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Sunday, July 30, 2006
Beer Event: Brew at the Zoo : Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, PA : 7/29/06
The event this year at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown, PA was unexpectedly well-attended. Perhaps this due to the recent publicity that the event received, especially at BeerAdvocate.com. Or perhaps it was just bad planning. What I am trying to say is that roughly half of the breweries were completely out of their sample brews by 8:00-8:30pm. (The event was due to run from 6-10pm). Dogfish Head was completely shutdown and left the premises before we even made our way to their table. In any case, my neighbor, Scott, and I attended the event. I think that just maybe the best thing to come of this event is the many different reactions that I picked up on from Scott. For example: "I can't believe that I'm commenting on the aroma and the flavor" and "I'm actually liking liking some of these darker beers" and "I don't think I like a lot of lagers" and "I'm actually swirling the beer!" But, this is not to say that I didn't get anything good out of this event. The following ranked as the most memorable beers of the evening: Wardell's Raspberry Tripel (homebrew); Weyerbacher's Imperial Pumpkin Ale (see Gene and company, street musicians, at right); Legacy's Midnight Wit; Warsteiner Dunkel. Also represented at this event were: Crabby Larry's; Victory; Troegs; Flying Fish; Appalachian; Dock Street; Dogfish Head; Anchor (see Andy Musser and me, left); Budweiser and Michelob (yeah, seriously); Paulaner; Clipper City; Yards; Stoudts; and Hacker-Pschorr. There were probably a couple of more that I'm just not remembering. The 'Brew at the Zoo' concept is one that seems to have really gained popularity across the country with similar concepts in many other cities. It truly does add something to the evening and makes for a memorable experience when the breweries are situated around the zoo amongst things like the bald eagle exhibit. This event in Norristown, by the way, benefited the Delaware Valley Chapter of the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. Overall, I'd say that this was the year the Brew at the Zoo event in Norristown experienced its first growing pain. Apparently, the first two years never showed more than a few hundred people. And, most breweries did not seem to plan for more than that. Many attendees appeared to respond accordingly and were clearing out around 9pm. At that point, there were only a few breweries who still had any beers to be pouring at their tables. Surprisingly, though, even with the muggy weather people seemed to take it in stride without much complaint. While I will still think of this evening as a success, I will certainly look forward to next year's event, which I hope will be more well planned for an even better evening of good beer at the zoo.