One of the most unexpected venues that craft beer has infiltrated is also one of the most unique spots in the city: the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
At the exotic enclave within Griffith Park, you can find animals such as Masai giraffes to red-rumped agoutis — and now you can also find rotating taps of craft beer among the flora and fauna.
Executive chef Brad Robertson has championed the addition of local craft beer to the zoo since he started overseeing the food service in 2014.
“We’re trying to expand the footprint of beer in the zoo,” Robertson said. “I’d love to see more local breweries involved. I’d love to be a testing ground for all the new up-and-coming breweries opening in the city.”
Local breweries such as Golden Road Brewing, Eagle Rock Brewing and Angel City Brewery are featured alongside San Diego craft powerhouses Stone Brewing Co, St. Archer and others.
Cans of California craft brews are available at various spots around the park, but located just inside the zoo’s entrance is one of the best deals on craft beer in L.A. At flagship eatery Reggie’s Bistro — named for the zoo’s resident American alligator, rescued from Harbor City's Lake Machado in 2007 — you can get a pint of craft on draught for under $7 — less than most L.A. gastropubs would charge.
“If you look at our selection, all [the beers] are light and refreshing,” says Robertson. “It gets hot at the zoo, and there are a lot of hills, so we push witbiers, blondes, hefeweizens and stuff like that.”
Draught selections are also available near the top of one of these hills in the Mahale Café near the giraffes and lions. It might just be the most wild spot in Los Angeles to sip a local brew.