Panhead Supercharger APA

Panhead Supercharger APA @ Golding’s Free Dive

It’d been a long hot day visiting my mother in her nursing home up the coast, and frankly I was quite looking forward to a nice beer after getting back into Wellington.  The timing was fortuitous, because it gave me a chance to stop by Golding’s Free Dive to see the much raved about Adam Page with his Wellington band, The Counts do what may well be their last gig in this town for a while.[1]

It was great fun.  Adam Page on saxophone, vocal yells, percussion and awesome beard, providing the spark on top of solid-and-funky drumming from Rick Cranson, and layers of primal keyboards from Ed Zuccullo.  An old musician friend of mine turned up part-way through, and together we marvelled at the colourful and gritty tones Zuccullo pulled from his Moog and Fender Rhodes.  Music you can feel, oh yes.  Antique keyboard porn.

The band are hugely fun, jazzy swagger, funky swing, familiar covers played with, played around with and seduced.[2]  Table-dancing and sing-alongs. Yells and hollers. Great stuff, in a relaxed Sunday afternoon funky little bar, buried away from the hot afternoon sun as summer finally gripped onto Wellington proper.

On tap was Panhead’s Supercharger American Pale Ale.  I couldn’t remember if I’d tried it before, but immediately raising to my lips I knew I had, because of the strong sense-memory.  It’s like the Tuatara American Pale Ale but more.  More body, more hops, more lingering, lip-smacking flavour.[3]  The relationship’s no surprise – Panhead’s Mike Nielson opened the brewery after putting everything on the line to start his own business after being with Tuatara for a fair while.

A friend of mine, recently back in the country from the United States and delving with great excitement into the beer scene asked “are all New Zealand beers going to taste of passion fruit?”  I wasn’t surprised to find out that Supercharger was his first beer after arriving back in Wellington!

The passion fruit flavours well up, fresh, bright and gorgeous.  Sweet and solid, fading to a big long satisfying and strong after taste of bitter-sweet citrus fruit.

I was getting quite a bit of lime; not tart and bitter lime, but a mature sweet and sharp lime leaf tone.  Tangy, and very very nice.

Standing there, drinking lovely beer amongst some fun friends, exciting music, all the while out of the heat in a cool little bar, while sunlight streamed in through the windows and doors.    A very buzz and hum time.

Adam Page and the Counts @ Golding’s Free Dive, 02/02/2014


[1] Apparently because the trans-Tasman Page is heading back to his Australian home, Melbourne, for a while.

[2] Including a cover of that Grammy winning song.

[3] And let me be clear, I love Tuatara’s APA, both the American original and the slightly stickier, hoppier Aotearoan version found most commonly.  It might be the single beer I drink most often

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