Friday, 22 June 2007

Beer O’Clock – Black Mac

The ever SOBA Neil from Real Beer takes free speech too far in this week's Beer O'Clock post...

While issues such as global warming and property rights can easily be addressed on the pages of 'Not PC' by simply quoting the appropriate passages from Rand [if only she'd written on global warming - Ed], the far more vexed issue of Black Mac beer caused some extended debate this last fortnight.

After quickly establishing that Black Mac really was a dark lager, the question was whether it should have been placed so highly in the Consumer beer survey.

Well, as luck would have it, I presented Black Mac at a beer and food dinner for the Wellington Young Accountants Group (YAG) last week, the perfect chance to reacquaint myself with this occasionally maligned beer.

I have to start by saying that I do not drink a lot of dark lagers. My preference is for lighter, hop-dominated brews so in the Mac’s range I tend to sup Hop Rocker.

However, I appreciate that Black Mac is a fine black lager. Though the recipe has been tweaked many times over the years, it is one of the more established Mac’s beers .

It pours near-black with an espresso head. The dominant flavours and aromas are of chocolate, coffee and toast but the finish is nicely bitter due to the use of Fuggles hops.

Smooth, creamy and pleasant, Mac's Black is at the heavier hopped end of the dark lager scale but there is nothing in there to scare your average beer drinker.

It is not the biggest seller in the range but in my opinion it has some of the most fiercely loyal drinkers in the country. People who drink Black Mac rarely have time for other beers. I believe Oswald Bastable has expressed a fondness for it before, so you know it can’t be politically correct.

Last night I matched it with blue cheese, crackers, ginger nuts, chocolate apricots and walnuts, and I have to say it was marvellous. Any number of preconceptions about beer and food matching got knocked out the window there.

Lay in a slab for the weekend's sporting action. Go you good things.

Cheers, Neil

PS: If you want to make it a real sporting weekend, why not lay in a slab of Consumer's overall winner Speight's Porter as well, and test your taste buds over both winners.


  1. Gee, Wellington Young Accountants Group, that must have been riverting


  2. Could have been worse. Could have been Wellington Young Nats. ;^)

  3. BTW: Last election Auckland's Young Nats were running around with T-shirts emblazoned with 'Brash Brigade.' I wonder what they'll have this time.
    'John Boy's Juniors'?
    'Key's Cripples'?
    'Blancmange Brigade'?

  4. Yes, I was drinking it before it got even remotly trendy!

    Mac's ale from the keg at Warners Hotel back in 1981-82

    And at Jackson's, but I'm a bit bluury about that session...

  5. "Brash Brigade" was so lame.

    Key won't be having any of that nerdiness.

    This beer is only good to put into pies and dark chili dishes. Same as vermouth -- it is excellent in the risotto soffrito and as one is not tempted to drink it, it lasts for months in my cupboard.

  6. My patale has gone on to better things, but back in the 80's, when beer came in two 'flavours', Macs was ahead of its time.


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