Panhead is one of the new players in the New Zealand craft beer scene. Launched in 2013, Panhead started brewing in an old tyre factory and have designed their brand image around engines and motors and "monster" truck style brewing. They’ve five stock brews (a pilsner, a stout, an APA, a white IPA, and the XPA we are reviewing today). Then on top of that, they brew some pretty interesting seasonal specials as well, care to try a smoked ale or a salted gose beer?
The XPA we’re looking at today is an extra pale ale, with the emphasis being on extra pale. There focus seems to be on creating a "toned down pale ale." In their own words; “Sometimes you don't want your mouth flayed raw and your liver worked to a standstill.” So I’m expecting well balanced hoppy bitterness and the sweetness of malt, but I guess coming through gently. Sounds like it might lack body. In saying that, they are promising lots of hoppy fruitiness; “mango, guava, lychee and pineapple.” My mouth is watering. Let’s see.
Price: $7.99 500mils
Alcohol content: 4.6%
Colour: Definitely a very pale golden hew. Similar colour to a wheat-beer but not as cloudy. Very little head. Not many bubbles.
Aroma: Smells deliciously sweet and tropical. Pineapple comes through nicely.
Palate: Not fizzy at all really. Bitterness of hops hit the roof of your mouth instantly but then gives way to sweet fruit flavours. It’s certainly not super sweet or super fruity though and I’m not really getting “mango, guava, lychee and pineapple.” More green apple (like a basic cider) and a touch of nectarine. The floral/herby hop notes are present right the way though and bring a constant but not overpowering bitterness. Not really any malts and so no sticky sweet notes of caramel or toffee.
Finish: The subtle fruits give way pretty quickly and you’re left with tangy hops. It’s a pretty dry finish.
On the Chart: This Quickchage XPA, is billed as an extra pale, pale ale. It certainly is pale, but I think lacks the malty flavours needed in an IPA. Even as an IPA variant. It’s more hoppy than most pilsners, but wouldn't look out of place in a pilsner family photo. With this in mind, it’s off to the left in terms of hoppiness and pretty simple as a beer.
Conclusion: This is a light and refreshing beer, quite hoppy overall and not terribly sweet. It’d fit nicely in your trundler if you’re out for 9 holes at your local hack. Don’t bother packing it if you’re teeing off at a “members only” recognised 18 hole course though. This XPA would be out of its depth on the freshly mown fairways and perfectly manicured sand traps of a real golf course.