Many exciting things have happened to me in the United States. I caused a minor aviation scare by having a replica James Bond Walther PPK in my hand luggage (aged 5), to this day I still cannot drink ginger ale after Pan Am Airlines ran out of every other soft drink on a trans-Atlantic flight so my young self drank way too much of the stuff because water was simply not exciting enough on a plane, [2] I punched Jaws right in the face, [3] I was surprised that lemonade made with actual lemons is sour, and learned (in hindsight) that parents must have incredible patience and vast amounts of cash to take kids to Disneyland.

The World Beer Cup experiences were very different. My first taxi driver threatened to hit me with a tire iron then wished me a good day and was seemingly genuine in both statements, I attended my first baseball match and obtained my first baseball, [4] I sat on a bar stool made from a full horse saddle while drinking IIPA at 10am, I discovered Russian River Pliny the Elder which remains my favourite beer in the world, and I offended locals when I incorrectly identified a tray of their beloved refried beans at the buffet as a “tray of mud.” [5]

Today’s blog title is supplied by Rudyard Wheatley. According to Google, Mr Wheatley has two main achievements – this apt quotation and being mistaken for Rudyard Kipling. That is it. Even Ria Bond has a higher Internet profile. [6] Nevertheless, I sincerely hope that paradise will have my favourite beer on tap, maybe endless pitchers of Pliny the Elder accompanied by a couple of roast oxen.

One event that sees many of my favourite beers on tap every year is the Malthouse West Coast IPA Challenge. The 8th edition of this legendary event begins at noon on 17 July 2015. Customers will have the chance to sample some of the twenty three beers specially made for the Challenge. Each is designed to evoke the spirit of hoppy pale ales from America’s West Coast. The drinking public get their say for the People’s Choice award but a panel of expert judges will also render their opinion and award the coveted Golden Gumboot trophy to this year’s winner.

In last week’s blog I listed the twenty three breweries involved in the Challenge and gave my thoughts on what their beers should be called. To the surprise of absolutely no-one, none of my suggestions turned out to be the official names this year, though I am hopeful that at some point down the track at least a couple of the names will make it into production. I’m thinking here particularly of ParrotDog Mattitude v.2.0 IPA, Renaissance Feels Like the Thiel Thing IPA, Fork Brewing Mr Davis Double Pale Ale, [7] Behemoth The Beer Giraffe Sleeps Tonight IPA and Liberty Jo Makes Naked Monkeys Fight With Knives for his Sexual Amusement IPA.

Now that the scene has been set, here is the highly anticipated official list of entrants and what their beers are really called:

Tuatara- Tu Rye Ay IPA- 7.5% [8]

Epic- No Agenda – 7.5%

ParrotDog- HighTime- 6.9% [9]

Garage Project- Los Lobos- 8.1%

Renaissance- Boom- 8.3%

Harrington’s- iAPA- 9.5%

Moa- Mount Baldy- 7.0%

mikes- Without Warning- 7.0%

8 Wired- West Island IPA- 6.0%

Liberty- Pacific Rim- 6.5%

Kereru- Resonator IPA- 6.5%

Baylands- Area 650 IPA- 6.5%

Behemoth- 6 Foot 5 – 6.5%

Fork Brewing- The Flower Arranger- 6.5%

Panhead- Red Eye – 7.3%

Choice Bros- I’m Afraid of Americans- 6.5%

Townshend- Blitzgreig- 7.8%

Croucher- Single Track Centennial- 6.3%

Hot Water Brewing Co- The Venetian – 7.5% [10]

Emerson’s- Two Hopsters IIPA- 9.0%

Black Dog- The Hops Have Eyes- 7.5%

Good George- Jugo de Pomelo- 7.0%

Hop Federation- West Coast IPA- 7.5%

Golden Bear – Powder Keg IPA – 7.1%

Please note: The list was correct at the time of writing but things can change because brewers be all last-minute and stuff. For example, one brewery changed the name of their beer at 9:55pm last night. I won’t name them as Matt was very polite…

Next time, we drink to the English Cricket team who have become suddenly very popular with New Zealand fans. We also know they like to have a beer with their opponents after a match but the big, bad Aussies do not…

[1] California State Motto: “South Carolina wishes it was this cool.”
[2] This was not the reason they went out of business but it may have been a contributing factor.
[3] It was an animatronics version of Jaws at Universal Studios. I’d like to say that moment was when I started beating up sharks for a fun but actually I was completely surprised (read: utterly terrified) and hit Jaws on the nose out of sheer instinct. For the record, the shark sounded hollow but looked overly realistic.
[4] Before anyone thinks I took a heroic catch in the bleachers it should be noted that the baseball was a promotional giveaway from White Labs (a yeast distributor) at a beer festival.
[5] This prompted the woman behind in the buffet line, never a good place to be at any time, to observe “you are not from around here are you?”
[6] True Story: Ria Bond is a sitting Member of Parliament but does not appear to have commented on beer yet.
[7] A long-running joke after a newspaper called Kelly “Mr Davis” in a recent article. It will never get old (to anyone not called Kelly Ryan).;
[8] This may be the first beer to ever reference Dexy’s Midnight Runners. And also the first person to mention them since 2001.
[9] Perhaps a tribute to the famous West Coast brewery Lagunitas and their well-known love of rare and prohibited herbs.
[10] Presumably Venice Beach, California unless brewer Dave Kurth seriouslymisread the Challenge’s brief…

Neil Miller
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