WaZoo 2012: Where The Wild Beers Are
Florida summers are unpredictable, and the animals at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo know it. On any given day, our weather can go from a sunny afternoon to an all-out monsoon in a matter of minutes. For one night this summer, the animals had the night off, as Tampa Bay’s beer connoisseurs battled the elements to try more than 280 beers from around the world during the 17th annual WaZoo Beer Fest, named one of the top ten beer festivals in the country by USA Today.
The weather on August 4 looked promising throughout the day for the herd of eager beer drinkers waiting in line to purchase tickets to sample unlimited suds and food at the zoo, located off Sligh Ave.
But, Mother Nature had other plans, as a thunderstorm moved in just before the event opened its gates at 7:30 p.m., knocking out power to the entire zoo for about two hours and leaving the more than 4,000 in attendance moving through the event like animals in the wild, engulfed in darkness once the sun went down. Luckily, there was beer.
Among the myriad of booths were World of Beer, with one location in Tampa Palms, and The Brass Tap, located in the Shops at Wiregrass, each with numerous different types of beer from around the globe on draft.
More than 80 breweries were represented, including Tampa’s own Cigar City Brewery, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Cold Storage Craft Brewery and Odessa’s Big Storm Brewery, as well as Gainesville’s Swamp Head Brewery. Other notable tasting booths included Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Anchor Brewing Co., Brooklyn Brewery and Bell’s Brewery, just to name a few.
“Despite the rain, which caused some chaos, Wazoo was a great time!” says Melissa Wroble, a bartender at Ciccio’s Lodge in Tampa Palms. “You can’t go wrong with so many different beers, delicious food, music and your best friends!”
Jordan Hoeffner, another Ciccio’s bartender, also enjoyed the festivities.
“When they say ‘Rain or Shine,’ it’s good to be prepared for both situations,” she says.
Proceeds from the event went to benefit the zoo, a nonprofit organization. Thanks to support for WaZoo, the organization raised more than $150,000, exceeding its goal and budget expectations.
Cheers to the Lowry Park Zoo, all the sponsors and, most importantly, all who came out to support a great event for an even better cause!
For more information on the Lowry Park Zoo, located at 1101 W. Sligh Ave in Tampa, please visit LowryParkZoo.com or call 935-8552.