CHICAGO — Lincoln Park Zoo and DryHop Brewers are partnering on the release of a new beer to raise funds for Puerto Rican parrot conservation as this species’ habitat was devastated from Hurricane Maria this past fall. This is the fifth consecutive year that the zoo and DryHop are collaborating on a beer; in 2017, a Smoked Maple Imperial White Ale was brewed to support polar bears and climate change awareness and celebrate the opening of the Walter Family Arctic Tundra, a habitat for polar bears at Lincoln Park Zoo.
On Saturday, May 12, “Coco Loro,” the new beer, a Coconut Milk Stout with Puerto Rican spiced rum flavors, will be exclusively released at Zoo-ologie: Walk on the Wild Side, the Auxiliary Board of Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual signature fundraiser. DryHop Brewers Executive Chef Will Befort will also serve Mole Rojo Braised Beef Short Ribs over Coconut Rice to pair with the Milk Stout. The beer will then be released at DryHop (3155 N. Broadway) on Wednesday, May 16 at 5 p.m.; available on draft and to-go in 32oz crowlers and 64oz growlers. For each pint of “Coco Loro” sold, DryHop will donate a dollar to Lincoln Park Zoo’s critical work to help save Puerto Rican parrots from extinction. More beer release details can be found here.
“Coco Loro” was inspired by the exotic home of Puerto Rican parrots, specifically the flavors of spiced rum. “Coco” translates to “coconut” in Spanish, while “Loro” translates to “parrot,” a homage to the parrots’ native Puerto Rican habitat. To start, DryHop amped up a traditional Milk Stout with orange peel and lactose sugar in the boil. This lends citrus notes and a silky and creamy mouthfeel. Then, the beer was dry spiced post-fermentation with a wicked combination of Puerto Rican spiced sum flavors including toasted coconut, cinnamon, fresh ginger, and vanilla bean.
For more than a decade, Lincoln Park Zoo has been working to ensure the survival of the critically endangered Puerto Rican parrot using science-based methodology. After the wild population of Puerto Rican parrots fell to about 24 birds in 1967 due to poaching, habitat loss, hurricanes and competition for nesting cavities, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) initiated the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program. Beginning captive breeding with 13 parrots in 1972, the program has been successful in bolstering the population to about 700 birds at two aviaries and three wild-release sites in Puerto Rico.
”The Puerto Rican parrot is not only an incredible species, but also a cultural icon in Puerto Rico,” said Lincoln Park Zoo Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds Sunny Nelson. “With the recent devastation of Hurricane Maria, it is more important than ever we do our best to ensure Puerto Rican parrots have a habitat in which they can flourish, nest and rear offspring in order for this population to thrive and avoid extinction.”
Lincoln Park Zoo’s Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology began providing population analysis support for the recovery program in 2007. Since then, the zoo’s Population Management Center (PMC), which also supports population management within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), has assumed an important role in ensuring the growth, health, genetic diversity and longevity of the Puerto Rican parrot population.
“Given the Puerto Rican parrot’s critically endangered status, we felt that our 5th collaboration with Lincoln Park Zoo be a beer that recognizes the species’ in a special way. By incorporating the unique flavor profile of Puerto Rican rum with a Milk Stout, the beer becomes a colorful and complex ode to the Puerto Rican parrot. We hope our support of the only remaining native parrot in Puerto Rico helps with all of the zoo’s conservation efforts in that part of the world,” said DryHop Brewers Director of Brewing Operations Brant Dubovick.
“Coco Loro” will only be available while it lasts at Zoo-ologie on Saturday, May 12, and at DryHop Brewers, starting Wednesday, May 16 at 5 p.m. Cheers!
Past DryHop-Lincoln Park Zoo collaboration beers:
- 2014: “I’m Not a Raccoon!” beer benefitting the Red Panda Wish List
- 2015: “Take Me to Your Lemur” beer benefitting the Crowned Lemur Wish List
- 2016: “Chimp Off the Old Block” beer benefitting the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes
- 2017: “Ursus Mapletimus” beer benefitting polar bears and climate change awareness