Brew At The Zoo: Where Else Can You Taste Craft Beers in the Presence of Giant Predators?

By now you've probably noticed the banners across the top of our blogs or seen the Mixmaster post touting Brew at the Zoo September 10, but perhaps were hesitant to commit to a $30 ticket without knowing just which beers would be available.

How about I just tell you that the ticket includes zoo admission and unlimited refills of your keeper tasting glass? In other words, you can keep refilling with Ommegang BPA, Ska Decadent Imperial IPA or Unibroue Trois Pistoles until it seems like a good idea to go harass a cage-full of apes about how stupid they are compared to the primates in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. That way I don't have to type out all these damn beer names.

Not gonna cut it? OK, below you'll find a preliminary list of beers available. This list will grow, as the Observer's marketing team, which is way smarter than those movie apes, is still waiting to hear which brews some companies will be offering. A substitution or two may also be inevitable. So far it includes brands carried by Ben E. Keith and Andrews distributing, along with the self-distributed Franconia Brewing Company. Rahr & Sons Brewing Company is on board as well, and hopefully other Texas breweries will commit too. At least 33 suppliers (importers, breweries or brewery ownership groups) will be there, offering two to four beers (or ciders, in a few cases) apiece.

The standard ticket is $30 in advance, $40 at the door, and includes a souvenir 3-ounce tasting cup (plastic, which is probably for the best considering all the concrete and kids at the zoo). The event is from 7 to 10:30 p.m., and you can get unlimited tastings during that time, or for as long as you can maintain a passable semblance of sobriety. It also includes zoo admission and music from Rebirth Brass Band and the Spazmatics. Hooters, Genghis Grill, Pizza By Marco and Holy Grail Pub will have food for sale. Check out Mixmaster for more on the non-beer-related fun.

VIP admission ($60) includes parking (saving you $5 or a DART trip) in a designated VIP lot, allows you early entrance at 6:30 p.m. and also includes catered food, liquor samples, select full-size beers and access to the air-conditioned VIP area.

As for the beers, I'd say it's a solid group. You're not going to find any ultra-rare casks or vertical tastings of the Divine Reserve series, but you can definitely get more than your money's worth. It looks like a great opportunity to convert a skeptical friend to the world of craft beer without stressing about whether you'll get there early enough to try some once-in-a-lifetime brew. That said, it will also (hopefully) be an early chance to try the new Saint Arnold Santo, a black kolsch to be released September 1, and Guinness' new-to-the-area Black Lager.

Check out the selection:

Anheuser Busch: Ziegenbock, Shock Top, Shock Top Raspberry, LandShark, Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Bud Light Lime, Kona Longboard Lager, Widmer Hefeweizen, Redhook Longhammer, Widmer Drifter
Belukus Marketing: Blanche De Bruxelles, Timmermns Strawberry, Wells Banana Bread, Wells Bombardier
Boulevard Brewing Company: TBA
Breckenridge Brewery: Agave Wheat, Vanilla Porter, Avalanche, Lucky U IPA
Brooklyn Brewery: Lager, Brown Ale, Oktoberfest, Pumpkin Ale
California Cider Co.: Ace Perry, Ace Apple, Ace Joker
Choc: 1919 Choc, Signature Belgian Dubbel, Choctoberfest, Summer Ale (if available)
Deschutes Brewery: Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Inversion IPA, Green Lakes Organic Amber
Diageo: Guinness Black Lager
Duvel USA: Duvel, Maredsous Blond, Ommegang BPA, Ommegang Hennepin
Franconia Brewing Co.: TBA
Full Sail Brewing Company: Session Premium Lager, Session Black Lager, Amber, Elevation Imperial IPA
Great Divide Brewing: Titan India Pale Ale, Yeti Imperial Stout
Harpoon Brewery: Harpoon IPA, UFO White, Harpoon Octoberfest, Harpoon Cider
Left Hand: Milk Stout, Sawtooth, Pole Star, Stranger
Merchant du Vin: Ayinger Oktoberfest, Smith Organic Lager, Smith Organic Ale, Lindemans Peche
Rahr & Sons Brewing: TBA
Real Ale Brewery: Fireman's #4, Rio Blanco Pale Ale, Brewhouse Brown, Lost Gold IPA
Saint Arnold Brewing: Lawnmower, Weedwacker, Oktoberfest, Santo (or Elissa IPA if Santo is out of stock)
Sapporo USA: Sapporo Premium, Sapporo Reserve, Sapporo Light
Ska Brewing: Modus Hoperandi, Decadent Imperial IPA, True Blonde Ale, True Blonde Dubbel
Stone Brewing Co.: Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Ruination, Cali-Belgique IPA
Sun Shine Imports: Sir Perry Imported Cider, TBA
Total Beverage Solution: Affligem Blond, Moretti La Rossa, Weihenstephan Hefe
Unibroue: Blanche De Chambly, La Fin Du Monde, Ephemere, Trois Pistoles
United States Beverage: Estrella Damm, Tona, Tiger, Murphy's Stout
Woodchuck Hard Cider: Woodchuck Amber, Woodchuck Fall Seasonal, Woodchuck Pumpkin, Woodchuck Granny Smith

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