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Ale-ympics 2012

HBT Drinking Challenge

The Challenge: as a club, to drink 2,012 different British-brewed real ales within 2,012 consecutive hours. Can we do it? OFY!

The extravaganza of quaffing will last 12 weeks (less four hours), from E-to-NB evening to AGM afternoon – or sooner, if we’ve verifiably drunk 2,012 different real ales by then.

Start: Sat 5th May, 7pm, Sheep Heid: Trotters Club v. HBT/H&H.

End: Sat 28th July, 3pm, between HBT Handicap and AGM.

Minimum allowable measures: (1) Draught: 1 imperial pint; or ½ pint for 8.0% ABV or above. (2) Bottle: 500ml; or 330ml if not sold in bigger measures (onus on quaffer to check).

Sole exception: at beer festivals, a Trotter may drink only ½ a pint of an ale, but the group must ensure that 1 pint of the ale is drunk.

The achievements will be twofold:

1.   Seek out ales, be the first to drink them, and make sure you register them on the event website or with an AdminisTrotter.

2.   Use imagination and initiative, as well as quaffing prowess, to climb the daily Medals Table.

As in any Olympics, there are many sports, many events within each sport, and gold/silver/bronze medals for each event. Artistic impression and creativity are as valid as speed and stamina.

‘Ale-ympics 2012’ covers 85 days. Each day’s most meritorious performances will gain a gold, a silver or a bronze medal. Each event has a maximum of three medals, which may be awarded in any order or on any day. If any day’s claims are too boring, medals may not be awarded. So, a maximum of 85 medals of each colour are up for grabs, in a minimum of 85 events.

Possibilities are limitless within the Olympic context (winter too, if we run short of summer ideas). A few examples:

·       Modern Pentathlon: drink five different new ales in one day.

·       Heptathlon: drink seven. (This will normally outrank someone else’s Modern Pentathlon claim for the same day.)

·       Rowing: sculls, pairs, fours, eights etc.

·       Gymnastics: parallel bars, rings, floor exercises etc.

·       Three-Day Eventing: could be interesting …

·       Heavyweight Boxing (KO; winning on p(o)ints) etc.

·       Steeplechase (e.g. drinking in bars that used to be churches).

·       Paralyticlympics: use what’s left of your imagination.

And so on, limited only by the usual factors. Keep the rules in mind, keep quaffing inventively, and we’ll have the job done before the minor London gig has its opening ceremony.


1.             Registering: website

Once you’ve drunk your pint of a new ale, use the website form to register it. If a duplicate makes it through, an AdminisTrotter will whang out the later one.

2.             Medal claims: e-mail reporting

Instead, or as well, you can send details of your quaffing exploits to, and an AdminisTrotter will update the website with your new ales.

(You can always send a group e-mail to say: ‘I’m just about to drink So-and-so IPA 4.7%’. All’s fair in love, beer and trotting, so this should alert others that it’s about to be claimed. But please note: no ale can be claimed or registered until it’s been quaffed.)

3.             Medal awards

Medals will be awarded, based on claims received. If we don’t witness or hear about your epic tales of quaffage (or mishaps in the attempt), we can’t award medals for your efforts. You can nominate the sport and the event, or you can just wait and see for what sport/event your effort ends up being rewarded.

So, send in your stories of Ale-ympic endeavour, and watch your progress up the website’s Medals Table. There’ll also be e-mail bulletins periodically.


The challenge may seem monumental, but of course we’ll find it – what else? – a piece of piss. CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2012 has (in addition to a page of ‘RIP’ and ‘Future’ breweries, plus ‘New nationals’ and Global ‘giants’) 181 pages of independent British breweries. At an average 5 breweries per page, that’s 900 qualifying breweries. At a conservative 5 ales per brewery, that’s >4,500 real ales to go at – and we need drink only 2,012 of ’em.


Beer festivals (check CAMRA’s website for details):

MAY: Alloa; Banbury; Barrow Hill (Rail Ale); Bolsover (Derbyshire Food & Drink); Cambridge; Colchester; Glenrothes (Kingdom of Fife); Halifax; Ilkeston; Kingston; Lincoln; Macclesfield; Newark; Newark & Notts Show; Newport (Gwent); Northampton (Delapre Abbey); Reading; Rugby; Skipton; Stockport; Wolverhampton; Yapton.

JUNE: Aberdeen; Braintree; Cardiff (Great Welsh); Edinburgh (Scottish); Harpenden; Lewes (South Downs); Southampton; St Ives (Cornwall); Stafford; Stratford-upon-Avon; Thurrock.

JULY: Ardingly; Boxmoor; Bromsgrove; Canterbury (Kent); Chelmsford; Derby; Devizes; Ealing; Hereford (Beer on the Wye); Plymouth; Winchcombe (Cotswold); Woodcote (Steam Fair).