Growing up, there was something magical about visiting the zoo. All types of animals were there, waiting to be discovered in ways that would have been impossible in the family backyard. The well-manicured pathways and lush landscaping offered free reign to eagerly explore the myriad signposts and displays weaving throughout the park, before settling down with a snow cone from one of the outdoor vendors. Of course, that was then. Now, if it's not blazingly hot out, you might find yourself strolling through the park with an out-of-town friend or recreating those days with a youngster of your own, but for most of us the zoo is never quite the same.
Until you mix drinking, that is. And not the felonious sort of drinking that leads to late night break-ins and poor attempts to enter the lion exhibit. We're talking about Brew at the LA Zoo, a yearly event that pairs local craft brewers with the animals and nighttime charm that the zoo already has so much of. Instead of snow cone vendors, nearly two dozen local beer breweries will be setting up tents and portable keg operations, providing 5 ounce pours into commemorative glasses all night long. A few small stages for comedy and music will also be scattered amongst the pathways, in case the elephant exhibit can't keep your attention.
This year, the beer lineup is a gauntlet of local favorite craft brews, including Cismontane, Brouwerij West, Hangar 24, Golden Road, Stone and North Coast. If last year's event is any indication, the drink stations will be grouped together by beer type, with Stone's IPA station next to (or nearby) Golden Road's Point The Way. At each grouping, you can expect music from local acts like Stage 11, Mini Mansions or DJ MORNINGSTAR. Head towards the Adventure Theater when you start to hear laughter rising above the trees; the Laugh Factory is bringing along some of their favorite comedians and giving away show tickets to the first 500 guests.
Besides raising money for the LA Zoo and providing hopheads with yet another reason to enjoy the summer months, Brew at the LA Zoo seems strategically designed to bring back some of the fun you used to have as a child. For one night at least, you can still race down the pathways, from beer station to beer station, admiring the local brewing talent. You can still learn a lot, either from the knowledgeable zoo staff on hand or the incredibly intelligent master brewers. And you can rediscover a love and appreciation for the animals you gaped at all those years ago. Just don't be surprised if there are a few thousand adult children staring right along with you.
Brew at the LA Zoo
Friday, August 10th 6 - 10pm
5333 Zoo Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Presale tickets can be purchased here, or at the door.
For more food and drink events visit kcet.org/events/food.