Cocktails & Spirits

Brew at the Zoo, April 30

View photos from Brew at the Zoo 2011 here.

This past Saturday night, you could have removed all wildlife from Zoo Miami and it still would have been overrun by animals: a species known as frat boyalis to be exact. Said crazy mammal was observed square-dancing to Otis Day & the Knights, originally a fictional band in Animal House that's now legitimately touring; participating in beer pong and animal-mating-call contests; and even hot-boxing a porta-potty (we kid you not).

We began the night as sincere beer enthusiasts, doing obnoxious things such as swirling the samples in plastic cups and smelling the aroma. But inevitably the long lines at several stations gave way to a Darwinian survival of the fittest in which our only goal was to secure as many beer samples as possible while avoiding giant crowds. In other words, we ended up drinking a lot of Pabst Blue Ribbon while chatting up the friendly reps in trucker hats offering rides aboard an antique car.

But prior to our defeatism, we sampled several brews from around the world, including Estrella Damm from Spain, Tiger Beer from Singapore, Chimay from Belgium, Chang from Thailand, and dozens of others. Our favorite was a delicate, malty Longboard Island Lager from Hawaiian microbrewery Kona Brewing Company.

And the food proved gratifying in the greasy, overindulgent manner of county-fair grub but with a little added sophistication. Deep-fried pickles, pulled-pork sliders with bacon coleslaw, mini corn dogs, chicken and beef pinchos, and toasted marshmallow "s'mores" brownies were served in the VIP area. On the general admission grounds, chunky arepas reigned supreme.

The animals were wisely kept away from the drunken masses, but a few creatures, including a cheetah and an insanely huge snake that could have easily devoured one of the people holding it, were brought onstage early in the evening. But only a pack of deranged baboons could have provided better entertainment than the crowd.

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Gabriela Garcia