On Saturday, Sept. 16, I had the honor of attending the Oktobearfest German bier festival at the Philadelphia Zoo.

With at least fifty different breweries, including big hitters, national treasures, and even local hits like Yards, Dock Street, Conshohocken Brewery and more, there was plenty for everyone to enjoy.

The unlimited beer and cider samples are included in the $55 ticket price, along with after-hours admission to the zoo, all entertainment and even a complimentary shuttle service that takes people to and from the corner of JFK Boulevard and 30th Street Station.

Entertainment and Activities

With live music by the band Side Peace, as well as DJ Tree and DJ Bleezy keeping the party going in their own areas, there was something for everyone to listen to.

Many of the animal exhibits were also open to explore as well, with animal and trainer meet and greets throughout the zoo.

Standout Craft Beers

As I do with any event, I’ll highlight a few of the beers that really stood out to me that day.

No hate to everyone else, there were dozens of beers I’d love to profile – but I’ve either mentioned them before, or plan future reviews already, so here are a few I didn’t know about before today.

Manayunk Brewery Crunch

Porter

From the brewery: Chocolate and peanut butter come together in perfect harmony to create Crunch, our luxurious and decadent spin on our traditional porter. With bold chocolate and coffee notes, Crunch is rich and smooth with an insane malt profile and delightful roasty peanut aromas. Manayunk Brewery

My two cents: This is actually more of a guest review. My friend @TheAquemeni spent the better part of a half hour darting from group to group nearby hyping up this Peanut Butter Crunch Porter.

By far his favorite beer of the evening. It was a good thing he wasn’t driving, I’m pretty sure he had at least a half dozen full pours at the end of the night. It tastes exactly as described by the brewery.

Starr Hill Brewery Resinate

Red India Pale Ale

This imperial red IPA packs hop punch and high gravity. Resinous flavors mingle with caramel malts used to create its dazzling red color. Evergreen and citrus notes yield a robust red ale with a pronounced hop flavor and aroma. Starr Hill Brewery

My two cents: I know. Starr Hill seems to slip into every single event recap I’ve had so far. It’s no mistake. They deserve it – I’m just incredibly impressed with this brewery.

This is their second Red IPA that I’ve enjoyed, the first being their Revolver Red IPA, which I first came across at the Philly Zoo Summer Ale Festival.

Vault Brewing Company 5Cs

India Pale Ale

This imperial red IPA packs hop punch and high gravity. Resinous flavors mingle with caramel malts used to create its dazzling red color. Evergreen and citrus notes yield a robust red ale with a pronounced hop flavor and aroma. Starr Hill Brewery

My two cents: I know. Starr Hill seems to slip into every single event recap I’ve had so far. It’s no mistake. They deserve it – I’m just incredibly impressed with this brewery.

Honorable Mentions

Other beers you should be on the lookout for and will have to revisit myself:

  • Ship Bottom Brewery Shack IPA
  • Hardywood Park Craft Brewery Pils
  • Starr Hill Brewery Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale
  • Fegler’s BrewWorks Hop’solutely Triple IPA

Feeding Time

As with any Philadelphia Zoo event, some of the best Philadelphia food trucks in the city were available to the beer festival attendees. The Cow and the Curd, Waffles & Wedges, Lil’ Pop Shop, Nick’s Roast Beef and Hai Street Kitchen were just some of the offerings.

Stuffd Buns

It was the buffalo shrimp sliders that made me stop in my tracks for this cart. Add the words Shrimp or Buffalo to anything, and I’m in. I’m starting to think you just can’t mess up a buffalo sandwich of any kind, I have yet to have one I don’t like.

The First of Many, We Hope!

This was the first ever Philadelphia Zoo take on an Oktoberfest, and I expect it’s one that will happen every year from now on, as it was a complete success.

I may just have a soft spot for the zoo, so I was sure to ask everyone I could that day whether they were enjoying themselves, and the response was pretty much unanimous.

As with the Philadelphia Zoo Summer Ale fest, be sure to get tickets as soon as they go on sale next year (look to the Philadelphia Zoo event page a few weeks in advance) – these tickets DO sell out each year.

Photo Gallery

On Saturday, Sept. 16, I had the honor of attending the Oktobearfest German bier festival at the Philadelphia Zoo. With over fifty different breweries, including Yards, Highway Manor, Dock Street, Southern Tier, Victory and more, there was plenty to try. Click through for the full event recap.
Andrij Harasewych
Editor at The Craft Beer Diaries. Devoted husband and father. Excessively geeky. Comic books, video games, and craft beer are my vices. Favorite beers: Ales and Lagers.
Andrij Harasewych

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