Within a minute of laying down our picnic basket, blanket, and chairs at Santa Ana Zoo’s Brew at the Zoo event, I’m happy to see a few familiar faces. Next to us is chef Justin Miller of Pizzeria Ortica, beer in hand, beard, and his two toddlers holding an impromptu yelling contest. His beautiful wife Gina is rocking a baby bjorn, gently moving side to side to the music as one does with a baby, and, oh yes…also a beer in hand. The band on tonight’s docket is a cover band; ’90s to 2000 covers, yet sounded tight playing freedom rock tunes of yesteryear. “Is this freedom rock? TURN IT UP!” I yell, hoping other dads in the vicinity will get my MTV joke from back when MTV played music videos.
Most Sunday nights throughout July, the zoo hosts these family-friendly events. With a dizzy moshpit of children in front of the band, Mom and Dad can relax and do some quality local beer-tasting, complete with a picnic from home. We opt for some premade Trader Joe’s salads and salami sandwiches, and some sort of brownie chips…a new invention worthy of a try.
Two local breweries pour at the event for a suggested $10 donation on top of the entry fee; tonight is Valiant Brewing Co. and Ambitious Ales (which is yet to open in West Anaheim). During the event, the zoo is open for a sunset stroll, plus there’s a kiddie train and carousel.
The next few events:
- July 10 The Bruery and Bootlegger’s Brewery with the Doo-Wah Riders (Country) with The Bruery and Bootlegger’s Brewing
- July 24 Full Spectrum (60s-70s) with Noble Ale Works & Left Coast Brewing
- July 31 Sound Bytes (Disco/Funk) with Cismontane Brewing Co. & Barley Forge Brewing Co.
Tickets and information are at www.santaanazoo.org/sunsets.htm