Beer Week: Three-legged goats have more to do with a cool brew than you’d think

Three-legged Simon won the Sly Fox race, and got a beer named after him.
Three-legged Simon won the Sly Fox race, and got a beer named after him.
/Photo courtesy of Teresa Van Wagner

Bock beer and goats go back like George and Weezie — actually, way further back.

One German definition for the word “bock” literally translates to billy goat. So when Phoenixville brewery Sly Fox first started putting on goat races as part of its Bock Fest in 2000, no one batted an eye. The event, which takes place during the first week in May, has morphed into a can’t-miss spectacle for beer lovers.

But something changed in 2011 when a three-legged goat named Peggy showed up. Colin Presby, an assistant brewer at Golden Avalanche Brewing, was working as a vet tech in Berks County when Peggy came in with an infected back leg. Instead of putting the injured goat down, they amputated and nursed her back to health.

Brian O’Reilly, the head brewer at Sly Fox, invited Peggy to enter the 130-foot race. Peggy not only competed; she won against about 50 regular goats.

“After she won the race, people were going crazy,” Presby says. “It’s for fun, of course, but it’s also an awareness campaign for animals and to show large animals can survive amputations.”

Peggy’s success paved the way for Simon, a goat with a broken elbow that Presby and veterinarian Christina Vittoria helped save. Long story short, a three-legged Simon ended Peggy’s quest for the three-peat.

“We’re here showing people that not only can your animal live a normal life [after amputation], they can race — and win!” says Vittoria.

Presby and Vittoria travel around with Peggy and Simon, and hold fundraisers at bars to support the Humane Society of Berks County. They have raised $6,500 to date, thanks largely to the success of their Team Peggy and Team Simon T-shirts. They have sold 1,300 T-shirts over the last two years.

“It’s a pretty big draw and we really like traveling with the goats,” Presby said. “If next year we get dethroned, we’ll continue to raise awareness.”

Meet the goats

Unfortunately, Peggy and Simon won’t be racing at Philly Beer Week. However, you can still meet them and grab a Team Simon or Team Peggy T-shirt on June 5 at Goats, Cans and Bocks, from 4-7 p.m. at Bainbridge Street Barrel House. The Simon Maibock 2013 (the winning goat gets a brew named after him or her) will be poured generously.


Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.


Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.


OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…


Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."


Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."


'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…


Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.


Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.


Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.


Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…


VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.


#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.


Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.