Utica Zoo Brewfest celebrates with music, food and brews

Utica BrewFest

The 16th annual Utica Zoo Brewfest was a huge success on Aug. 2, 2014.  This year the event featured more than 100 beers from across the country and around the world because it was the celebration of the Zoo’s 100th anniversary.  Lively music played in the courtyard on top of the hill at 1 Utica Zoo Way and patrons circulated through several large tents filled with as many selections of beer and cider as anyone could ask for.  Food was also provided by several area eateries.

Service of the beverages was surprisingly easy as a staff of volunteers not only were quick and efficient, but fellow patrons were respectful and lines were shocking short.  The tents were quite full of people but that did not translate into any long wait times at the tap, so to speak.  Another highlight is that in spite of the heat that day, the drinks were refreshingly ice cold and served in four ounce samples so it stayed just that way until the final sip.  A slightly longer wait was to be had at the food sample tent but all involved seemed in good spirits and to think it was worth the short wait to be served.

As always, the music was a highlight.  34 Feet Deep from Canandaigua really warmed the crowd up and got people tapping feet and lightly dancing about with a variety of rock, funk and jam band styled selections.  A lovely toast was made to the Zoo’s 100 years as they wrapped up their performance.  When China Pig took the stage the great music continued with an expertly played and crowd pleasing set.  This band plays selectively and they are always a part of the draw to the Brewfest!

The best part is always the animals and people mingled with each other and the exhibits on their way through the beautiful winding pass ways of our local zoo.  The animals seemed as intrigued as the humans were and especially those in the children’s area got plenty of food, scratches and petting and seemed to enjoy the attention.  A huge bonus was the hand washing stations since, after all, it was a food and beverage sampling event.

If you’ve never been to a Utica Zoo Brewfest, it is something to consider strongly for next year.  The successful fundraiser is a benefit both to the Zoo itself and also to the community.

Melissa L. Walker
-The Fuze Magazine

Photography done by: Pete Rodriguez

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