Panhead opens a pop-up in Auckland’s Viaduct for summer

by Johanna Thornton / 25 October, 2017
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Woohoo! A Wellington beer-brewing treasure pops up in Auckland

The team behind Wellington’s Panhead Custom Ales is bringing its beautiful beers to the waterfront this summer with a pop-up on Quay Street.

The space, which was formerly a nightclub, has been stripped back to a raw concrete shell, with exposed pipes and rough-sanded wooden floors. There’s a pool table, pinball machine and dart board, and most importantly 14 taps pouring specialty beers. The art of Wellington tattoo artist and illustrator Simon Morse flows from Panhead’s bottles onto the walls and seating.

Panhead beers are available at many good supermarkets and bars in Auckland, but until now some of their more exciting one-offs haven’t made it this far. Based in Maidstone, Upper Hutt, Panhead is the brainchild of brewer Mike Neilsen who has been joined by long-time mate, and now general manager, Josh Drake.

“Wellington’s been a great place for us to grow but Panhead is more proudly boutique bogan than anything. Although our tasting room will be up and running at the brewery soon, Aucklanders haven’t had the chance to see what we’re about up close. Until now our tap beer availability up here has been pretty limited.”

The pop-up bar gives Aucklanders a chance to enjoy the proper Panhead experience. “Now that our pilot plant’s cranking out a different beer every week you’ll see a steady stream of the weird, wonderful and intense on tap,” he says.

Expect to see limited release specials, including Busted Knuckle, a massive Russian Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels for a vinous tang; Bug Crusher, aged in chardonnay barrels and fermented with a proprietary yeast from Crux Fermentation Project in the U.S.; Batch 003, a Milk IPA sweetened with lactose from actual cows; and Snake Oil, a soured IPA, premiered at this year’s Beervana.

Keen to showcase their beer in myriad ways, Panhead has developed a beer cocktail list, too. You can also carb-load with burgers, brisket, and pecans roasted in bacon lard while you’re there. “Think low and slow, American pig-out food”, says Josh.

The Panhead Viaduct Custom Bar will be open until March.

Panhead Pop-up, 204 Quay Street,
Auckland Viaduct, Auckland Central.
Open 11.30am – late Wed-Sun.

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