It is also an event that I cannot believe I did not think to call “The Race that Stops the Beer Nation” until about 4am this morning. [1]

Last week’s Challenge form guide was well received and I’m hopeful that at least some of the nicknames will stick in exactly the same way as The Impish Brewer (Luke Nicholas) has, and The Drinking Woman’s Thinking Crumpet (Dr Ralph Bungard) has not. This blog will (eventually) provide an update on names and details of late scratching and additions. However, it is far too early in the post to actually talk about the topic.

One of the most popular sections of last week’s blog was what has become known as The Greyhound Story. Alert readers will recall that after a long laundry list of my betting failures, my dogs crossed the line in Lower Hutt in positions 1, 2 and 3. Tragically, my chosen trio were robbed of certain victory, a podium photo and a massive trifecta by some archaic rule that said more than half the field had to finish and not run off murdering geese in front of horrified children. 

Like many, I am slightly uneasy about the popularity of this tale. However, I am delighted to announce there is actually more to the story and this extension – like the original – is completely true. You see, my friends and I were not just watching that particular iil-starred race, we were actually sponsoring it.

I was in a very small-scale gambling group with cricket buddies, political cronies and an enormous Australian who seemed immune to beer. Together we were known as “The Conquistadors” – named of course after the legendary professional wrestling tag team who always wore full golden jump suits and golden masks. We admired their plucky resilience and appalling win-loss record. [2]

Anyway, as part of our outing, we splurged out around $100 ($94 in Australian money or 3 hockey pucks in Canadian currency) [3] for race naming rights. The actual programme and betting slips had “The Conquistadors” written on them.

Each member of the group had a nickname – The Shark for the guy who was not very good at poker, Big Mike for the humongous guy called Mike, Bad Boy for the good guy, and Sloth for me because of my legendary speed on the cricket pitch. [4]

I snuck away from the group, leaving them to their large cans of Tui and supermarket pies.  We were considered “flash” by some at the event for this menu. The bar staff actually to go on an emergency run to the Mill when Tui stocks ran low. They ignored our pleas to “buy some real beer and take our money!” 

Meanwhile, I found the ground announce both, startling the announcer who did not appear to have been outside or seen people for a while. I offered to bribe him to add a little something to the official announcement. He refused and did it for nothing. 

Returning to my “mince” pie chomping, “East India Pale Ale” quaffing chums, I arrived just in time to hear the tannoy boom “the next race is the The Conquistadors 1600m, sponsored by Conquistadors under their great leader The Sloth.”  It would be fair to say some “beer” was rapidly exited some noses when that gem hit the airwaves.

The organisers were deeply apologetic that our race was called off and offered us free naming rights at a similar event in the future. We took them up on at. That race will be forever in the books as the “The Conquistadors 1600m Wild Goose Chase.” My dog came second last, dramatically overtaking on the finishing strait a rival who had pulled up lame several hundred metres earlier..

That is the end of the story. The Conquistadors are no more – geography, fatherhood, geography and fatherhood – mean jaunts to the Hutt to donate money to the TAB are no longer possible.  However, they will never be forgotten. The event was televised – there is a tape. I may auction it off for a good cause some time.

Now it is time for a final update on entries. Firstly, in sad news, Hallertau Brewery has scratched its entry – which I wanted to be called Naked and Epicurean but they picked The Ordained Red IPA – as it was not up to race fitness. It will either be shot (down the drain) or put out to pasture (sold to bogans).

However, in better news, there are rumours that Golden Eagle may make a (very) late run with Golden Eagle Solo Lupulus Metamorphic IPA. Since last week, some more details have emerged on some of the beer names and these are listed below. I’ve kept in the names I suggested last week so that punters can make their own decisions about which are better. 

Epic Brewing Company (Unknown – for once the Impish Brewer is silent) -Impish Hop Master

ParrotDog Brewery RiwakaSecret IIPA – Three Quarters of a Boy Band

Garage Project# IPA – We Invented Four Beer Styles Yesterday

Baylands Brewery & Brewing Supplies – Rock Solid IPA– Suburban Paradise

Emerson’s Brewery – APA [5] – I Do Look Like Chuck Norris

Invercargill Brewery – Hop Goblet – Hug Me Baby One More Time

Moa – Greenback – We Are Not Extinct

Renaissance Brewing Company – Bloody RIPA – It’s Worth Over-Doing

8 WIRED BREWING – Wireless – Can’t Read My Poker Face

Liberty Brewing Company – Knife Party [6] – Liberty or Death

Hop Federation – West Coast IPA – No Monkey Business

Fork & Brewer – Big Tahuna – Inside Running

Townshend Brewery – Blitzgreig – Bottle o’ Sauce

Croucher Brewing – Single Track Amarillo – No Uranium On Your Breath

Black Dog Brewery Co. – Double Hoppy – Chomp, Chomp, Chomp

Hot Water Brewing Co. – About Time IPA – We Can Do It

Panhead Custom Ales – Boss Hog [7] – Fast and Furious

The Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge will happen on 18th and 19th July. It will be quite huge. Just remember, by the time you get there, I will have tried all the beers. [8]

Next time, we drink to the Space Invaders on the West Coast Challenge promotional material. Not only were you fun to hunt down around town, but in the end you always win. And I for one welcome our future Pixelated Overlords, toast their new reign and remind them that as a trusted beer writer I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground byte factories.

[1] With full, non-legally binding apologies to the Melbourne Cup and the Beer Writer of the Year Michael Donaldson.

[2] Notably, Conquistador 1 and Conquistador 2 would frequently and noticeably change height and size. Some say they were mystical Mexican shape shifters, others that when one Conquistador fell another would rise to take his place…  In reality, they just threw any low level wrestlers in the suits so they could lose twice in front of the same crowd. This sums up my betting prowess more than I would like.

[3] Did I mention the track went out of business shortly afterwards?

[4] Legendary in the sense that there are no confirmed sightings and most reputable scientists believe it does not exist.

[5] One of the most influential beers in my life – probably the first to ignite my love of US hops.

[6] Always with the knives Joseph…

[7] So much better than my idea…

[8] Another rarely seen dance of joy… 


Neil Miller
Beer Writer
Beer and Brewer Magazine
Cuisine Magazine