This past Saturday, Sept. 23, the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) hosted an event called “Brews, Blues, and Botany” that explained the link between beer and botany while also giving attendees the opportunity to try out many different beers and ciders and explore surrounding exhibitions.

The Bronx-based green space, which is the largest botanical garden of any city in the United States, hosted the event as part of its annual, three-day “Last Day of Summer: Music and Beer Bash.”

The event featured scientists and botanists from the NYBG who gave talks on the relationship between botanical ingredients and beer, and the influence the beverage has had over the course of human history.

Brian Boom, a scientist at the NYBG, led a talk on the myriad ingredients that are used to make beer. “Hops, barley, and cacao are just some of the ingredients that some breweries use,” he said. “There’s really no limit to what you can make a beer out of, as demonstrated by a lot of ‘extreme’ microbreweries today.”

As an example, Boom used the many participating breweries to illustrate how different beers can be. Big names of the industry were present, such as Heineken, Dos Equis, and MillerCoors.

For those that are more partial towards cider, breweries like Angry Orchard and Woodchuck Cider were happy to provide alternatives. None of the products from these breweries can be said to truly taste the same.

“With Oktoberfest right around the corner, it’s really a great opportunity to introduce people to our brews,” said Paul MacAuliffe, representative of Paulaner Brauhaus, a well-known German brewery that was handing out free samples.


In the background, The Paul Josephs Band played three sets of soulful live blues in the middle of a large open green space. Adults laid on NYBG blankets around the stage, engaging in conversation with friends while sipping beer from their NYBG mugs.

Even younger kids, though unable to drink, could be a part of the event. They threw rings at painted empty bottles to score points in NYBG’s version of Outdoor Ring Toss. Similarly, they threw bolas at ladders in Ladder Golf.

To go with your beer, the NYBG team sold refreshments and some snacks such as pretzels and sandwiches. They also brought in a food truck that sold an assortment of fries. Classic, chili and truffle are just some of the styles in which you could order your fries.

“The Last Day of Summer: Music and Beer Bash” ended Sunday, Sept. 24 with a second day of “Brews, Blues, and Botany.” Ticket prices for members this year was a $15 charge for the sampling mug. Non-members paid an additional charge of $28 for an all-garden pass.

This all-garden pass also included access to NYBG’s separate blockbuster exhibition, “Chihuly.” The exhibition consists of 20 works of art from varying artists. These canvasses capture actual vistas that can be found throughout the garden. It gave attendees of “Blues, Brews, and Botany” a reason to explore the gardens before reaching the location of the exhibition.