Here’s the Best Place to Get a Craft Beer in Animal Kingdom

by | Jul 15, 2021 | Animal Kingdom, WDW Blog

Are you on the hunt for a tasty craft beer in Animal Kingdom? Skip the waiting list and high prices at Nomad Lounge and grab a delicious beer at Thirsty River Bar—and take it to go.

Animal Kingdom has no shortage of trails to walk while spotting hippos, waving to gorillas, and wishing you could swim with the otters. But in the hot Florida sun, a beer sure does make the experience all the better.

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There are multiple spots to grab a beer in Animal Kingdom, but Thirsty River Bar, a hidden gem in Asia, is the number one place to get your craft beer on while spying on meerkats.

Where Is Thirsty River Bar?

bottled beers at thirsty river bar

The bottled offerings at Thirsty River Bar. Photo by Timothy Moore

If you’re coming from Kali River Rapids toward Expedition Everest, Thirsty River Bar will be on your left shortly before arriving at Everest. It’s tucked away to the side, so it’s easy to overlook.

But this is one spot you don’t want to miss. In addition to the craft beer, Thirsty River Bar offers light beer, seltzers, wine, and a signature cocktail. When I was there, it was the Yeti Sunset with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, strawberry, and lychee lemonade ($13 plus tax).

The Best Beer in Animal Kingdom

tampa bay old elephant foot ipa - best craft beer in animal kingdom

The best craft beer in Animal Kingdom is easily the Old Elephant Foot IPA. Photo by Timothy Moore

I had spent the day prior sampling the finest of Disney Springs’ cocktails (and wishing I had brought a toothbrush along for the adventure), so I was ready to start my late-morning Animal Kingdom drinking with something a little hoppier and a little more bitter.

Enter the Tampa Bay Old Elephant Foot IPA at Thirsty River Bar. This hoppy but refreshing beer was one of four offered on draft; you can also choose a Bud Lite, Kona Hanalei Island IPA, and Safari Amber, but when in Rome near Tampa …

draft beers at thirsty river bar

Here’s what’s on draft at Thirsty River Bar. Photo by Timothy Moore

You can also get a few beers by the bottle, including Kona Longboard Island Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and Funky Buddha Florida Hefeweizen, plus a White Claw (Black Cherry, which is admittedly the best; sorry, Mango fans).

Drinking my Beer in Animal Kingdom

The Tampa Bay Old Elephant Foot IPA was light but hoppy, with a fresh bite that was the perfect contrast to the previous day’s sugar overload. I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet in my rush to rope-drop Flight of Passage (and knock out five other attractions in 90 minutes), so this beer hit me harder than I expected.

The ABV of Old Elephant Foot IPA is 6.7%, pretty typical for an India Pale Ale. But it’s on draft, and it’s hot in Florida, so it’s so easy to drink this one too fast … like I did. So be careful, folks. It’s a jungle out there.

Other Places to Get Adult Beverages in Animal Kingdom

If you aren’t stalking down craft beer or wine, you may be more pleased with the adult beverages over in Africa; Dawa Bar is famous for its refreshing cocktails. You can also grab a DOLE Whip with rum at Tamu Tamu.

alcoholic dole whip animal kingdom

The King’s Cooler at Tamu Tamu is DOLE Whip with a twist. Photo by Timothy Moore

Over in Pandora, check out Pongu Pongu for a bioluminescent drink, like the Mo’ara Margarita, or another draft beer. Nomad Lounge is famous for its delicious drinks; you may just have to put your name on a waiting list to get inside.

moara margarita pongu pongu animal kingdom

Photo courtesy of Disney

Do you have a favorite beer in Animal Kingdom? Share your Animal Kingdom drink tips on our Facebook page!

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Written by Timothy Moore

Written by Timothy Moore

Boom baby! Timothy Moore is excited to serve as your managing editor and resident Disney Renaissance expert. When he's not drinking around the world at EPCOT or gobbling down Mickey Waffles for breakfast, he can usually be found with his partner hiking and kayaking the great outdoors, putting off writing his novel by playing Nintendo Switch, or telling his dogs Goomba and Blooper that they're the best boys in the world ad nauseam (because they are).