As a result, if Croucher Brewing Company made a Pilsner, it would be called be Croucher Pilsner. Similarly, if Tuatara Brewery produced a Hefe, it was called Tuatara Hefe.  For some reason, if DB concocted a brown lager it was called Tui East India Pale Ale but then every rule has to have some exceptions.

Over time, beer names started getting increasingly creative. There was Tairei George, Pink Elephant Mammoth, Hopsmacker, Monkey Puzzle, Biman, B-Man or whatever the heck Steve Nally is calling that  particular beer this week. Things were getting pretty weird. 

At that instant, the Yeastie Boys took it to a whole other level. Stu McKinlay (of the famously flamboyant pants) and Sam Possenniskie (uncredited inventor of Hugh Grant’s trademark hairstyle) began naming their cult beers after obscure song lyrics, usually sung by impressionist French hip-hop artists or similar musical riff-raff unlikely to be played on The Rock FM. 

Inspired by the revolutionary approach of the Yeasties, this entire blog about the 5th Annual Malthouse West Cost IPA Challenge is based entirely on the 1985 hit single “Whole of the Moon” by The Waterboys. [1] 

The first line of their signature song is “I pictured a rainbow”. This calls to mind the veritable rainbow of hops which have gone into the dozen entries in the annual hoptastic challenge.  Many of the brewers have used American hops but there are plenty of local offerings and, I suspect, a few entrants from England too. This selection of hops is the coolest rainbow since the famous Rainbow Twangers secret episode (link below).  

Because it was the eighties, all the song’s lines are pretty short.  The second is “You held it in your hands”. The West Coast IPA Challenge allows discerning drinkers to try up to a dozen or so local takes on the hoppy, bitter pale ales so popular in and around California and Oregon. The learned staff behind the bar pour the beer, you pay for it, you get to hold the pint [2] in your hands and then presumably you can drink it.

Next on the lyric sheet is “I had flashes.” This Thursday (12 July 2012) offers the opportunity to see a “flash” of the challenge as the Malthouse will be running the first ever West Coast IPA Challenge Preview from 5pm. Each half hour an IPA entered in the Challenge will go on tap.  However, punters will not know which beer they are buying at the time. The true identity of each brew will only announced after pouring has ceased, eliminating the dreaded “brand bias”. Not all the beers will be available at the Preview. 

“But you saw the plan” is the last line of the first verse. [3] The ultimate plan is the 5th Annual West Coast IPA Challenge from 4pm on Friday (13 July 2012). More than a dozen hoppy entries will be on offer from Epic, Hallertau, Moa, Tuatara, Garage Project, mike’s Organic Brewery, Liberty, Yeastie Boys, Black Dog, Croucher, Renaissance, Invercargill, Townshend and Harrington’s. 

In an update from last week’s post, we know now that the entries include Croucher Zythos Patriot, Harrington’s Hop Tremor and Garage Project’s Super Angry Peaches. [4] A number of brewers will be in attendance but not, sadly Jos Ruffell from the Garage Project.  He took the invitation to the West Coast Challenge far too literally and is currently somewhere in San Diego doubtless touting Super Angry Peaches to Californian beer hipsters. We all envy him.

In terms of The Waterboys classic, we have reached the chorus – “I saw the crescent” (clearly meaning the West Coast IPA Challenge Preview on Thursday) and “You saw the whole of the moon” (an equally obvious reference to the Challenge itself on Friday).

However, there may be some facts about the “Whole of the Moon” that readers may not be aware of. One school of thought argues it is a tribute to C S Lewis while others say was written in homage to the Artist Formerly Known As Prince.  It is a little known piece of music trivia that the famous line “I see Brigadoon” was actually a prophecy regarding Stu McKinlay’s tartan troosers.

The song was not a huge hit when originally released in 1985 but gradually grew in popularity to become The Waterboys signature song. [5] Tragically, it lost all musical and cultural credibility when Graham Norton performed it on the dire “Father Ted” series while playing the role of Father Noel Furlong

In retrospect, I should have picked a different song for this blog.  As ever, “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey springs instantly to mind.  Next time perhaps

1st Annual West Coast IPA Challenge Preview – from 5pm Thursday 12 July 2012.
5th Annual West Coast IPA Challenge – from 4pm Friday 13 July 2012.

 [1] Thus explaining a blog title even more obtuse than usual.

[2] Allegedly something called a “half pint” can be ordered but I have never done so nor liked people who have.

[3] Is anyone still following this brilliant song theme?  No wonder the Yeastie Boys only use a sound bite.

[4] Super Angry Peaches could be an excellent concept for a mobile phone game aimed at people who find Angry Birds demeaning to our avian brethren. 

[5] Second place is “A Girl Called Johnny” with all their other songs tied for third equal.



Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine


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