I have had a beer from Mac's brewery in New Zealand before, and it was not worth writing about to be honest. That was Mac's Gold, an all malt lager that was over-carbonated and just boring. Though there was nothing wrong with it. I figured it was a one off freak occurrence in an off-license in Cork and I would never come across any of their beers again. I was wrong.
From the same off-license in Bandon I came across 6 packs of the stuff a few weeks back. So I bought one of each, except for the Gold of course.
Sassy Red is what they call a Best Bitter. Well it's certainly not an English style best bitter, that's for damn sure. The aroma is a little meh, possibly confusing. A little caramel is all I could get, though in fairness I was drinking them from the fridge. It tastes a little more interesting and I would hope so, they use five different malts in the grist. A sort of caramel backbone with a little biscuit and buttery notes add some flavour to this watery beer. I'm of two minds here because on the one hand, I describe it as a watery uninteresting red ale. On the other, I rather enjoyed it and so did my friend so I think it makes a good session beer, if ever so slightly strong at 4.5%.
I had higher hopes for Hop Rocker for the simple reason that although it's a Pilsner (or Pilsener as they say), it happens to be hopped with Cascade and Nelson Sauvin hops. I can't think of a better hop combination for a new world Pilsner so I looked forward to it. I was only slightly disappointed with the beer, bearing in mind that I had set the bar quite low from the previous experiences. The aroma is a little citric but not a whole lot, again I did have them from the fridge so the lack of aroma is nothing to go by. When I tasted Hop Rocker I certainly experienced a good citrus bite. There was a little caramel and a very pleasant mouthfeel and a nice lingering bitterness. A slightly metallic twang was the only possible downside. I really enjoyed this beer and would very much love to try this on tap some day.
It would seem Mac's has been around for 30 years now, so they might be aiming to please the masses and accountants with slightly blander beers, while keeping the marketing fun and exciting. Of the three beers I have had, Hop Rocker was the best but none had stood out. If I was in need of a quick 6 pack then these are perfect as they were about €10 and interesting enough to enjoy compared to even a 6 pack of Sam Adams Boston Lager, but if I had a little more choice there are certainly other beers I would much rather drink.