What once was an old tyre factory is these days a brewery revolutionising the craft beer world. We look at the Panhead journey and recommend a few brews for you to try out
In 2013 in an old Upper Hutt Dunlop tyre factory, Panhead brewery made its start in the world. Armed with a great location – the Dunlop factory had space, power and clean water at the ready – the passion and the knowledge, Mike Neilson and his wife Anna embarked on a journey they'd been dreaming of for quite some time. A journey to open their own small brewery.
Starting as a two-person team, Mike would brew once or twice a week and deliver beers while Anna looked after the office. According to Mike, this was a good way of working initially. Then the summer of 2013 arrived, demand soared and the Panhead brewery was never the same.
Three years on, it's fair to say they've well and truly made their dream come true and have gone above and beyond a small brewery. Panhead has started a revolution in the beer scene – a revolution bringing honest, delicious New Zealand made brews to a very thirsty audience. Panhead's philosophy plays a key part in this revolution. Their commitment to classic Kiwi culture gives them an integrity that their fans love. As Mike says in our home is where the brew is profile, "just like Kiwis like to tinker in their garages, we like to tinker with beer styles."
With beers flying off the shelves all over New Zealand and Australia, Panhead now have their eyes on expanding to the rest of the world to eliminate "crappy beer" from everywhere. The Panhead crew is expanding too – there is now a team of 15 staff who dedicate their time to brewing and giving the brand the reputation it has built with craft beer lovers.
If you're keen to hop on the Panhead wagon – it's clearly going places – check out some of our favourite Panhead brews below:
Style: Oat Stout
Flavour notes: Caramelised Golden Naked Oats have built the foundations on which this silky black brew stand. Notes of chocolate, coffee and decadent tiramisu lace the body of this remarkable stout.
Awards: Bronze at the 2015 BGNZ (Brewer's Guild of New Zealand)
Style: Extra Pale Ale
Tasting notes: A product of Quickchange’s lighter malt base, the XPA is delicate yet full of flavour. Notes of luscious lychee, pineapple and mango are layered through this special brew, making it extra tantalising for the tastebuds.
Awards: Gold at the 2015 BGNZ
Bronze at the 2014 BGNZ
Style: American Pale Ale
Tasting notes: Hops, hops and more hopes are at the heart of this bold brew. Tastebuds are kicked into action with strong Centennial, Citra and Simcoe hops rounded off with a bitterness that not even a bride abandoned at the altar could possess.
Awards: Top Beer – SOBA 2016 (Society of Beer Advocates)
Silver – BGNZ 2015
Bronze – BGNZ 2014
Style: Pacific Pilsner
Tasting notes: A robust malt base topped with hints of grapefruit, passion fruit and sauvignon blanc characteristics make this one beautiful pacific drop. Pilsner is famously Czech in origin but the beer engineers at Panhead have mixed things up and gone for a South Pacific hop profile in line with the people who drink and brew the beer.
Awards: Best in Class– BGNZ 2015
Gold – BGNZ 2015
Silver – BGNZ 2014