The 2019 Philadelphia Zoo Summer Ale Festival on June 22, 2019 was a highly anticipated event that brought together beer enthusiasts, foodies, and animal lovers for an unforgettable night of entertainment. The festival featured over 150 craft beer and cider pours from 70 regional and national breweries, providing guests with a wide variety of options to choose from. Whether guests preferred light lagers, hoppy IPAs, or sour beers, there was something for everyone.

One of the highlights of the festival was the variety of food trucks on site, offering a range of delicious food options to pair with the beer. From classic Philly cheesesteaks to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, there was something to satisfy every palate. Guests were able to indulge in a variety of treats while enjoying the festive atmosphere of the zoo. This annual event serves as a fundraiser for the Philly Zoo and their conservation efforts.

The Philadelphia Zoo offers a unique and immersive experience that is unlike any other. At strategically placed locations throughout the zoo, vendors set up tents to offer their wares, encouraging visitors to explore and discover all that the zoo has to offer. Along with the beer and cider tastings, the zoo also featured an array of entertainment options, including live bands, DJs, and even a radio station. From bull riding to photo booths to face painting, caricature drawings, and corn hole, there were games and activities for everyone.

One of the my favorite parts of the Summer Ale fest is the opportunity to learn from the zoo staff about the various animals housed at the zoo. The educational presentations were both informative and engaging (and definitely ADULTS ONLY), giving guests an opportunity to learn some really unique facts about the animals while having fun.

The event culminates with a live concert at the Big Tent, put on by local band The Kickbax. Throughout the concert, The Kickbax kept the energy levels high, playing hit after hit with infectious enthusiasm. They traded off vocal duties, which set them apart from your typical cover band. It was evident that the band members had a strong camaraderie and an even stronger connection with their audience. Their unique blend of talent, energy, and engagement made for an unforgettable evening of live music.

My Favorite Beers

Super Smorzbier (Nitro)

Red Lion Brewery

Oh man, this kind of beer usually doesn’t match my palate… but oh man this was good. Tasting a German lager that has been conditioned on vanilla and toasted marshmallows is a unique experience. The first thing you notice is the aroma, which is a combination of sweet vanilla and toasted marshmallows with a hint of maltiness. As you take your first sip, you immediately taste the creamy and smooth texture of the beer, which complements the sweetness of the vanilla and marshmallows.

The vanilla adds a rich, creamy flavor that is balanced by the crispness of the lager. The toasted marshmallows add a depth of flavor that is reminiscent of a campfire, giving the beer a pleasant smokiness. The maltiness of the lager provides a subtle backbone to the sweetness, giving the beer a well-rounded flavor.

The aftertaste of the beer is surprisingly light, with a subtle hint of vanilla lingering on the palate. It’s not overpowering or cloying, but rather a pleasant finish that leaves you wanting more. The overall effect of the vanilla and toasted marshmallows is not overwhelming, but rather a subtle and enjoyable addition to the lager.

Absolutely phenomenal. Hope I am lucky enough to be able to try this again some day.

Promise of El Dorado IPA

Locust Lane Craft Brewery

I always love a Brut IPA. Some may consider this just a gimmicky style, a fad that has passed, but what can I say, I love the blending of the beer and dry champagne characteristics.

As you take your first sip, you’re immediately hit with a burst of fruity aroma, thanks to the El Dorado hops used in the brewing process. You can immediately detect hints of pear and watermelon, with a subtle hint of tropical fruit in the background.

The first taste is light and crisp, with a nice balance of maltiness and hoppiness. The Golden Promise malt used in the brewing process provides a smooth and easy-drinking experience, while the El Dorado hops add a layer of complexity with their fruity notes.

As you continue to drink, the flavors become more pronounced. The pineapple and mango notes come through strongly, providing a pleasant sweetness that is balanced by the slightly dry finish. The bitterness is subtle, giving the beer a clean and refreshing taste.

Overall, it’s easy to drink and the combination of Golden Promise malt and El Dorado hops creates a complex and enjoyable flavor profile. The fruity notes are not overpowering, but rather a subtle and pleasant addition to the beer. It’s a great choice for a hot summer day or as a refreshing drink after a long day.

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 beer style easily the IPA. Growing love for the DIPA, specifically.
Andrij Harasewych

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