Visitors to the Elmwood Park Zoo will now be able to sample two Prism Brewing Company beers while enjoying a day at the zoo. In planning for over a year, on Thursday, August 20, 2015, the Norristown, Pennsylvania zoo held its “Beer Premiere” to introduce Prism’s “Tall Blonde Ale” and “Bison Brown Ale.”
The “Tall Blonde Ale” is a light colored, easy drinking ale, symbolizing Elmwood Park Zoo’s giraffes who live there from Memorial Day until Labor Day. The “Bison Brown Ale” is a flavorful, darker hued beer, similar to a Samuel Smiths’s Nut Brown Ale, and pays homage to the four (4) bison in residence.
Rob DeMaria, owner and brewer at Prism, was on hand during the premiere and explained, “This was a great opportunity for us to partner with another local institution to give back to the community.” And good news – he indicated that there will be more varieties of beer to come.
Currently, the animal themed beers are served from the “Zoo Brew” stand, located near the Bison pen. A small beer garden with picnic tables is found next to the taps, and according to Elmwood Park Zoo Executive Director and CEO Albert J. Zone, “We’ll be expanding the beer garden to provide more space for our visitors to enjoy the brews.” The expansion plans include additional picnic tables, high-top tables, and strings of Edison lights” explained Zone. Nearby, one of the Zoo’s “Treetop Adventures” zip line courses concludes next to the “Zoo Brew” stand; anyone over the age of 21 who completes the course is offered $1 off a beer.
Eric Donovan, Guest Services Director, said that the Zoo had obtained the liquor license last year, and as a fan of craft beer, he wanted to use it to serve a local brew. “Zoos are not just for children. We wanted to enhance our adult visitors’ experience.” Jennifer Conti, Development Director, knew that if they wanted local craft, “it had to be Prism.” As they worked with Prism to plan the collaboration, they decided that the beer should be approachable and suited for walking around the zoo – “We’re not throwing a party, we’re just complimenting the experience,” Donovan explained. Visitors are not the only ones who are benefitting from the joint venture – the spent grains from brewing these beers are served to the bison who reportedly enjoy it as well.
Founded in 1924, the Elmwood Park Zoo is run by the Norristown Zoological Society, a non-profit organization, and sees over 400,000 visitors annually. In addition to the newly released Prism brews, you can experience more craft beer at the Zoo at their eighth annual Oktoberfest and Beer Tasting Festival on September 12, 2015, from noon to 4pm. More details and tickets for the event can be found here: http://www.elmwoodparkzoo.org/event/204.
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