The three Mac’s beers being imported from New Zealand by parent company Lion Nathan present an attractive spectrum of flavours – from the pale, light, low-carb Spring Tide to the richly malty, but mid-alcohol Mac’s Gold All Malt Lager to the full-bore, hoppy Hop Rocker Pilsner.
The range also shows the challenge brewers face in retaining flavour as alcohol or carbohydrate levels decline. In themselves alcohol and carbs have little flavour. But their contribution to the overall richness of beer becomes apparent when they’re not present.
Anyone who’s drunk low alcohol or low-carb beer understands the flavour disappointment. Brewers try to compensate by boosting other flavour components, notably of hops in low-carb brews. The Woolworths-owned Platinum Blonde is a good and successful example of this approach, as is Mac’s Spring Tide.
But the vibrant hops aroma and flavour even of these well-made beers barely mask the flavour hole. They’re tolerable. But if you’re into full-strength beer your interest’s likely to fade quickly.
Mac’s Gold, I believe, is far more successful. Its modest 3.8 per cent alcohol is sufficient, in combination with rich malt and subtle but attractive hops, to maintain interest time and again. And Hop Rocker is brisk and rich with a distinctive pungent but not over-the-top hoppiness.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009