Some glaring facts of the “Brew At The Zoo” beer festival held May 1st at the Miami-Dade Metro Zoo: there was a giant fence surrounding all the inhabitants (non-electrified, thank God); frequent, loud and beastly cries were heard coming from this “cage”; there were security officials everywhere maintaining order. Oh, and there were some choice odors wafting through the late afternoon Miami air—not all of them good.
Welcome to the “Brew At The Zoo” Beer Festival, presented by the Miami New Times, the first beer festival of its kind ever to be held at the Miami-Dade Metro Zoo. And judging by the attendance, it probably won’t be the last. But that’s not saying the Wanderlushes considered it a smashing success (some slurring, wobbly-kneed attendees proved our point) but it was an experience.
Due to liability concerns the actual festival was held outside of the zoo—after closing hours. We can fully understand the zoo’s reluctance to hold an event of this kind inside the zoo’s perimeter. Just imagine a bunch of drunk, “civilized” humans interacting with all those “wild” animals. We don’t want to see anything flying through the monkey cages. Monkeys are a clean bunch, for the most part, and don’t need to suffer such an indignity at the hands of inebriated humans.
Close to 30 beer vendors offered Dixie cup-sized samples of their brews. We didn’t mind the cup size as much as we minded the fact that waiting all that time to try some of the beers was like waiting to get on a ride at Disney: it’s a long wait for a short thrill. While in line we managed to chat up other patient beer lovers like ourselves, so it made the wait tolerable. Several smart attendees brought two plastic cups in which to sample up to the vendor’s tables. Two of the beer vendors were tapped out by the time we made it to the event which was around 6:45 p.m. The event officially got underway at 5 p.m. There was a large stage set up at one end of the venue. A band played as we entered and then gave way to a “call of the wild” animal call contest a short time later.
For the hour or so we were there we managed to sample some great craft beers, though a good majority of them we’ve tried in the past or enjoy on a regular basis. Some stands were out of some of their selections. Food was available (albeit limited) but we didn’t partake in any of it.
When the sun went down we left in search of real food, in a clean, well-lit place with tables, chairs and generous-sized pint glasses of beer—all away from the maddening crowd. We found it a short time later at Titanic Brewing Company, in Coral Gables (TARZAN YELL).
-Great crowd – everyone was happy!
-Good beer – Our Favs: Titanic Brewery Dubbel Trouble Ale, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Holy Mackerel Golden Ale & Mack in Black, Zoo Brew (who knew?!)
-Some vendors gone (Monk in the Trunk) or out of some selections early (Raging Bitch)
-Throw Away Tiny Plastic Cup (Take a lesson from the Jupiter Beer Festival – they had a mini-plastic pilsner with the event info printed on it that you could keep)
-Food Choices – Not bad but not much to choose from.
-Standard Port-O-Potties – Spring for the upgraded version or move the locale to a venue with real bathrooms.