A tattoo and a tipple, if you can beer it

DOUBLE TREAT: Panhead brewery boss Mike Neilson, left, and tattooist Simon Morse are teaming up to offer beer and tattoos at Beervana.
DOUBLE TREAT: Panhead brewery boss Mike Neilson, left, and tattooist Simon Morse are teaming up to offer beer and tattoos at Beervana.

It won't be the first time beer and tattoos have gone together - but this time drinkers are being encouraged to keep a clear head before getting themselves inked.

The two-day Beervana festival, starting today at Wellington's Westpac Stadium, will include a display from Panhead Custom Ales that has a bar at one end and a tattooist's chair, complete with Wellington tattooist Simon Morse, at the other.

Panhead owner Mike Neilson said time slots for tattoos during Beervana were booked out.

"But if there is a spot where Simon has finished and someone is there, who isn't intoxicated and [is] making the right decisions, then I'm pretty sure we could fit them in for a tattoo . . .

"It's up to them what they want, but if they want a tattoo of one of our labels then why the hell not.

"People come to Beervana for an experience, and that's what we are all about, giving the people a good time."

Neilson said beer and tattoos, but not intoxication, were natural bedfellows.

"A lot of good thoughts happen from drinking beer. It is kind of creative. Then you just look around the streets of Wellington, which is a cool place to be, and you see people who have been a bit creative on themselves - using their body as a creative billboard in a way."

For those not wanting to be left with a permanent reminder, Panhead will be giving away temporary stick-on tattoos.

Upper Hutt-based Panhead launched its craft beer at last year's Beervana. Over the next 12 months it has used tattooist Morse, who is based in the James Smith building in Wellington, as a label designer.

"He is a really good illustrator and we use him a lot for our one-off seasonal labels."

Beervana is on today and tomorrow with two four-hour drinking sessions daily, starting at 11am and 6pm, showcasing upwards of 250 craft beers and ciders from more than 60 breweries.

A 250ml beer will cost $6 or $8, depending on the level of alcohol by volume (ABV).

Beers with 10 per cent ABV or stronger can be bought only in 75ml quantities, at a cost of $6 a serve. A ticket for one session costs $45.

About 11,000 visitors are expected over the two days.



A few tasty capital brews took home beer awards last night but it was a one-man operation from Nelson that bagged the top prize.

Among the Wellington contingent, Upper Hutt's Panhead Custom Ales won two awards at the 2014 Brewers' Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards, with its Boss Hog crowned top international ale and its Black Sabbath drop taking out a speciality category.

ParrotDog's BloodyDingo was deemed the best US ale while Tuatara's vampire-themed Delicious Neck "immortal" pale ale was considered the most cleverly packaged.

But it was Martin Townshend who was left close to tears after his Townshend brewery was named New Zealand's champion brewery.

The one-man operation, which started in a shed on the outskirts of Nelson, beat a record 670 beers from 84 breweries, and 15 categories, with 74 New Zealand breweries entered.

"Like most things in life, the secret to success is passion, hard work and dedication to the task," said Townshend.

The Dominion Post