Finding Pure Hoppiness at the Bendigo Beer Festival. DOWN THE MALL

Down The Mall has been fascinated by Chris Pedler’s reporting of plans for next month’s Bendigo Beer Festival.

WHAT'S IN A NAME: The Bendigo On The Hop festival will showcase beers from six Bendigo brewers and more than a dozen from elsewhere in this glorious beer-loving nation on August 26.

WHAT'S IN A NAME: The Bendigo On The Hop festival will showcase beers from six Bendigo brewers and more than a dozen from elsewhere in this glorious beer-loving nation on August 26.

The Bendigo On The Hop festival will showcase beers from six Bendigo brewers and more than a dozen from elsewhere in this glorious beer-loving nation on August 26.

That, in itself, is enough to fascinate grown men, but what’s intriguing us is this trend for weird and clever names for beers.

As Chris says in his report, this year we will get to whack our laughing gear around concoctions with names including Old Wives’ Ale, Shedshaker, Wolf of the Willows, Fixation and Pirate Life.

But DTM has invested a bit of research on this and can sadly advise we in Central Victoria have a long way to go to catch up with magnificently weird beer names in other places.

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In just a few minutes, we managed to find the following: Weiss Versa, Hoppy Ever After, Pure Hoppiness, Audrey Hopburn, Hoptimus Prime, Peter Cotton Ale (now with more hops), Smooth Hoperator, Robohop, and Geriatric Hipster.

And about 200 more with names so rude that even DTM blushed. Why do we suspect that a fair amount of product was consumed in the creation of these labels?

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A few weeks back, DTM threw out a call for anyone who knew anything at all about an unresolved Unidentified Flying Object report in Bendigo from May 1983 which turned up in an Australian Air Force investigation report 30 years later.

We had a detailed response from a very well-known and respected Bendigo bloke – he even has a gong. His name is … well, his initials are Dennis O’Hoy, and as usual, this historian/writer/ceramicist/good bloke made clear sense.

He said that back in 1983 he and some staff and colleagues at the old Bendigo College of Advanced Education were carrying out some experiments. They made many hot-air balloons out of carefully glued paper strips, filled them with hot air fired by LPG and launched them at all hours. To keep the contraptions aloft for as long as possible, they had an aluminium dish suspended under them, stuffed with burning turpentine-soaked rags.

Dennis says they looked interesting floating through the dark skies, with the burning turps flickering.

He believes that’s the source of the “media reports of lights going on and off and sometimes made it appear that an object was travelling at great speed.

“The biggest balloon we made went as far as Boort where a cold down-draft over the lake brought it down.”

But if you’re a true believer, the UFO could well have been light from Venus, reflected off swamp gas.