Beer Radar – June 22, 2001

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Stick a cork in it

Looks like another brewpub is about to bite the dust. New Road Brewhouse in Collegeville reportedly is shutting down its brewing operation. It’ll sell its equipment and continue as a restaurant.

Head brewer Brian O’Reilly, who created the brewpub’s award-winning Perkiomen Pils, has already left. He’s on his way to Victory Brewing.

“It doesn’t make sense,” O’Reilly said. “I can’t justify the closing as a sound economic decision. If I could have found a way to sell beer downtown, the sales alone would have paid my salary. ”

Stout champ

Who makes the best stout in Philadelphia? On one day at one Center City tavern, it was Yard’s Love Stout. The Manayunk brew beat out O’Hara’s Celtic, Guinness, Murphy’s Irish, Beamish and Stoudt’s Fat Dog at last week’s Bloomsday Stout Challenge. A blind-tasting of patrons at McGillin’s Old Ale House (1310 Drury St., Center City) picked Yards over Stoudt’s by one vote.

Honor thy brew

American Beer Month, an official excuse to drink your favorite suds throughout July, is approaching. It kicks off in Philadelphia next Friday with a pub crawl sponsored by Ale Street News. Beer drinkers and brewers will rally at Rittenhouse Square from 2 to 4 p.m. before heading off on a tour of Center City beer joints.

Why Johnny can’t read

On the topic of underage drinking, reporter Andrew Osborn filed this report from Brussels for The Guardian of London:

Belgian schools are to start supplying pupils with beer at lunchtime, believing it to be healthier than fizzy drinks.

A Flemish beer lovers’ club has approached 30 schools and suggested that they substitute low-alcohol beer called tafelbier for sugary drinks such as lemonade and Coca-Cola.

At least two schools have already agreed and one has launched a pilot scheme.

Almost 80 percent of children who took part in the pilot scheme in Belgium’s Limburg province said they had enjoyed having beer instead of a soft drink, and other schools are expected to follow suit in September.

According to Rony Langenaeken, chairman of De Limburgse Biervrienden, the beer club behind the scheme, pupils will be able to choose between lager and bitter, neither of which will be stronger than 2.5 percent alcohol.

Citing a Belgian study showing that soft drinks and fruit juice can increase the risk of obesity and even cancer in children, Langenaeken argues that beer is healthier because it contains less sugar. “It’s good for their figure and very healthy as well. ”

Fatal sips

Heading for Tanzania this summer? Stay away from the Rubisi. It’s a homemade beer made with bananas, and authorities say at least five people keeled over dead after drinking the stuff last week. The batch was contaminated with an unknown poison.

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