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May 20, 2006 - Heavyweight Brewing To Close This Summer
This time, the rumors are true. New Jersey's Heavyweight Brewing will close its doors this summer.

Co-founder and brewmaster Tom Baker acknowledged that "we have only three brews left and will be completely closed down sometime in July" in a brief interview with the Beer Yard at the Brandywine Craft Brewers Festival at Iron Hill's Media restaurant today.

Baker also said that he and his wife and co-founder Peggy Zwerver expect to remain active in the local beer scene and will be looking to establish a "combination good beer bar and brewpub," possibly in the Philadelphia suburbs. "The idea would be to have something like ten taps and then two to four taps dedicated to beers brewed on site, possibly one-time beers that would never be brewed again," Baker said. "I'd expect to devote about half the taps to some of our great local beers and the rest to imports and other U.S. micros. We're talking to a lot of different people to try and determine the best situation for us."

The final three Heavyweight beers will all be made with bread yeast, Baker said, and the final one will be "a smorgasbord beer into which I'll put all the ingredients still left in the brewery." He said that he plans to bring that final beer to the Royal Stumble at Nodding Head Brewery & Restaurant on July 8. "It'll be the last Heavyweight appearance, I guess," he said. "There's no way I'm gonna miss the Stumble."

The unhappy news about Heavyweight has become widely known in craft beer circles in recent weeks. Many had their doubts about the veracity of same, given that similar rumors have swirled around Heavyweight for years, some of them playfully encouraged and enhanced by the founders.

The brewery was created in Ocean Township, NJ, in 1999 by Baker and Zwerver and established itself early on as an innovative one-man/one-woman operation (with a lot of help from their friends) which produced big, unusual beers. Not surprisingly, it became a cult favorite within the craft beer community with such brews as Lunacy Golden Ale, Perkuno's Hammer Imperial Porter and Biere d'Art, one of the first biere de gardes brewed in the Mid-Atlantic region.

In recent years, Heavyweight's series of "One Time, One Place" specialty beers became something of a Holy Grail for the most dedicated beer fanciers, many of whom would flock to periodic Open House afternoons at the brewery, often bringing beers of their own to share with other attendees.

The Beer Yard has been promised a more extensive interview and more details about Baker and Zwerver's future plans at the Slow Food Pig Roast & BBQ at Yards Brewing Co, in Philadelphia tomorrow afternoon. If it happens, look for an updated story here Monday or Tuesday.--JACK CURTIN