17 February 2016 - Best Beer HQ

Panhead Quickchange XPA beer review

Panhead Quickchange XPA beer review

ABV: 4.6%

What it says on the bottle: Quickchange XPA is all about putting a big hop engine on a stripped down malt chassis. The delicate colour in the glass barely seems enough to support all those Mosaic, Galaxy and Citra alpha oils with their mango, guava, pineapple and lychee characters, but one sip should clear that misapprehension up.

What’s it like? Panhead’s Quickchange XPA pale ale is like a car that, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t look like anything special. But get behind the wheel of that car and take it for a test drive, and you’ll soon discover that it’s a Mercedes or a Lexus in disguise.

That’s right. They weren’t kidding around when they said on the label when they talked up the delicate colour of this beer. Its golden hue seems more akin to lager than pale ale. In spite of that, though, this beer is very tropical indeed, with nice carbonation and barely any head to speak of. It’s also light, dry, and infinitely quaffable.

There are plenty of more full-bodied pale ales on the market than the Quickchange XPA, and there’s also an increasing number of even more sessionable pale ales around the 3.5% ABV mark (for instance, see my review of Funk Estate’s Yes Yes Y’all). This extra pale ale sits somewhere in-between.

Is it the best beer ever? This beer won’t change your life, but it will make it better.

I appreciate that Panhead’s Quickchange XPA is the perfect beer for right now – I’ll be sitting in the sunshine, watching test cricket all afternoon – but on another day, perhaps I’d be in the mood for something with a bit more character. On those days I’d opt for Panhead’s award-winning Supercharger APA, which I think is a superior beer.

But if you’re on the hunt for an easy-breezy sessionable pale ale, you could do far worse than this one. Highly recommend.

Craft Beer New Zealand / review /