Your weekend beer recommendation comes this week from Neil at Real Beer.
It is a beautiful day in Wellington today. How rare – but a fine opportunity to discuss one of my favourite summer beers, Mac’s Nelson Reserve.
This fine beverage began life in 1996 as Mac’s Oktobermac – a name that makes little sense in both English and German. It was this pioneering craft brewery’s first limited release and originally it was a strong, malty golden lager, brewed loosely in the style of a German Oktoberfest or Marzenbier (March beer).
The beer was very well received and subsequently introduced into the full time range as Mac’s Premium Reserve. Later the name was changed again to Mac’s Nelson Reserve. To coincide with the launch of the new craft range, the beer’s name has been shortened to Mac’s Reserve. It’s had more names than Aargorn but it will always be Mac’s Nelson Reserve to me!
With a new name came a further flavour profile change. The hop profile was lifted marked with the addition of the winy, spicy Nelson Sauvin hop variety now joining the Southern Cross. This has boosted both the aroma and bitterness.
I like the new hop profile so much that I’m prepared to overlook the alcohol content dropping a whole 0.2% - something I am usually quite bitter about. [Pun intended.]
The decision to profile Mac’s Nelson Reserve today is not simply because it is a sunny day in Wellington (oh my!). I’m worried that it might be dropped soon. I don’t have any firm information on this but I fear Reserve will go simply because it doesn’t have a sharply defined brand (like Copperhop) or massive sales (like Gold) to save it.
This would be a shame if it happens as it is my favorite of the Mac’s bottled craft range. It is widely available in supermarkets and bottle stores – so buy some now!
That is quite enough complaining and moralizing. Mac’s Reserve pours a mid-straw gold colour with a thin white head. It offers up an enticing aroma of spicy, citrus hops with subtle hints of Sauv Blanc wine from the Nelson Sauvin hops. In the mouth it simply explodes with a juicy citrus tang followed by a crisp, clean, long finish.
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