Stein-lugging and other beer records

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LAST WEEK’S COLUMN about the world’s strongest beer had me thinking about some other classic beer records. The fastest chugger, the biggest can collection, the most pints balanced on a man’s head – you know, the fun, occasionally idiotic achievements that could only be inspired by, well, beer.

Like, how many beer steins can a person carry while walking across a room?

For several years, the Guinness world record for beer-stein carrying was held by Anita Schwarz, a Bavarian waitress who managed to lug 16 full liters of lager while walking 40 meters (about 110 feet). In 2008, she pushed that record to an incredible 19 liters.

Think of it: Nineteen glass liters filled with beer weigh almost 100 pounds. Watching the online videos, I’d say Schwarz weighs 140, tops. She grips seven steins in each hand, with five more stacked on top of them, and sloshes her way across the floor. It’s a heckuva feat.

Just weeks after she set the record, though, a beefy German expatriate named Reinhard Wurtz, of Sydney, Australia, topped her by hoisting 20 full liters across a room.

Not long ago, I asked Wurtz if he caught any grief for beating a girl, and he was unapologetic:

“Look, the girls have an advantage toward the boys. First, you need a slim hand [a big boy’s big hands don’t fit through the handles]. Secondly, the law of the lever helps the girls: They have shorter arms. And then, they are full-breasted, so they can even lean the steins against them. So you can see, it’s not always muscles only. “

That might be good news for a lady who’d like to win back this cherished world record. But, sadly, in today’s world of uber-competitiveness, it’s only a matter of time until the fine sport of beer-stein lifting is tarnished by scandal, probably involving male breast implants.

In the meantime, here are a few other beer records – idiotic and otherwise:

* Fastest beer coaster flipper: Dean Gould, United Kingdom, flipped 800 coasters in 41 seconds. During the same night, he caught 35 in a row while blindfolded. Gould owns a dozen other Guinness world records.

* Most beer pints balanced on one’s head: 237, John Evans, United Kingdom. Evans, the world’s pre-eminent head-balancer (see his Web site at www.headbalancer.com), has also balanced a Mini Cooper on his head.

* Fastest one-liter chug: 1.3 seconds, by Steven Petrosino, Carlisle, Pa., set in 1977. (Guinness no longer lists beer-consumption records.)

* Most beer consumed in 5 minutes: 7.75 imperial pints (about 13 12-ounce bottles), Eric Lean of the United Kingdom.

* Most beer consumed in one sitting: 119 bottles in 6 hours, Andre Rene Roussimoff, aka pro wrestler Andre the Giant, weight 565 pounds, now deceased. (Source: Modern Drunkard magazine.)

* Largest beer pyramid: 63,365 cases, built in the Netherlands.

* Largest collection of beer coasters: 152,860 varieties, owned by Leo Pisker, of Langenzersdorf, Austria.

* Largest beer festival: 6.5 million attendees, Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany.

* Bitterest beer: The Hop, by Pitstop Brewer, United Kingdom, measuring 323 international bittering units. (“Triple-hopped” Miller Lite measures about 10 IBUs.)

* Bitterest beer, American: Founders Devil Dancer, 200 IBUs.

* Biggest beer-can collection: 70,000-plus, by Jeff Lebo, Etters, Pa. He built an entire house to store the cans.

* Biggest beer bottle collection: 16,000, currently housed at Carlsberg Brewery, Denmark.

* Biggest beer selection, bar: 2,000-plus varieties, Delirium Café, Brussels.

* Biggest draft beer selection: 250 taps, Yard House, Long Beach, Calif.

* Biggest beer selection, festival: 2,238 varieties, Great American Beer Festival, Denver, (expected at 2010 festival).

* Most expensive bottle of beer: Lowenbrau, salvaged from the wreck of the Hindenburg, and sold in a 2009 auction for £11,021.50 (about $17,000).

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