Beers and gears

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Think beer and biking don’t mix?

Think again.

Professional bicyclists, who may be among the most aerobically fit athletes in the world, know a glass of beer is the perfect post-race thirst quencher.

It’s true, alcohol does dehydrate you. But there’s so little alcohol in beer (usually in the 5 percent range) that its other qualities outweigh the negatives.

“A good, hard race and a good, cold brew afterwards, there’s something very appealing to that,” said Ron Ruggiero, president of Tri-State Velo club.

“It’s not unusual to see a can of beer passed to riders in the middle of a race, instead of water,” Ruggiero said.

“On some tours, it’s traditional to let a rider go ahead as he approaches his hometown. He’ll meet his family at the local bar, raise a glass, and then get back into the peloton. ”

I can speak from first-hand experience about the restorative effects of a fresh brew after a long day in the saddle. A few summers ago, I took a memorable solo ride from Seattle to San Francisco (1,041 miles), and hit damn near every brewery along the way. My notebook lists 72 different beers sampled in three weeks.

And they tasted a helluva lot better than Gatorade.

So what kind of nutritional benefit do you get from a glass of beer? It’s hard to know. Brewers are not required to include nutritional info on their labels. The feds actually frown on brewers making nutritional claims about their product.

A few years ago, though, Yakima Brewing in Washington provided these details on sixpacks of Grant’s Scottish Ale 12-ouncers:

  • Calories: 145
  • Protein: 2.24 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 12.7 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 75 milligrams
  • Potassium: 195 milligrams
  • Percentage of U.S. recommended daily allowance:
  • Calories: 5.4 percent
  • Protein: 4 percent
  • Riboflavin (B2) 4.6 percent
  • Niacin: 14.6 percent
  • Folacin: 62.5 percent
  • Pyroxin (B6): 13.9 percent
  • Vitamin B12: 170 percent.

Beer Radar

Guinness workers set to lose their jobs with the closure of the company’s packaging plant are to be given free beer for up to 10 years as part of their buyout deal. The 140 workers will also receive lump-sum payments of up to $140,000 and health insurance and scholarships for schoolchildren as part of the deal. . .

Our favorite Texan party girl, Jenna Bush, apparently likes mixing drinks. The London Mirror, which visited the Austin hangout where the 19-year-old presidential daughter was last carded, says she tried to order a Texas Martini with her beer. That’s Cointreau and tequila. . .

Southern California, which is suffering a power crisis on the basketball court, is also facing blackouts this summer. A Long Beach tavern is trying to make things easier on drinkers. Its “Rolling Blackout Special” offers 50 percent off dark beer during outages. “One hour maximum. This grid only,” says the sign . . .

It might be too late to score tix by the time you read this, but tomorrow is the Great Eastern Invitational Microbrewery Festival at Stoudt’s Brewery, Adamstown, Pa. Even if it’s a sellout, there are usually spare, fairly priced ducats available from scalpers at the gate. There are two sessions, from noon to 4 p.m., and 7 to 11 p.m. Tix: $23. Info: 717-484-4387.

Calendar

June 14 – Bloomsday Stout Challenge, a blind tasting of six draft stouts. The contestants: Carlow O’Hara’s, Beamish, Murphy’s, Guinness, Yards Love, Stoudt’s Fat Dog. It’s 2-4 p.m., at McGillin’s Olde Ale House (1310 Drury St., Center City), presented by Beer Philadelphia magazine. No cover charge; stouts are $1.50 a glass, or a flight for $9. A menu of reasonably priced Irish food will be available.

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