Put on some walking shoes and explore the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden with a beer in hand!

From 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, the garden will host “The Santa Barbara ^BEER Garden: A Tasting Tour” — a mini beer festival featuring seven local breweries chosen to complement the native plants and unique atmosphere of the garden’s living displays including the wildflower meadow, desert section, Mission Creek Dam and redwood grove.

Zachary Rosen, festival designer, beer columnist and cicerone, will be on hand to help guests learn the art of abstract beer pairing in this amazing setting.

Featured breweries include Island Brewing Co., Pure Order Brewing Co., Santa Barbara Brewing Co., Surf Brewery, The Brewhouse, The Dudes Brewery and Telegraph Brewing Co.

“I first visited the garden several years back and immediately fell in love with the place. I began dreaming of a festival where specific beers could be paired with each section of the garden,” Rosen said. “Then last year I was given the chance to test-drive the concept with a smaller, private event at the garden for the Hutton Parker Foundation, and it was a huge success.”

The Feb. 22 event represents the first public beer festival ever presented by the garden. Dr. Steve Windhager, SBBG executive director (and beer lover!), hopes it will become an annual event.

“Exploring the garden’s acres of native plant displays with an expertly paired beer in hand is my idea of a perfect walk,” he said.

Guests can purchase an online “tasting tour ticket” by clicking here, which includes a garden logo beer glass, a program with tasting notes, and a map outlining the locations of the featured breweries and the libations being poured.

Rosen and Dr. Windhager will lead informal tours of the different stations during the event or visitors may wander the trails on their own. Food tickets for a selection of dishes prepared to complement some of the featured beers provided by Country Catering Co. may be purchased at the event for an additional fee. Menu items include Honey Ale Battered Fish Tacos, Beer Simmered Bratwurst, and Braised Pork Sandwiches along with a Kona Coffee Ice Cream and Porter Beer Float for dessert. Live music will be provided by the Ventura-based acoustic trio, Waters Risin’.

Tickets are limited to just 200 guests and are only available online by clicking here or via phone by calling 805.682.4726 x102. The cost is $50 for non-SBBG members, $35 for members and $20 for designated drivers. Parking at the garden is limited, and all guests are encouraged to carpool and use a designated driver. Taxi service will also be available. All guests must be 21 and over. The garden will be closed to the general public on Feb. 22 from noon to 5 p.m. to accommodate this special event. All proceeds benefit the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s general operating fund.

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is located at 1212 Mission Canyon Road in Santa Barbara. As attendance is limited by our conditional use permit, visitors are always encouraged to carpool or use public transportation via MTD’s bus No. 22 on the weekends.

— Joni Kelly is the communications manager for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.