Panhead Batch 206

Christmas time … when the novelty beers come out to play, and invariably find their way to me from family members who have some vague idea that I’m supposed to be ‘the beer guy’ but very little else in the way of actual beer savvy.  The pick of the bunch this year?  Trooper IPA, brought to you by Iron Maiden — obviously. The actual brewers are Robinsons in Stockport UK (just south of Manchester), who are pretty well regarded as independent brewers and producers of Real Ale.  So, let’s see if half the globe’s worth of transit and then god-knows-how-long sitting on display at ambient temp have killed this one. The unmistakable earth, dried fruit and spice of Goldings hops leads the nose, with more subtle citrus and significant malt heft.  That robust malt backbone carries the bold palate, with fresh grass, spice and citrus hop characters adding lift.  For only 4.3 per cent ABV it carries a surprisingly medium body, with plenty to chew over in the complex and moderately bitter finish.   Although it’s undoubtedly lost something of itself along the way, I can confidently declare this one alive, and more than that, it’s a rare glimpse into the original style of IPA that’s nearly impossible to taste within the realm of New Zealand brewing.

Panhead Batch 206

A couple of years ago I visited Panhead brewery, the jewel in the crown of Upper Hutt’s Brewtown.  As with all such visits, when it came to the taproom, I skipped straight past the core range and got stuck into tasting the experimental one-off brews that I wouldn’t...

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