Despite the dark rain clouds looming Saturday afternoon, the promise of unlimited beer later that day was enough to please the gods and improve the weather.
New Times' fifth-annual Brew at the Zoo would go on, rain or shine. After the skies sent a brief downpour at 7 p.m., the clouds parted, and revelers poured in. There was plenty of lingering humidity, but also beer -- lots and lots of beer.
As people arrived, they were handed a small frosted sampling cup. Once they walked through the gates, the setup was more than impressive. Dozens of tents were pitched along the lot by the Zoo Miami parking, and hundreds of attendees lined up to get a taste of the dozens of craft brands.
VIP guests were treated to a few perks, which included larger beer servings from the central bar within a fenced-off area, traditional or moscato-based sangria, and ZYR Russian vodka. The very important people could also sample some flavored shots and Trevi flavored water.
Fare from Taste of the Wild -- the Zoo Miami catering service -- was also served. But if VIPs arrived after 8:30 p.m., they missed out because Taste of the Wild had already packed up for the night.
Luckily, in the general admission area there were plenty of food options near the beer tents, including gyros, corn on the cob, arepas, kebabs, burgers, and even a Pastel Gourmet food truck. It was like a carnival, except instead of rides, there was beer, and instead of games, there was more beer.
There were myriad hoppy ales, strong IPAs, traditional pale ales, rich porters, brown brews, and many, many others.
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The crowd seemed to favor the choices from 4th Age Brewing and Daddy Brews, with people happily waiting more than 15 minutes for a sample and then circling back for another taste.
The brew wasn't the only main attraction of the night. By 10 p.m., headliner Vanilla Ice took the stage to scores of screaming partiers. The energetic rapper exclaimed, "I'm happy as hell to be here in Miami -- my town that created the bass sound!" and then busted out with his song "Born on Halloween."
A true showman, the Ice man did not disappoint. He performed classic hits such as "Ice, Ice Baby" and "Go, Ninja, Go" as he tossed water on the sweaty, dancing crowd.