Brew at the Zoo

A few weeks ago, when I was on my quest to find Food Network, I heard about a fun event hosted by the Nashville Zoo: Brew at the Zoo.  My friends Liza and Paul were thinking about attending, so we all decided to splurge and spend the evening with the giraffes and 30+ breweries.

Paul and I had the perfect DD (Liza’s preggo), and the weather couldn’t have been nicer.  We knew we were in for a good evening.

Our ticket included admission to the zoo, half-price admission for the rest of the month, a glass, and 3 oz samples of as many brews as one could handle.  That was the only sad part of the evening — I wish I could have tried them all!  But 3 oz does add up…

A few food trucks were there, so after a few tastes from a couple of breweries, we headed over to the trucks to get dinner.

We all decided to eat at Hoss’ Loaded Burgers — drinking beer on a summer night requires something like a nice hamburger.  I got the Big Kahuna, which had grilled pineapple and pineapple-infused teriyaki sauce.  Mmm, mmm!

These guys serenaded us as we ate:

Then it was off to find the elephants and the giraffes before they went to sleep!

One thing I really liked about Brew at the Zoo was how spread out all the breweries were.  There were a couple close to the gift shop as you entered the zoo, then there were about fifteen in the middle of the zoo, where there’s a large grassy lawn (that’s where the food trucks were too), and then there were others farther into the zoo — by the elephants, by the giraffes, tucked up on the path to the merry-go-round, etc.   It not only helped crowd control, it allowed the zoo to be part of the experience as well as the breweries.  It wasn’t as if you had to choose — see the animals or visit the breweries.  You could enjoy a beer while watching the elephants, then keep walking and see the giraffes while tasting another brewery’s specialty.

photo courtesy of P. Downey

The elephants stayed pretty far away, but luckily Paul has a nice zoom.  Most of the following pictures are his. : )

photo courtesy of P. Downey

Liza and I posed with the elephants, but you can’t really tell they’re back there.  Take my word for it.

The best part of the zoo is the giraffes, of course.   The two giraffes (a daddy and his kid, I suppose) stayed far away, like the elephants-

photo courtesy of P. Downey

but luckily we hung around that area for awhile, because the zoo keeper brought the daddy up to feed him and we all got to get pretty close to him.   The mommy giraffe wasn’t around — she gave birth a few days ago, so she was pretty preggo at this point and wasn’t hanging out in public.   Good thing we didn’t need her to be our DD.

photo courtesy of P. Downey

photo courtesy of P. Downey

It’s incredible how huge these animals are.  You think of them being tall, but check out the size of his head:

photo courtesy of P. Downey

Do you think he ever gets tired of holding it up so high?

It was definitely a fun evening.  I was able to try lots of different kinds of beers, and I learned like while I really like English stouts, I don’t really like American stouts.   I also discovered a new cider that blows any other cider I’ve had out of the water.  Crispin Cider.  I had The Saint, which is made with maple syrup, and I wish I would have tried the other two they were sampling, too.  It was so good I’m pretty sure I’m going to have a party on October 25 just to make the cider the centerpiece of a party.  (We may even read the speech, even though it’s for the wrong side.)

The worst beer (and the only one I poured out) was Buchi, which I tried merely because I knew I would never order it or buy it.  It’s beer made with kombucha, a type of tea that’s been fermented.  I’ve had kombucha before, in college, and didn’t remember it being so bad.  This was awful.  It burned the top of my throat (I guess I shouldn’t have gotten “Fire,” which I now know is made with Cayenne pepper) and smelled like someone had found wet socks under their kitchen sink that had been lost since February, dropped them in the trash, retrieved them, and squeezed them into my glass.   The smell hit you as you went to take a drink… but both Paul and I were brave and took a sip anyway.  Ugh.  I had to rinse my glass out three times before the smell disappeared.  They should probably rename the brew “Socks.”

We left when a guy came over and tried to be our friend.  He was either on acid or drunk.  Or both.  So we told him to go ride the merry-go-round and decided maybe it was time to leave.

All in all, a good night.

photo courtesy of… guess who?


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