Friday, July 22, 2011

Calendar note: Lions, tigers & beers, oh my

A menagerie of Jersey animal-named craft breweries at this Saturday's Summer Ale Festival at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Flying Fish ... River Horse ... Cricket Hill, plus Triumph (think of its Pennsylvania brewpubs for this one) and Climax Brewing are on the card for the fundraiser festival, now in its third year. (Alas, bad news if you don't have a ticket: it's sold out.)

The event is a special one for Climax owner Dave Hoffmann. Dave's a huge fan and supporter of zoos (the big cats are a personal favorite of his) and enjoys putting zoo tours on his itinerary whenever he travels.

"I've been to so many zoos ... San Diego, I went to a couple of really big zoos in Europe, couple of big zoos in Canada. I've been all over the place, lots of zoos," he says.

These days, Dave does fewer festivals than he did when he launched his Roselle Park-based brewery 15 years ago. But he jumped at the invitation to be part of the brewery lineup for last year's edition of the zoo festival and again this year.

He gives the Philadelphia Zoo high marks.

"At the Philly zoo you can get real close to the animals, like the big cats, the gorillas. Whereas in most of the other zoos, they're kinda far away. It's a really good zoo, very well kept," he says.

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