Dates: 12th July – 18th July, 2013
Bottle shop: Countdown Johnsonville, Wellington
Beer: Hop Rocker, by Mac’s (well, Lion Nathan…(*Googles Lion Nathan*) oh no, wait, it’s Kirin…. no, wait, it’s Mitsubishi!) (12-pack 330ml, $20.99)
Week 2 – the difficult second album. And on that note…
There are certain albums – like Radiohead’s second offering The Bends – which are pure comfort food for the soul. You just slip them on, bung on your headphones…and the music is just there, omnipresent and unobtrusive, making your day that little bit better…without smacking you in the ears.
There are certain beers which are just like that too – comfort beers, if you please. They’re the beers you reach for when you’re not looking for audacious flavour, but instead for familiarity, consistency and reliability.
Hop Rocker fits into the comfort beer category very nicely indeed. It’s hoppier than your average pale lager, separating it from almost every other beer in its price category. I wouldn’t call it ‘hop-forward’ – but there’s just enough to give you the impression that the brewers have actually tried to extract some flavour out of their hops, and not just bitterness (a seemingly rare art among mass-produced beers).
Mac’s have a knack at producing these consistently-yum-but-well-priced beers; the Sassy Red is a very quaffable English-style bitter, but unfortunately Lion appear shy to produce a 12-pack. Log Burner was pretty num num too, when it was around – and Great White isn’t a terrible wheat beer, particularly considering the price-point.
But Mac’s also have a habit of producing beers which can safely be described as pretty crap. Mac’s Gold is easily forgettable, and the less said about the newest addition Shady Pale the better (seriously, hand-on-heart: who was it at the brewery that tasted Shady Pale and said “mmmm, now THAT’S the beer we’re going to label as our pale ale!!!”).
Those exceptions aside, Hop Rocker has been my staple beer for ages; it’s the consistent performer that doesn’t wallop your wallet. It’s no Emerson’s Pilsner in terms of sheer awesomeness, but unlike Emerson’s, it’s available almost everywhere. Hop Rocker represents pretty solid value for money for those weeks when you just need to make sure there’s something drinkable in the fridge at all times.
…And now I’ve gone and had it in Week 2 of my blog. So according to my own rules, I can’t have any more until Christmas.
It’s going to be a long 5 months.