Panhead Custom Ales are a kiwi collective exporting ales and a single lager over the ditch to Australia. They’re based near Wellington and are pretty well-regarded in their home country, recently placing second in the NZ Society of Beer Awards. I would love to get my hands on their Vandal NZ IPA, but I haven’t seen it around here.
In the meantime I had to settle for their Port Road Pilsner. Right off the bat, this wasn’t a terribly enjoyable beer. It looks the goods, a nice clear pale straw colour and fine white bubs. A New World hop aroma was present, backed up by robust saaz-y spice. It smelled a little alluring, nontraditional hoppiness, but still clean. Mouthfeel was spot on for a pilsner; no complaints there. Unfortunately the flavour threw me right off. The lager was unbalanced, acrid and firmly bitter. It reminded me of a muted pale ale I brewed last year – in a bad way.
A nice lemony smoothness rode along with the bitterness, giving the drinker something else to chew on if so inclined. European Pilsners were hopped much higher in the past and I think that’s where the Port Road Pils is trying to fit in, but overall it was far too dry and caustic for me. So alas, on the whole a little unsatisfying, but I’m still keen on that Vandal NZ IPA … if I can ever get my hands on it.
I drank this beer at the Terminus, Fitzroy North.