BINGHAMTON, NY — Pre-game with a wild crew, including Tennessee fainting goats and an Arctic fox, during a craft beer festival just a short drive north on Interstate 81.
The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park is home to a variety of wildlife that also includes red pandas, African penguins and mata mata turtles, and at its 13th Annual Zoo Brew on June 18, the zoo will serve a variety of beers from more than 10 local breweries at its outdoor pavilions.
“Breweries have become a very popular business within the past couple of years, so it has really made our job a lot easier because we get to invite the local breweries in to showcase their best products,” said Rachel Davenport, zoo public relations coordinator.
In addition to beer, Davenport said the evening will feature live music, games and vendors including Hungry Hound Beer Grain dog treats and BIER Club, Binghamton’s local brewer’s organization.
The zoo is open to guests from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but once the kegs come out at 5 p.m. the action moves to on-site outdoor pavilions located just outside the zoo’s gates. Multi-legged guests will be on hand too — although the zoo won’t be open to patrons during the Zoo Brew event, the ZooMobile education station will be present, complete with some of the institution’s less dangerous inhabitants.
Tickets are $35 and advance purchases include a food ticket (food can be added to tickets bought at the door for an additional $8). Admission includes 10 beer tickets for a 3-ounce pour and a souvenir glass for the first 300 guests. Designated driver tickets that include food can be purchased for $10. Advance admission can be purchased at RossParkZoo.com.
For the brew portion of the event, Davenport said Zoo Brew 2016 welcomes Bandwagon Brewery (Ithaca, New York), Empire Brewing Company (Syracuse, New York) and Binghamton Brewing Co.
Binghamton Brewing owner, Kristen Lyons, said this is the second year her brewery will take part in the event. The tap at the brewery’s 15 Ave. B, Johnson City, New York, location features 12 different beers, but Lyons said their pale ale (which they’ll have samples of at Zoo Brew) is Binghamton Brewing Co. 101.
“Our Citra Pale Ale is our flagship, it’s a great introduction to the type of beer we have at our brewery,” Lyons said.
The food served at Zoo Brew is provided by Binghamton Hots. Owner/operator David Whalen said his Zoo Brew menu features burgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad and pulled pork. Whalen recommends his specialty Hot’s Burger for first-time customers.
“Two fresh beef patties cooked any way you’d like with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle on a potato roll,” Whalen said.
For more information about the zoo or the Zoo Brew event, call 607-724-5461.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO:
What: Zoo Brew at Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park.
When: 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 18.
Where: Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park, 185 Park Ave., Binghamton, New York.
How much: Admission to the Zoo Brew event is $35 in advance and includes 10 beer tickets and food from Binghamton Hots. A $10 non-drinker/designated driver ticket is available that includes food. Tickets purchased at the door (not in advance) do not include food — add-ons are $8