2019 The Philadelphia Zoo Summer Ale Fest (Philadelphia, PA)

Date:  6/22/2019 Location:   The Philadelphia Zoo 3400 W. Girard Ave Philadelphia, PA  19104

Given that The Beer Posse has previously reviewed The Summer Ale Fest (See links below), I have asked each of the attending Beer Posse members to write up a paragraph on their adventure at the zoo.

Reported by:  The Stoutmeister

The Philly Zoo Summer Ale Festival is still my favorite of all the beer festivals I have attended for 3 reasons:

  1. You get to drink beer from surrounding area breweries,
  2. You get to visit and admire the animals as you walk from one venue to another.
  3. There are other non-drinking activities available such as mechanical bull riding.

The zoo organized the location of venues strategically so that guests can enjoy the event in every court.  The live band was fantastic and played all the fun music suited for the occasion.  The Impala Lawn tent was a great place to hang out during the last hour of festivities; no wonder, everyone converges in that area before leaving.  I will do this again and again.  Even though it seems IPA type beer all taste the same to me, Conshohocken Brewing Company’s blood orange IPA has a pleasantly unique flavor and was my favorite beer of the day.

Reported by:  B3

Another great night attending the 2019 Philadelphia Zoo Summer Ale Festival!  As an outdoor event, weather can make or break a good time, yet for the third year in a row we had simply awesome weather!  Though it was quite warm, the abundance of trees around the zoo provided for adequate shade, when, combined with a cold beverage (or two, or three, well, you get the point) made the evening very enjoyable.  We did the early entry VIP pass which provides an extra hour of access before the general admission arrives.  For this fest, the extra $20 is well worth the investment, as we experienced next to no lines at the brewers’ tables during the first hour.  Once the general admission enters, the lines started to form, although the wait was still less than 5 minutes at most tables.  With eight different locations within the zoo for beer sampling, the crowds were pretty well dispersed.  The main event tent seems to be the place many folks end their night, so as time was running out, it did get pretty crowded here, but the energy from the crowd was evident. Kudos to the Zoo for providing free parking in their nearby parking garage, having a free shuttle to/from 30th Street Station, and having a designated area for Lift/Uber pickups.

The beer selection was decent, with lots of session and IPAs throughout, as you would expect for a summer festival.  While I found a few new beers I liked, my favorite beer was Ship Bottom’s Blueberry Bikini Bottom, a wheat ale. Great blueberry smell with just a slight blueberry flavor on the palate.

Reported by:  Princess

Any beer fest at the Philadelphia Zoo (summer or fall) eclipses all other beer fests that I’ve attended.  As a DD, we are usually non-entities who entertain ourselves on the sidelines as we keep an eye on our indulging friends and eventually ensure that they get home safely.  At the Philadelphia Zoo, the experience is completely different.  There are several stations spread around the zoo that contain tents of vendors pouring their wares.  By spreading these stations out, it encourages people to navigate the zoo and see the various things there are to see.  There were bands, DJ’s and even a radio station that provided music at various places in the zoo.  There were games and activities such as: bull riding, photo booth, face painting, caricature drawings, corn hole, petting the goats, listening to zoo staff talk about various animals, and then one of the best games was “pin the penis on the animal”.  All games and presentations hosted by zoo staff were intended to be fun as well as educational, and I found that to be true.  There were also a plethora of food trucks that offered all sorts of goodies to tempt ones palate.  If I were to offer feedback to the Zoo, the few things I think they could improve on are:

  1. DD’s are given a bottle of water at the front gate.  At the first zoo fest, water and lemonade was provided in large coolers instead.  I can appreciate the expense of maintaining the coolers, but it seems that providing a free non-alcoholic option to all attendees is a good idea.
  2. I found a couple of food trucks at the very last station in the back of the park that offered a couple of dessert options.  Consider bringing in an ice cream truck or other truck specializing in desserts and place it near the main tent.

Overall, I love this beer fest and will definitely attend it again.  It’s a refreshing change to tour the Zoo with only adults.  Well done Philadelphia Zoo!  I hope your beer fests continue for many years to come.   

Reported by:  The Queen of Funk

So, I head over with family members to the Philadelphia Zoo, the oldest zoo in the USA. This was my first brew fest at the Philadelphia Zoo, although for some of the other members of the beer posse, it was their third time! The weather cooperated, thankfully, because at one point it looked like it was going to rain. It was a busy evening – plenty of beer, lots of extra activities, great food, and of course the zoo animals. As I am new to these reviews, I did not wear any beer attire (which I don’t have), except for my beer posse hat.. Pretzel, however, just got a new beer glass hat, which she used to top off her beer glass clothes. Meanwhile, the Stoutmeister and I both decided to ride the mechanical bull which is never really a good idea. I fell on my head and the Stoutmeister fell on his keester. Despite that, I don’t think we looked as bad as Pretzel who was hauled on the stage by the band to sing. I don’t remember what song it was, I just remember screaming and shooting that bubble gun.   

Reported by:  Pretzel

As The Beer Posse and I headed to Philadelphia for our 3rd Summer Ale Fest, expectations were high.  And I can tell you right now, this was my favorite!  It was a nice balmy evening, plenty of animals were out and active in their enclosures, the beer was cold and plentiful, and the bands were rocking!  My favorite part of the evening was the last hour when most beer festers were congregating under the main tent, sampling more beer, and groovin’ to the tunes of Kickbax.  2nd Story Brewing Company invited me to serve beer at their station.  Being resplendent in my beer fest outfit, I made quite a striking figure serving beer!  It was awesome.  Next, the Queen of Funk and I joined the hoards of beer-lovers on the dance floor as Kickbax got us rocking with some great classics.  At one point, the lead singer pulled me on-stage to assist in singing “Sweet Caroline”.  What a blast!  The Stoutmeister assured me I did not sing off-key for my 15 seconds of fame!  For non-drinkers, there were plenty of activities to keep you entertained including:

  • mechanical bull riding
  • a photo booth
  • giant sized beer pong
  • corn hole
  • a caricature artist
  • body art artists
  • pin the penis on the animal game
  • numerous food trucks
  • DJ’s and bands in many of the venues 

Favorite Beers of the Day:

  • Pretzel – Conshohocken Brewing Company’s blood orange IPA
  • The Stoutmeister – Conshohocken Brewing Company’s blood orange IPA
  • B3 – Ship Bottom’s Blueberry Bikini Bottom
  • The Queen of Funk – Brooklyn Brewing Company’s Brooklyn Summer Ale
  • Princess – I’m the Designated Driver AND I don’t drink.  So what do you think was my favorite beer?


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