Music2Brew2 @ San Fran with Panhead Custom Ales

When you bring together a popular entertainment venue, a quirky brewery and a groovy band, all united in their local presence and passion for what they do, it naturally creates something magical. Music2Brew2 went beyond your ordinary beer and food matching event, by mastering the seemingly difficult task of matching food and beer with music. The ensemble of the bites, the beats and the hops merged to create a vibe that was intoxicatingly cool.

Photography by George Staniland


The Venue: San Fran

Located in the centre of Cuba Street, this buzzing venue rules the unique and thriving music scene in Wellington. Having extended its amplitude recently from purely rock, to transcending across all genres from local, national and international bands, it’s a reputable and reliable place to end up on any week night or weekend.




The Brewery: Panhead Custom Ale

With a passion for good beer accompanied by bold creativity, the guys at Panhead have been successfully experimenting and creating the goods for a good while now. Having received the 2014 Best Beer award from the Society of Beer Advocates for their IPA, they’ve made a mark in the blooming and competitive New Zealand craft beer industry.




The Band: The Nudge

The Nudge consists of a bunch of ordinary Wellington fellas, creating some extraordinary beats. Their music is truly niche: their songs sound like spiced up jazz music with a mix of dance and rock, making you want to whirl and twirl in all directions. They’re due to kick off a Europe Tour in September, so give their music some loving and support - check out their website for more information.





After being greeted and seated in a cosy set-up somewhat resembling a classy speeddating event, the night kicked-off with a warm welcome from the organisers, outlining the order of the evening. The team were well-organised yet laid back, and promptly began dishing us up with treats.


We were first invited to try the liquid gold, performing the bass of the ensemble: the Panhead Black IPA. With the Vandal IPA winning best beer in the Beer Advocates Festival, expectations were set high. Deceivingly looking more like a stout than an IPA, tasty hints of coffee, toffee and chocolate came through, without the heaviness associated with a traditionally dark beer. It was like ordering a smooth long black at a cafe, except with a finishing touch of ‘Friday.’




The bold and caramely beer was then followed by traditional bluff oysters. Fresh and citrusy, these palatable marbles always provide a solid start for heavier food come. The paua and blue cod wonton was another treat from sea that followed; nothing at all like the greasy, takeaway wontons, yet sufficiently and satisfying deep-fried. The chilli quince sauce added more flavour to what was already a flavoursome stuffing, and unsurprisingly, the Black IPA helped the food go down smoother. It was like a little dessert after each small course.


Shortly after, the finger-lickingly good smell of duck fat permeated in the air, making us eagerly await for the smoked salt marsh beef with duck fat chips. It was your classic kiwi Sunday meal done to dining standards, with smokey and salty touches to the beef. Dessert felt, smelt and tasted like Christmas. Nana’s plum duff and custard was the chef’s nana’s recipe, and matched the festive vibes of the evening.




When The Nudges began playing some groovy tunes, the answer became clear to my unresolved question - how do you match beer and food with music? It’s one of those things that’s so hard to put into words - but let me try, since that’s my job.


The lead singer Ryan Prebble’s deep and lingering voice matched the bitter hops lingering on your tastebuds, and you felt the vibrations in your gut together with the warmth of the beer going down your gut. Both the beer and the music were edgy, smokey, and didn’t shy away from the spotlight. The music was also something to get intoxicated on after your beer glass became empty. By the end of the night, the music the beer and the food merged into one blur of a great tune. The tables were cleared away, and guests had enough fuel in their system to have a cheeky little boogie to the Nudges.


If you’re an archetypal Wellingtonian with an appreciation for good food, music and craft beer, Music2Brew2 is your jam. It truly masters a unique and quirky concept of bringing the three things together, so kudos to cooks, brewers and organisers for the great team work.  With the success of the first night, and tickets nearly selling out for the next two nights (with Garage Project and Tuatara - get in quick!) fingers crossed they will be back next year to treat us out.




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