vendors seemed overwhelmed by the demand, leading to lines that sometimes exceeded 30 minutes and some breweries that simply ran out of beer well before the sun had finally faded. It’s easy to be disappointed at something like this, especially when there are so many other craft beer festivals this time of year you could spend your money on. But one look over the fence at the koalas nibbling slowly on their dinner, or the gorillas effortlessly maneuvering their elevated terrain, and you’re reminded of exactly why you’re here. Plus, when the sun finally hits the bottom shelf and the multi-colored lights strung through the trees around you pop to life, you find yourself in Griffith Park on a warm, breezy summer night, with a beer in your hand and live music in front of you. Not a bad way to help save the animals.

The Los Angeles Zoo is open daily from 10am to 5pm. Upcoming events include Star Wars Day on August 27th.