Ranger the Bear Approved

It is hard to believe that the Brew at the L.A. Zoo will be turning 8 this year but that is indeed what will happen on Friday, August 3rd from 7pm to 11pm. Or you can VIP it and start at 6pm.

The Brewery at Simzy’s Burbank has stepped up again and has brewed up a Zoo beer with ingredients chosen by the L.A. Zoo’s American black bear, Ranger (excellent name for a bear, by the way). “Specially crafted for Brew at the L.A. Zoo, the pale ale has notes of hibiscus flowers and honey, ingredients picked by Ranger himself.”

Here are the participating breweries that I think you should taste from (others are either part of SABInBev or trendy spiked drinks)
101 Cider House, Alosta Brewing Co., Angel City Brewery, Baja Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewing Company, Brewyard Beer Company,Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Five Threads Brewing, Four Sons Brewing, Innovation Brew Works, KeVita, King Harbor Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Co., Latitude 33 Brewing, MacLeod Ale Brewing Co., Pizza Port Brewing Company, San Fernando Brewing Co.,Stone Brewing, The Bruery, Three Weavers Brewing Co., Transplants Brewing Company, Verdugo West Brewing Company, Yorkshire Square Brewery, and more…

Here are the ticket prices….
Online advance purchase: $65
Designated Driver admission includes unlimited soft drinks: $35
VIP admission: $135
Box office: $75

…and HERE is where you get the tickets.

Brew ($$$) at the Zoo

I don’t know if inflation rose that much this year or if my beer festival-itis is such that any price would have raised my eyebrows but the 6th Annual Brew at the L.A. Zoo ticket prices seem a touch high, even for a charity event and especially considering that this year’s California Craft Brewer’s Summit with 180 breweries from across the State of California is $5.00-$15.00 cheaper and 140+ breweries heavier. And that’s not counting the VIP Zoo ticket ($125.00) which is more than the Firestone Walker Invitational general admission by $40.00 and with considerably less food than was on offer in Paso Robles.

That means that the animals and lush atmosphere of the Zoo has to be really spectacular because the brewery list (see below) is way behind those two marquee events above as well as such L.A. festival must attends like the Kick-Off Festival for L.A. Beer Week and the DTLA Beer Crawl. Not to mention that one winery is included in their list as well as Shock Top from SABInBevMiller!

Participating breweries* include Alosta Brewing Company, Alpine Beer Company , Angel City Brewing , Baja Brewing Company , Ballast Point Brewing , Barefoot Wine, Bootlegger’s Brewery , Breckenridge Brewery of Colorado, Common Cider, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., Fireman’s Brew Company, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Golden Road Brewery , Goose Island , Great Divide Brewing Company, Green Flash Brewing Company , I&I Brewing , Indie Brewing Company , Iron Triangle Brewing, Kinetic Brewing Company, Knee Deep Brewing Co., Latitude 33 Brewing Co., MacLeod Ale Brewery, Mother Earth Brew Co., New Belgium, Pacific Plate Brewing , Pocock Brewing, Ritual Brewing Co., Samuel Adams, San Fernando Brewing Co. , Shock Top , Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., SKA Brewing , Stone Brewing Company, Surf Brewing , The Dude’s Brewing Company, The Traveler Beer Co., Transplants Brewing and Westlake Brewing Company.

Call me elitist if you must, but when the prices are that high, you really have to compare Brew at the Zoo to comparably priced events and frankly, it comes up short. My suggestion? They need to break down how much per ticket is going to the animals.

Brews at the Zoo

Last Friday, I found myself at the….

…for Brews at the Zoo.

For a first year event run by a zoo, this was well done. The first sign that this was going to be good was that they reached out to the local breweries. It would have been easy to go with “name” beers. I.E. The Highly Marketed Ones. But they made a great effort. Bringing in breweries that I hadn’t seen in LA county at all like Noble from Anaheim (I suggest the Alpha Red) and Inland Empire from, well, the Inland Empire. (I recommend the Pepin the Short)

The second positive sign was the fact that each brewery brought two beers. Nothing rare or earth shattering but it certainly wasn’t one of those festivals where one flagship was pouring and that’s it. I got to taste the El Segundo IPA for the first time as well as a nice saison from Left Coast.

Plus the location is really great. How often do you get to drink with ‘gators….
…and giraffes….

I am going to watch for any future versions of this fest and if you are in L.A. you should too.