Real consumer beer ratings

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Need someone to hold your hand at the beer store and you don’t trust Consumer Reports mag? Try one of these sources.

Beverage Testing Institute – ratings monthly in All About Beer and archived at www.tastings.com. A blind-tasting with a 100-point scale. The ratings are among the most widely followed in the industry but offer obscure notes. (“Sweet and chewy up front, with a rich, sweetly malty espresso . . . “) Top rated beer: New Glarus Brewing Co. Wisconsin Belgian Red.

Gak’s Beer List – on the Web at beerismylife.com. Ratings of nearly 4,000 beers using a 20-point system. About 50 of them get top ratings, including Guinness Stout, Victory HopDevil IPA and La Fin du Monde.

Beer Philadelphia – at www.beerphiladelphia.com. No ratings, but pithy descriptions of scores of beers, most available locally. Its description for Lowenbrau Dark: “Someone found a brown crayon and dipped it in the Lowenbrau Light. ”

BeerFlavor.Com – Ignore the goofy-looking bartender and head for the interactive beer-drinking decision guide. When you can’t choose between a porter and a stout, it’ll lead you to the perfect cold one.

RateBeer.Com – Ratings – or, more accurately, a popularity contest – of more than 8,000 beers. Top beer: Hair of the Dog Adam Beer.

Ohhhmyhead.org – The “home of the most skewed beer ratings on the Web,” its 3,000-plus beers include obscure European delights. Top beer: Nils Oscar No:5 Julöl 1999 Imperial Stout.

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A beer contest of a completely different sort will be foisted upon an unsuspecting public tomorrow at Nodding Head Brewery and Restaurant.

It’s the Royal Stumble ’01, a knockdown beer-drinking contest-cum-wrestling match. This event should be refereed by Mad Dog Tearson!

Brewers will show up in costume to encourage raucous fans to down their brews. First keg kicked wins the title belt.

Last year, it went to General Lafayette Inn & Brewery. Several contenders have vowed the Whitemarsh brewpub’s Chris Leonard will be lunching this year on a knuckle sandwich.

It’s a long afternoon, so all the beers are under 7 percent alcohol. The fun starts at 2 p.m. Cover is $25 ($20 in advance), and includes beer-friendly food. Nodding Head is at 1516 Sansom St.

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It’s Christmas in July next week at Victory Brewing.

On Wednesday night, a keg of Old Horizontal 2000 barleywine will be tapped for elves who gather at the brewpub (420 Acorn Lane, Downingtown). They’ll decorate a Christmas tree and have take-home growlers of this tasty winter warmer.

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