Debunking a myth: Not all Beers are born equal

Did you know that not all beers are born equal? This month we have teamed up with our mates at Mac’s to illustrate how there are not only different beers to suit different tastes but also beers to suit different occasions so read on to become a beer aficionado.

It is a common, long held misunderstanding that beer is beer but there is actually a lot more to it than that and we are not just talking about colour and taste. We see this regularly when we facilitate our Alcohol&Me workshops in workplaces around NZ. People who think that because in their words, they “don’t drink high octane spirits” that they are drinking safely but this is not always the case. As an old campaign from the Ministry of Health suggests – ‘It doesn’t matter what you’re drinking, it is how you’re drinking’ that impacts your health and wellbeing both now and in the future. This is why we’re so keen to debunk the myth that all beers are born equal.

Before we begin, it is super important to understand the following key facts. If you remember nothing else from this article, please let it be these 5 facts:


A healthy adult liver can only process 10g of pure alcohol per hour and there is absolutely NO way to speed this process up. Yes water, food, medication, your size etc can make us feel the effects of the alcohol differently but they DON’T speed up the processing of the alcohol itself.


One standard drink is an alcoholic beverage that contains 10g of pure alcohol. It is not necessarily 1 glass or bottle.


The number of standard drinks in your favourite drink will be printed on the label so you have all the information you need to make an informed choice right at your fingertips … quite literally! If not check out our Standard Drink Calculator.



The standard drinks information is telling you how long it will take your body to process the alcohol in that bottle or can. For example, if the label says 1.3 standard drinks, which means it will take you 1.3 hours to process the alcohol in that one bottle.


As the ABV (Alcohol by volume or the strength of the alcohol) goes up, the volume of a standard drink decreases and that is why we can drink 330ml of a 4% beer and only 155ml of an 8% beer before we hit the 1 standard drink mark.


Knowing what a standard drink is and that your body can only process 1 standard drink per hour is the key to smarter drinking regardless of what you drink.

So now you know the facts, let’s have a look at some of the beers in the Mac’s Family to give you an idea of how much you’re really drinking so you can choose the beer that is right for both your taste buds and the drinking occasion:

Stunt Double

ABV: Less than 0.5% – 1x 330ml bottle/can will take your liver less than 16mins (0.26 hours) to process

Flavour: This bright and refreshing golden ale has been brewed to have less than 0.5% alcohol.

Occasion: Stunt Double is a great drink choice for someone who likes beer but wants to cut back on the amount of alcohol they drink for however long or short that period may be. It means you can still enjoy that beer taste with your mates at any time of the day and it definitely makes for a nice change from the typical non-alcoholic offerings of soft drink and juice.

You could also try alternating one of these with your usual beer of choice next time you are out and about, but it’s important to remember that Stunt Double still contains a small amount of alcohol. Either way, remember to keep hydrated with water too – your body and mind will thank you for it tomorrow!

Mid Vicious

ABV: 2.5% – 1x 330ml bottle/can will take your liver 42mins (0.7 hours) to process

Flavour: Like a Rockstar with a day job – this beer is mid-strength with a subtle fruity hop flavour. Judges have said in the past that Mid Vicious provides a good use of bitterness, balance and gentle flavour which is why you will find it at the refreshing end of the Mac’s flavour scale.

Occasion: As a mid-strength beer, Mid Vicious is extremely session-able. At just 0.7 standard drinks per bottle/can it is a great option for pacing yourself and lasting the distance in at longer social events. It is also a great option for a lunchtime catch up with mates, but don’t forget to keep track of your drinks so you can still get on with your weekend “To Do List” afterwards.

Mac’s Gold

ABV: 4% – so 1x 330ml bottle/can will take your liver 1 hour (60mins) to process

Flavour: The talisman of the Mac’s family. Mac’s Gold is a naturally brewed, all malt lager with hints of citrus and caramel sweetness. It also has a super crisp, clean aftertaste which is why it proudly anchors the Mac’s flavour scale at the refreshingly, session-able end.

Occasion: At 4%, Mac’s Gold is a smart beer choice because there’s 1 standard drink in each 330ml bottle/can. That makes it super easy to keep track of how many beers you’ve had and how long it will take your body to process them. Remember 1 standard drink takes 1 hour to process so it’s as simple as 1:1! Mac’s Gold is your ultimate allrounder for a variety of occasions from chilling with mates at the beach to a first date.

Black Mac

ABV: 4.8% – 1x 330ml bottle/can will take your liver 72mins (1.2 hours) to process

Flavour: A smooth porter with hints of chocolate, licorice and caramel Black Mac sits at the furthest end of the Mac’s flavour scale – meaning it’s made for savouring at special occasions.

Occasion: This porter style beer likes to be paired with the finer things – so why not enjoy it with blue cheese and crackers or a nice red steak. If you have a sweet tooth, Black Mac is also pretty good with a piece of chocolate brownie. Eating doesn’t stop you from getting drunk but a full stomach will help you to feel the effects of the alcohol less so your body and mind will thank you for it! Eating also helps you to space out your drinks over the occasion so your liver can keep up.

Hop Rocker

ABV: 5% – 1x 330ml bottle/can will take your liver 1.3 hours (78mins) to process

Flavour: This pilsner style beer has hoppy bursts of flavour, bitter notes and citrus aromas which is why you will find Hop Rocker anchored at the midpoint on the flavour scale perfectly balanced between quenching and savouring.

Occasion: At 5% ABV, this is a beer that is well suited to after works drinks, BBQs and BYO dinners with friends. A great accompaniment to the jokes and crazy yarns that usually happen when groups come together in the weekends, this beer is a great accompaniment for some relaxed downtime   whatever that looks like for you.

Some other 4.6% – 5% ABV Mac’s options that you might also like to try for similar occasions are:

  • Rockaway (4.7% ABV, 1.2 hours to process) – This light Pacific style Pale Ale is brewed with lager and crystal malts, plus 30% rolled wheat. Mac’s Rockaway has a faint haze, creamy foam and light notes of tropical citrus which is why you will find it at the refreshing end of the Mac’s Flavour scale.
  • Ultra Violet (4.6% ABV, 1.2 hours to process) – A hoppy pale ale with tropical fruit and citrus flavours, easy drinking with a smooth bitterness and crisp clean finish. Added bonus – it has 50% less carbs than the other beers in the current Mac’s range.
  • Magic Hour (5% ABV, 1.3 hours to process)A Hazy Pale Ale with a light, cloudy golden appearance.  Magic Hour has a biscuity background with a fresh hoppy taste and aroma.
  • Mac’s Interstate (5% ABV, 1.3 hours to process)- A take on a classic American Pale Ale, brewed to bring out punchy citrus and pine notes, it’s a beer that is full of punchy hop flavour. Definitely a beer to savour and enjoy.
  • For something a bit different why not try a Mac’s Seltzer (5% ABV, 1.3 hours to process) – available in 3 flavours (Apple & Pear, Strawberry & Rhubarb and Passionfruit & Mango)

ABV: 5.6% – 1x 330ml bottle/can will take your liver 1.5 hours (90mins) to process

Flavour: This Hazy IPA has a fruity burst of tropical and citrus flavours followed by an eerily smooth finish. Apparition is characterised by its juicy flavours and smooth bitterness which combined with its higher alcohol content is why you will find it at the “indulgence” end of the Mac’s Flavour scale.

Occasion:  This is a great beer to treat yourself with at the end of a big week. Being higher in alcohol means this is not the sort of beer that you’ll drink by the dozen, but it would be totally at home curled up in front of the fire (indoor or outdoor) with friends and family. Because this is a beer to savour not skull, it allows you to slow the pace at which you drink which in turn allows your liver to keep up with the processing it needs to do to metabolize the alcohol. Remember, the adult liver can only process 1 standard drink (10g of pure alcohol) per hour and the more you drink, the more your body and mind will be affected.

Some other Mac’s beers in the over 5% ABV category that you might like to try at your next celebration include:

  • Three Wolves (5.1% ABV, 78 mins to process)An elaborate Pale Ale bursting with citrus and tropical notes as well as a balanced bitterness. This beer will give your tastebuds something to howl about.
  • Green Beret (5.4% ABV, 84 mins/1.4 hours to process) – Powerful and precise, this Indian Pale Ale is an explosion of hoppy aroma & flavour. Green Beret is a well-balanced beer with a complex and rewarding flavour profile which means it’s well paired with the strong flavours of spicy and rich dishes.

As you can see the differences between beers are huge. Even beers that are the same strength (ABV) or style can have very unique characteristics just like those who choose to drink them so when it comes to making your own drinking choices #youdrinkyou.

They might all be beers in brown bottles or cans but they are definitely not all born equal so take some time to educate yourself on what you are drinking and always make the beer choice that is right for the occasion so you can last the distance in style.

We would love to hear what your go to beers are for each of your drinking occasions so feel free to email us at

The Alcohol&Me Team