In the beer-ginning......
Published 13 Nov 2019
It was summer of 2015. I was driving tour coaches around New Zealand. I drew the long straw and managed to get that Christmas and New Years off.
On my last day before my break, I washed and parked up my bus then headed straight to my then local New World supermarket on Auckland's North Shore and their beer section. Just as I was walking out with my customary 12 pack of Tui "India Pale Ale", something caught my eye on the shelf. It was the coolest beer label I had ever seen. It reminded me of the "Mad Hot Rods" bubble gum cards I used to collect back in the 80's. They showed these gnarly creatures and characters riding just as gnarly contraptions burning rubber and going hell for leather. "Oh hell yeah", as I dropped the box of Tui and picked up "The Vandal".
I took the bottle that had a name as cool as the label and turned it over to read more. "Panhead Custom Ales" it said. Panhead?!?!? Where are these dudes from????? I scan to the back corner label and there it was, a moment that almost brought a tear to my eye. Maybe I read that wrong. Nope, second time confirmed it. "Brewed at Panhead Brewery". Straight outta my hometown, "Upper Hutt, NZ"!!!!!!!!! And that, was the last time I ever touched a "Tui".
I brought two bottles of "the Vandal" that evening and the Nelson Sauvin, Motueka and Riwaka hops had me hooked. I've always loved beer but since that day I've learnt to really appreciate and respect it way more from its origins, taste and design.
Panhead's the Vandal was my gateway beer into a world of craft beer and now I'm addicted. I don't need rehab, I need a refill.