2016 Philadelphia Zoo Summer Ale Fest (Philadelphia, PA)

The Philadelphia Zoo
3400 Girard Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19104

A warm Saturday evening found the Beer Posse driving over the Commodore Barry Bridge, headed for the 8th annual Philadelphia Zoo Summer Ale Festival.  Or as we refer to it, “Brews at the Zoo”.  We have never attended this beer fest before, so we weren’t sure what to expect (although our expectations were high!).  I must say, we were not disappointed!

The beer venues were spread out across the zoo into 5 zones.  B3, The Stoutmeister, and I immediately headed toward the big white tent with numerous breweries represented and loud tunes from Kickbax band.  Hey, any band that starts their session with the theme song from “The Jeffersons” ranks high in my book.  Being an evening/night event we were able to escape the blazing July sun.  There was a nice breeze, the beer was cold and tasty, and we were able to view many varieties of wildlife at the same time.  Oh, the animals were great as well!  I met Katrina who was pouring Coney Island Orange Cream Ale, yum!  It was so tasty, I had to go back for seconds!

While we were focusing on the beer, Princess (as our Designated Driver), detached herself to go meander and check out the animals, activities, and food offerings.  For a DD, this was an excellent beer festival to attend.  Besides viewing many of the animal exhibits such as the big cats, primates, rare animals, small mammals, and my favorite, the reptile house… Zoo keepers were scattered around the facilities doing meet and greets.  These included:

  • Miniature Horse
  • Red-capped Mangabey
  • Vampire bats
  • giant tortoise
  • gorilla
  • Amur Tigers

There were also a lot of fun activities available including:

  • Cornhole
  • Giant Connect 4
  • Giant Checkers
  • Giant Jenga
  • The Penguin walk challenge

Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages were available for all beer festers and DD’s alike.  Zoo volunteers were everywhere running activities, directing lost beer festers, and discussing zoo events.  I want to give a special shout out to Dana Lombardo, Director of Communications and Public Relations for the zoo, who gave us some great info on zoo events and activities such as the grand opening of the “Watering Hole” beer garden.  Nice!

Another nice touch were the food trucks scattered along the beer fest route.  The food was fantastic!  I had the best burger and chicken wings ever!  There were an assortment of different vendors offering ice cream, meatballs, fresh food, street food, etc.  Something for everyone.  Luckily, the beer fest also had an app with the map of the zoo showing the beer venues, activities, food trucks, animal exhibits, and zoo keeper meet and greets!

When I first bought my ticket, I thought the price tag of $60 was a little pricy.  But I soon learned it was well worth it.  There was free parking in the zoo parking garage, souvenir cups, activities, animal exhibits, live band, and of course lots of delicious beer.  The gates opened at 6:30 pm, so you were out of the hot sun, and the last pour was at 9:30.  The only complaint I have is that the time period was too short!  I did not get to every activity, animal exhibit, or brewery booth that I would have liked to.  Another hour or 2 would be great.  I would even suggest a VIP ticket giving VIP’s early access.  Another item worth mentioning is that no one under 21 is admitted to this event!  Thank you Philadelphia Zoo!  One of my pet peeves are people who drag their children to breweries and beer fests.  It’s not fair to the children, nor the adults partaking in the event.  People!  Get a babysitter!

So I expect the Beer Posse and I will add this event to our annual calendar.  If you plan to go in 2017, get your tickets early, it sells out fast!


Favorite Beers of the Day:

  • Pretzel – Coney Island Orange Cream Ale, Fordam & Dominion Belgian Tripel
  • The Stoutmeister – Coney Island Orange Cream Ale, Magic Hat Session IPA
  • B3 – Wyndridge Farm Crafty Cider


Additional Posse Comments:

  • Princess (DD) – “Fantastic Beer Fest!  I would love to go again.  There was plenty for a designated driver (DD) to do.  The free drinks for DD’s were appreciated, but the souvenir cup needs to be improved (like add the beer fest logo).”
  • The Stoutmeister – I like the fact that the venues are spread out all over the zoo.
  • The Stoutmeister – I wished this event was an hour longer!
  • B3 – The food trucks were excellent!  There was a good variety of food available.
  • Pretzel – I do wish the fest ran longer.  I was having such a great time with the beer tasting, listening to the band, eating great food, playing games, and looking at the animals that I ran out of time before I was done!




Overall Pretzel Score (8.74 out of 10):8.75glassa

Final Scorecard: PhiladelphiaZooSummerAleFest

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