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Photos By Armando Gallardo, Words By Julie Espinosa

For the ninth consecutive year, Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) hosted the annual Brew at the Zoo in which proceeds benefit animal care, education, conservation science, and sustainability efforts at the National Zoo in Woodley Park.

Brew participants got to try 74 beers from some of the area’s top breweries, as well as complimentary soda and water for those who needed a break or were driving. In all, the FONZ calculated that they served 162 kegs or 2511 gallons, and raised more than $100,000 during this year’s edition.

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Attendees got the chance to enjoy live music from a pretty eclectic selection of bands, purchase all kinds of culinary surprises from food trucks, play games, learn a thing or two about our furry and not-so-furry friends, play with animals, and check out several entertainment acts, all while sipping on some cold brewskies.

One of the crowd’s favorites was the sword swallower, who kept the ticket holders on their toes as he delicately inserted all kinds of sharp objects into his mouth — including one with fire on top and which he requested the help of one of the attendees to take out. A spectacle not made for the faint of heart.

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Port City Brewing Company had their annual beer naming contest, which was won by a fellow with the Twitter handle @SenorPeanut. We aren’t sure if he brought his cane and top hat, but he certainly came up with a name perfectly fitted for these cyber times: O-Line Ale.

At 65 bucks a ticket, this event sold out quickly, which makes perfect sense when you think about the setup: pay the entrance fee, get a mug, and consume as much beer as you can from the 70+ beer selection. For those who weren’t interested in raising their glasses, or who might have been allergic to alcohol, FONZ also offered a limited amount of ‘designated driver tickets’ in an effort to promote driving only when sober. Well done on that one, FONZ!! M.A.D.D. would be proud.

Brew at the Zoo is now one of those summer traditions in D.C. which are more than worth the price. We certainly can’t wait for next years’ edition to bring more beers, food trucks, entertainers and, of course, animals.

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