Inhabitants of Philadelphia! Crawl out of your caves and drop down from your perches! The Philadelphia Zoo’s Summer Ale Festival 2012 is approaching! Each summer, seasonal beers from local breweries sit alongside neighborhood eats, entertainment, and gorgeous gardens. This year’s festivities will take place on Saturday, July 21st from 6:30 to 10:00 p.m. regardless of the weather. And those taps? They won’t turn off until 9:30 p.m.
Let’s talk beer. Summer Ale Festival is currently slated to host seven microbreweries (that is, small breweries who produce specialty beers locally). Each alcohol artisan is well-renowned; some have taken home awards for their beverages. Yards, located in the Northern Liberties area, has been brewing for 18 years and is known for their aptly named “Philadelphia Pale Ale” as well as their “Brawler.” From St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania, comes Straub Brewery—who has crafted American style lagers since 1872. Narragansett Beer Company is recognized for their American lagers and ales. Triumph Brewing Company will ignite your inner-German with their selection of Germanic pilsners, lagers, and wheat beers. Celebrated for their zany and flavorful concoctions, Fegley’s Brew Works will be present, too. Their “Blueberry Belch” took home the “Best Summer Ale Medal” at last year’s Philly Summer Beer Festival. Lancaster Brewing Company and Twin Lakes Brewing Company make up the end of the guest list. Both breweries craft a variety of beers anyone (who is over the age of 21, of course) can enjoy. Do not miss out on this fantastic selection.
If your gullet isn’t bursting with hops, malts, and an abundance of barley, then be sure to visit the Summer Ale Festival’s wide array of scrumptious vendors. Presently, there are six restaurants from the Philadelphia area listed for the event: Bourbon Blue, Devil’s Alley Bar & Grill, Smokin Betty’s, Melt Down Grilled Cheese, The Couch Tomato Cafe, and Rembrandt’s. When you’re looking to wash everything down and you’ve hit your tipping point at the taps, then consider trying New Hope Premium Fountain’s signature fruit-infused (70% fruit juice; 30% sparkling water) sodas. There will be enough food to feed several herds of hungry humans.
To attend this rip-roaring event, tickets must be purchased online at the Philadelphia Zoo’s website. They will not be available at the door. General Admission is $65. If you’re not interested in boozing, then you can buy a Designated Driver ticket for $35, which includes 2 non-alcoholic drink tickets. However, VIP tickets are available for individuals who want to enter the festival early, relax in an air-conditioned Primate Reserve, sample beers from the newest microbreweries, and grab a bite from the finest of Philadelphian cuisine. It’s the wildest option. For droves of drinkers, the Zoo has created the Six Pack: six General Admission tickets for $330. That’s 15% off! No matter the ticket type, each guest will receive a nifty tasting mug, on-site parking, and access to a complimentary shuttle service to and from the 30th Street Station.
There is still plenty of time to buy tickets so make like a kangaroo and hop on it. Come July 21st, there are bound to be more breweries and more restaurants registered for the event. Summer Ale Festival only occurs once a year—and so does the chance to gulp down a refreshing pint beside a sun-drunk puma. Exit your dens, denizens!
By Steve Burns