Thirsty Eagles fans need a training camp, too

TO QUOTE Terrell Owens, I wasn’t the one who got tired during the Super Bowl last season.

Some beer-drinking Eagles fans – you know who you are – just didn’t have the stamina to make it through the big game. Sure, you worked hard all season, pounding beers and racking up the keggage. Talent alone got you into the playoffs.

But then came the final moments of the big game, and you had your hands on your knees, gagging in front of the TV.

Sad.

This year it’s gonna be different. This year, you’re going to report to training camp and get your beer gut into shape.

Work on those tapping skills. Improve your hand-mouth coordination. Run wind sprints to the bathroom.

Where to get started?

Climb into your car, bring along a designated driver and head up the Northeast Extension to Bethlehem, Pa., home of the Philadelphia Eagles training camp.

It’s an early opportunity to get up to speed with your favorite team . . . and get in shape for the demanding NFL beer-drinking schedule.

Heads up, though: Lehigh University bans alcohol on campus. (I might note, though, with questionable success: The school is the alleged birthplace of Beer Pong, the drinking game. ) In any case, forget about heavy-duty tailgating and head off campus for your favorite adult beverage. Here’s a clip-and-save guide to the local beer scene:

Bethlehem Brew Works (569 Main St., Bethlehem) is the area’s only brewpub. Its standby Fegley’s ESB is a decent thirst-quencher. Its Blastberry Wheat is a hefeweizen made with blueberries, cherries and raspberries. Downstairs, the Steelgaarden offers more than 100 Belgians after 4 p.m. Info: 610-882-1300.

The Tally Ho (205 W. 4th St., Bethlehem) is the classic campus haunt. Info: 610-865-2591. The Beef Baron (2366 Catasauqua Road, Bethlehem) serves great bar food with a decent beer selection. Info: 610-868- 8995. Our Beer Bellys (21 E. Elizabeth Ave.) is a sports bar with a zillion taps serving the usual industrial dreck. Info: 610-861-8120.

Weyerbacher (905-G Line St., Easton) is the next town over. Unfortunately, the brewery doesn’t have a bar. But you sneak over between the Eagles’ morning and afternoon training sessions for tours, between noon and 3 p.m. on Saturdays. Even if you can’t make it to the brewery, look for its bottles and drafts throughout the region.

And don’t forget to return home with souvenirs.

Shangy’s: The Beer Authority (601 E. State Ave., Emmaus) is arguably America’s biggest beer distributor, with more than 2,000 different labels. Info: 610-967-1701.

Tanczo’s Beverages (2330-40 Jacksonville Road, Bethlehem) is closer to the camp and carries a nice selection, too. Info: 610-866-8039.

Don’t want a whole case? Stop by the Sixpack Shop (1635 Broadway, Bethlehem). Info: 610-865-0500.

Dud suds

Of course, much of this pre-season beer-drinking will be for naught if the Eagles don’t get their beer concession act together at the Linc.

For all the talk of providing a local taste (cheesesteaks, etc.), the stadium doesn’t carry a single Philadelphia beer in its vast public concession area. You have to sneak into the exclusive club boxes to grab even a bottle of Pottsville’s Yuengling.

Sure, there’s plenty of other beer – tasteless BudCoorsMiller, plus a few lame imports.

But is that the best the Eagles can do? Owner Jeffrey Lurie likes to say he’s putting the best product on the field; so how come he doesn’t do the same for the thousands of thirsty fans in the stands?

The lack of locally made brew isn’t just a matter of taste, though.

Need I remind the Eagles that local taxpayers helped pay for their little palace? Part of the deal was the stadium would somehow benefit the region’s economy. Well, what better way to support local businesses than by selling their products in your stadium?

This should be a no-brainer. Even a dunce could figure out how to sell beers named Victory and Yards at a football game.

The good news is that Philadelphia-based Aramark Corp. just landed a five-year contract to handle concessions at the Linc. That’s the same concession service that is responsible for the outstanding craft beer selection across the street at the Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park.

A company spokesman said it’s still finalizing the food and beverage selection at the stadium.

C’mon Jeffrey, you’ve built a winner on the field. Now give us something decent to toast the team with.

Beer radar

Flanigan’s Boathouse in Conshohocken (113 Fayette St.) is celebrating its 15th anniversary with a Bavarian-style hefeweizen made specially for it by Phoenixville’s Sly Fox Brewery. It’s available also at the Boathouse’s Malvern location (16 Great Valley Parkway), which is marking its 10th.

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant broke ground last week for its sixth location, in Phoenixville. Look for it to open on Bridge Street early next year.

General Lafayette Inn & Brewery (6461 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill) isn’t waiting for cold weather to begin pouring its so-called mega-porter. Double Thunder, shaking the rafters at 9 percent alcohol, should be on tap by the time you read this.

Other new stuff on area shelves: Three Floyds Dreadnaught imperial IPA, Lost Coast 8-Ball Stout, Clipper City Peg Leg Imperial Stout and 25-ounce bottles of Victory Saison.

Calendar

Tomorrow: Tasting and tour at Heavyweight Brewing (1701 Valley Road, Ocean Township, N.J.). Grab a glass of this cutting-edge brewery’s spicy saison. Beer pours: 1-4 p.m. Info: 732-493-5009.

Aug. 12: Ice, Ice, Bocky Night at Grey Lodge Pub (6235 Frankford Ave., Mayfair). If you missed Sly Fox Brewery’s bock fest this spring, here’s a chance to sample six of its hefty lagers, including a pair of powerful ice bocks. Taps open: 6-10 p.m. Info: 215-624-2969.

Joe Sixpack, by Staff Writer Don Russell, was written this week with a glass of Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat. 

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