68. Hop Rocker

Posted: September 1, 2010 in International beer, Lager, Tough label
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hop Rocker

Company info:
Mac’s Brewery
Wellington, NEW ZEALAND


Bottle size sampled: 330 mL

Alcohol: 4.8%
Standard drinks: 1.3

Cap type: Ring-pull

Cost: I picked this up for AU$TBC

Label info: ‘A brew of illustrious lineage, Hop Rockers is a premium lager with ideas of its own. By adding a portion of crystal malt to the standard lager malt, it buys itself some room for serious hop addition, namely Nelson Sauvin up front and again later in combination with New Zealand Cascade. It resolves itself as a golden lager with proper citrus aromas and pilsner-style notes. Of course Hop Rocker didn’t really have these ideas, our head brewer did, a fact he’ll quickly point out if it wins as many awards as our old reserve did’

What the label really means: This is a fun label that gives the impression the brewers don’t take themselves too seriously – and that’s a good thing. The font for all this writing is in a squished up, messy hand-written style and this accentuates the fun.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: From the moment I spot the ring-pull cap (quite the novelty!), to the ribbed for your pleasure bottle neck, I know I am in for something completely ‘out there’ with this beer. The label is exceptional. Look closely and you’ll notice what look like planks of wood stretched across its surface. The words ‘Mac’s Brewery Hop Rocker Pilsener’ are branded across the front as though someone has taken a dirty, used, paintbrush and written the words across the side of a barn. I love it. It gives the impression of a home-brewed, back-shop, ma and pa moonshine and I am hooked before sinking my teeth into this. It makes being a toothless hick red-neck cool. An’ damn’d if I dun wanna git me sum o this hir joos.

I give it a label rating of 8 out of 10.

AROMA: A pleasant blend of wheat and citrus.

Taste: GLASS – Delicious! Hop Rocker has a distinctly earthy taste that is very smooth, easy to drink due to its mild carbonation and a subtle tease of citrus. This is a pilsner unlike any I’ve had before and it packs a surprisingly refreshing punch. Hop-Rock on!

I give it a beer from glass rating of 8 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Just as enjoyable and twice as fun to hold. The textured neck give the illusion this is a fat bottled beer. Truth is, it’s regular size, it’s just a cool bottle to be drinking from. I am loving it. And hey, if the hops are rocking, don’t bother knocking,

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 8 out of 10.

Accompanying food: This would play the perfect accompaniment to a rich and creamy pasta dish.

Best season to appreciate: I am struggling to imagine a season where this beer wouldn’t work. But, due to the subtle hints of citrus, I’ll lean ever so slightly to Summer.

All-nighter beer? Definitely! It’s weird, but the earthiness of this beer also suggests a lack of chemicals and it seems immediately evident. This is one beer I believe would prove to be headache free the day after (TBC). [NB: The label also proclaims the beer to be ‘Naturally Brewed’ – just noticed this!]

NEXT WEEK: Punk IPA (our first Scottish brew!)

  1. Skamps says:

    Top beer indeed! I find this beer such a pleasurable drink and am finding it on the shelves of bottle shops more and more often. I think I have seen other beers from Mac’s Brewery on shelves too but not sure. You tasted any others Hell-Cat?


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      Not as yet but they are certainly on my ‘to drink’ list.

      Of course if the good folk at Mac’s Brewery are reading this and would like to supply me with a couple, it would hasten the review process! *wink wink*


  2. BargeDave says:

    It’s hard to find this drop but I used to work at a big office building a couple of k’s out of the city in Adelaide, which was a great walk along the banks of the River Torrens. The point is that the bottle-o opposite my workplace stocked this awesome pilsner and it was a great end to the day to grab a sixer and enjoy half of it while strolling back along the riverbank into town to catch my bus home. The same brewer have also had a red ale out which is similarly high quality and distinctive. Top stuff. Or, given it’s from NZ, choice.


  3. McLean not MacLean says:

    This is an absolute belter of a beer. Up there with the best pilsners I have tasted. I’m delighted to see you’ve given it the hallowed status of ‘Hellcat Approved’. Quick question though: I rarely find this beer on sale in Australia. Any idea which retailers stock it?


  4. McLean not MacLean says:

    Blue is my favourite colour.


  5. BargeDave says:

    Nice tractor.


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