The Greenville Zoo hosts several special events each year. There are ones that are more kid-friendly (like Boo in the Zoo in October) and action oriented (like Zoom through the Zoo 5k), but my favorite are the beer and wine events. And while I’ve attended Sippin’ Safari, regularly, I was always out of town for Brew in the Zoo in the past.
But in 2021 I was finally able to attend the event. And it has quickly become one of my favorite Greenville events.
Now what is Brew in the Zoo? Well it’s is an annual craft beer event that occurs after hours on a Friday night in May. In 2021, the hours for the event was 7:00pm to 10:00pm. However if you wanted to get in earlier, you could opt for the early admission tickets to get in at 6:00pm.
Ticket prices are not cheap at $50 a person. (If you want early admission expect to pay $70). And if you are a designated driver (aka you will not be getting a drink glass or be drinking), your price is at $30.
Even with these prices, I still had a great time and definitely feel like I got my money’s worth. We tried beers from about a dozen or so different breweries. Some were local/regional favorites like Catawba, 13 Stripes, & Brewery 85, while others were from a bit further away like Allagash, and there were even some new ones I hadn’t heard of before (aka Wild Leap). And each brewery brings 2-5 different beers to sample.
Brew in the Zoo has also got you covered when it comes to food. (So be sure to skip dinner before heading to the event.) There were sliders, pulled pork sandwiches, nachos, tacos, pizza, cupcakes, and more. After a couple of food tents, I was full and couldn’t eat any more.
Now we had no problem drinking as much beer as we wanted. A few places started to run out of beer or food by 8:30pm or so, but there were still plenty of other options. However I have heard that in previous years they ran out of beer within the first hour or so. That was easily 5 years ago though, so hopefully those growing pains are behind them.
The best way to be informed about tickets and the next Brew in the Zoo event is to follow the zoo on social media and be on the lookout for information about the event in early spring. I’m also signed up for their newsletter and that’s where I heard about it first.
Tips for Visiting Brew in the Zoo
Uber / get there early. The zoo doesn’t have a ton of parking. So if you are planning to drive, the lot fills up very fast. You’ll then have to park somewhere nearby (most likely in Cleveland Park) and walk over. I’d suggest to Uber but be sure to request it early as a bunch of other people may be doing the same thing.
If you want to see the animals, prioritize them first. If you want to see some animals, you’ll want to make that your priority for the first hour or so. Because by 8:30pm it’s dark and they’re not going to be out anymore. Now I’m not saying to skip the beers. But skip the ones with the long lines. The first one right inside the zoo will always have a long line. Skip that one and go to one further inside. Then go to the enclosures you want to check out first. That way you don’t miss out on seeing your favorites (mine being the red pandas).
Skip the first beer line. Most people get checked in, grab their tasting glass, and follow the crowds to the first tasting stand. But you can always come back. I tent to skip the first stand and then head back to it like an hour later when no one’s there.
Buy your ticket early. In previous years they sold out well before the event. We bought our tickets about a month before the event.