Monday, October 7, 2013

Brew at the Jacksonville Zoo

This past Friday we attended our first Brew At the Zoo at the Jacksonville Zoo and I have to say it was a great time!  Even better than expected.  This is the 7th year they've run the event, first we've known about it, but they definitely know what they're doing.

The event sold out online and some friends of friends that were there with us said that there were 1800 tickets sold online and they were still taking more in person admissions on the evening of the event.  Despite the large number of people, it was not at all over crowded, since the food/beer booths were spread along a very large portion of the zoo. 

Tickets were $55 each and for only an extra $65, you could add an overnight stay/free shuttle package at the new Aloft hotel.  The hotel/shuttle was a no-brainer for us and well worth it! 

Upon arrival at the hotel, we were taken via shuttle less than 10 mins later and it only took about 10 mins to get to the zoo.  We arrived at exactly 7pm, when the event begins for general folks.  For $80 you could get VIP passes which allowed you in at 6:30 and you got a full size glass instead of the smaller sampler glass, but honestly there is really no need for the VIP access.

The price includes unlimited food, unlimited beer samples and you also get 3 free drink coupons.  Unless you drink mixed drinks, we found that none of the 8 or so of us hanging out as a group used them.  Even with the small sampler glasses you see in the pictures below, being able to just walk from station to station resulted in intoxication rather quickly.  By 8:30 we were all saying, "It's only 8:30?!  We still have 2 hours left?!  Whew..."

The huge selection of different food choices and different brewery/beer choices was quite impressive.  I'd say we probably only hit up a quarter of the food places and probably half of the beer stands and we definitely had our fill.  Some of the items we had were tacos, pulled pork sliders, chips and salsa, ribs, gourmet chips like plantain chips, beet chips, philly cheese steak sliders, baked ziti, seafood mac and there were several dessert stations, even a chocolate fountain from Peterbrooke.

There was also 3 different bands setup along the way and we didn't realize it but you could check out the Stingray petting area and could feed the Giraffes for free as well at the beginning of the event.  Something to shoot for next time.

We were really surprised by all the different food and beer choices.  Everyone was very friendly and by the end of the evening pretty toasty.  It was an excellent evening and if you're ever in the area when it's going on, definitely check it out.  We look forward to attending again in the future!

Here is a list of all the vendors present:

Photos of the Aloft room.  It is part of the Starwood brand of Hotels.  They have a very trendy/boutique feel with a real active bar.  We've hung out with friends at the lobby bar at a different location for a night out before.  For the price, it was an amazing deal. 

King size bed, there is a big flat panel TV on the opposite wall

View from the room
Complete with safe, coffee and magazines
Nice bowl sink and great smelling soap
Modern stand-up shower with big shower head
Wifey and my buddy Sean...cheers!
Me and wifey, complete with her blinking/glowing bling ring!
Lots of peeps
Mixed drink station
Band playing.  Great setup, great ambiance, great peeps, great time!


Mock family said...

Great recap! What a fun and different event!

Jen said...

Sounds great! Lots of vendors it seems!

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