Inside the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s New Hops Craft Beer Garden

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The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has a new way to enjoy the park: Hops, a 130-seat craft beer garden that features a handful of local brews, plus national beers and a variety of locally and sustainably sourced food items.

“Cincinnati is a beer town, and we’re thrilled to expand our partnerships to offer visitors some selections that are brewed locally,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard in a press release.

Hops offers beer on tap from locals MadTree, Fifty West, Braxton, 3 Points and HighGrain, as well as brews from cities across the U.S., including breweries Goose Island, Breckenridge, Elysian and Golden Road.

And in addition to booze, Hops also serves food with a focus on sustainability.

“Our main restaurant, The Base Camp Café, has been named the Greenest Restaurant in America, and we’re going for a 4-star rating from the Green Restaurant Association for Hops," said Jordan Miller, general manager of the zoo's Service Systems Associates, in the same press release. "Food operation will be disposable free, with real silverware and plates instead of single-use plastics. We’ll grow our own herbs, and source produce, cheeses and meats locally.”

Hops' food menu features artisanal flatbread pizzas, oven-roasted meatballs and marinara, oven-fired chicken wings, caprese salad, roasted cauliflower and sharable pretzels and beer cheese. The beer garden window also offers grab-and-go items for hungry folks on a mission.

The project is a part of the zoo's More Home to Roam campaign, which is a "$150-million capital campaign with the goal to provide better homes for our animals and a better Zoo for you," according to the website.

By next spring, visitors to Hops will be able to enjoy views of the Roo Valley kangaroo walk-about, a penguin habitat and the Klimb rope course from the multi-tiered deck.

| Photos by Hailey Bollinger