A Brew at the Zoo (and Wine Too) Review!

Nick Roy

Beer lovers rejoiced this past weekend at the 2011 Brew at the Zoo event at the Baltimore Zoo. Featuring 15 different breweries and 3 vineyards, the weather held out long enough for everyone to sit in the sun and enjoy sampling both local and international beers. When we arrived at the event we were greeted by the friendly zoo staff who handed us our beer glasses that we would use at each booth. Walking into the event we were greeted by the wonderful smell of the food vendors selling everything from grilled cheese and hot dogs to pizza and crab cakes. Despite the smell we pressed on to take an overview of the event see what beers and wines were being offered. Booths were set up in a half-circle around the stage for the band and sitting area, which made it easy to walk around the event and get an overview of the vendors.


We weighed our options, discussed our favorite beers and came to the conclusion that we would simply start at one end of the event and work our way around to the other side. One of the best parts about attending events like these is the opportunity to sample new beers. The friendly people working each booth understand that you may not like one of their brews, and encourage you to dump out what you do not like and come back and try another one of their brews. Despite the fact that it is easy to try beers that you are already familiar with, it is always great to discover a new beer and meet with people of the company who can describe the beers that they love.


We started our journey through the beer and wine samples at the Boordy Vineyards tent where I had the opportunity to sample the Jazzberry wine which is part of their “Just for Fun” line of wines.  The wine is made from a combination of strawberries and raspberries, and was one of the best tasting wines that I have sampled in a long time. Moving on we had a chance to sample beers from some of the more popular breweries including Magic Hat, Sarnac, Modelo, and located in the corner was the Irish themed tent serving Guinness, Smithwicks, Harp, and Kilkenny. After the Irish tent we were about half way through the samples when we decided to take a break and explore the food vendors. We ended up sitting in the field watching Fools and Horses perform as we ate giant hot dogs with french fries covered in Old Bay.


After enjoying lunch we made our way around the second half of the exhibit where we were able to sample more beer and wine. Local favorites Natural Bohemian was in attendance and sharing a tent with yet another beer that everyone knows and loves, Pabst Blue Ribbon. We started with these two beers since we were familiar with them before we became more adventurous with the beers that we were trying. Sarnac was offering a pomegranate flavored beer which we both enjoyed, as well as the IPA that they were offering. Right next to the Sarnac tent was Duvel who was offering a chocolate flavored beer, as well as another beer called Hennepin, which was an excellent beer that is stronger than most beers being offered.


We had a wonderful time at Brew at the Zoo and had a chance to try some great beers as well as wines. Not only is it great to have an opportunity to sample the drinks, it is always great to talk to the people running the booth and learning more about the differences between each beer being offered. Thankfully the weather held out, and we were able to enjoy this wonderful festival in the warmth of the sun, while still remaining in the shade provided by all the trees surrounding us. Already we are looking forward to attending the event next year.

For more event photos, visit here

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