I commented recently here at The Brewclub that brewing is fast becoming the ‘new rock and roll’, with bands collaborating with brewers to brew their own beers.
As Meatloaf put it (in Deadringer) “Rock & Roll and Brew”.
While Status Quo (whose ‘Piledriver’ I reviewed recently) might be a new name to The Brewclub’s readers in the (ahem) colonies, this brew – ‘Trooper’ – is brewed by Stockport’s Robinsons brewery in collaboration with Iron Maiden. And named for the band’s classic track, itself inspired by the British ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ during the Crimean War.
Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden’s vocalist (and occasional pilot) played what the brewery describes as a ‘major role in developing the unique flavour of the beer, entailing ongoing visits to Robinson’s brewery in Stockport.’ Dickinson himself said “I’m a lifelong fan of traditional English ale; I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when we were asked to create our own beer. I have to say that I was very nervous: Robinsons are the only people I have had to audition for in 30 years. Their magic has been to create the alchemical wedding of flavour and texture that is TROOPER. I love it.”
I think it’s fair to assume that Bruce’s opinion might be slightly biased
Before I pour it, it’s worth a mention for the beer’s label, which features Iron Maiden’s mascot ‘Eddie’ – hmm.
It pours mid-amber, with a generous head, there are traces of lacing, but not a lot. The nose is ‘old school’ hops, slightly bready.
Flavour is mellow rather than overly bitter, with that slightly metallic, but not unpleasant hop flavour, underpinned with a rich bed of malt. The hops are Bobec (an aromatic hop in the style of ‘Styrian’) Goldings and Cascade. In theory the Bobec and Cascade hops should impart citrus notes, but they just didn’t come through for me, or for the house guests who joined me in an afternoon’s beer appreciation.
It’s brewed to 4.7% ABV, which sets it, in British terms, as a ‘special bitter’ rather than a session beer, and I’m afraid there are better examples ‘out there’, both old-school and modern.
That said, it does what it sets out to, and is accordingly worthy of three Brewclub stars.
I try to review brews individually, but on a warm summer’s afternoon, offered a choice of Status Quo’s ‘Piledriver’ and Iron Maiden’s ‘Trooper’, I would, despite ‘Trooper’s extra strength, turn to a ‘Piledriver’ every time.
Is the ‘Rock & Roll and Brew’ phenomenon a British thing? I’m not aware of any American bands turning to the humble hop.