Charlie chose the ingredients for a "crisp, refreshing" kolsch debuting at the zoo this weekend.

By Mike Pomranz
July 31, 2019
Araya Diaz / Contributor/Getty Images

In a crowded U.S. beer market with over 7,000 breweries, plenty of brands turn to fun gimmicks to help get their name out — whether it's using "space yeast" or tossing in whole chunks of fried chicken or collaborating with a cult convenience store. But rarely is the brewer themselves the newsworthy twist. But don't tell that to the L.A. Zoo: This year, they've gotten some brewing help from a sloth.

"Slothen Brau" — a German-style kolsch brewed with ingredients selected by a sloth at the L.A. Zoo named Charlie — was created for this year's ninth annual Brew at the L.A. Zoo festival, billed as "L.A.'s most unique brew fest." (It's certainly the only one with a sloth beer.) The event — which will feature 40 breweries and other typical beer fest stuff as well as "pop-up zoo talks" and "animal discovery stations" — takes place this Friday, August 2 and will be one of only a couple of places where this sloth kolsch will be served. If you can't make the zoo fest, it will also be available at Simmzy's locations across the area since the brewpub chain actually made the beer. (Turns out Charlie isn't too good with brewing equipment. Or maybe he just works too slowly.)

So what ingredients did Charlie opt for? As you can see in a video posted by the L.A. Zoo, the sloth was given a range of options including roses, pears, yams, beets, zucchini, and squash. "He went straight for the roses and straight for the pear," explained Megan, an animal keeper. Simmzy's brewmaster Brian Herbertson later quipped, "I'm stoked we finally got to work with Charlie." The zoo describes the resulting kolsch as crisp and refreshing.

For the record, this isn't the first time the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens has enlisted the help of an animal to make a beer. The stunt began last year when a black bear named Ranger helped choose the ingredients for a pale ale — going with hibiscus flowers and, of course, honey.

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