If you read the front page of this site, it will tell you that I’m a metalhead. While the long hair is gone and I may no longer look the part, it most certainly still holds true: I love heavy metal! And I love beer! So combining the two seems like a pretty good idea, right?
Now, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: big name rock band releases beer, and world goes crazy. KISS has done it, Motörhead has done it, others have done it.. And, well, usually the world has forgotten about it rather quickly because, let’s face it, usually rock band know more about writing music and personal branding that they do about brewing beers.
But now one of my absolute favorite metal acts of all time, British demigods Iron Maiden, have gone and done it, too; released their own beer! An Iron Maiden sanctioned beer with the Iron Maiden name on it, along side an image of their mascot Eddie and the name of the beer taken from one of my favorite songs of theirs: The Trooper!
That’s all fine and dandy, though, and it’s a really attractive bottle, but again: usually nothing good comes from a mass marketed industrial product sanctioned by a great brand, right? But who knows? Thanks to some pretty clever marketing and distribution along with the power of the Iron Maiden brand, the word about this beer has certainly been traveling around the wold like a wildfire, creating no uncertain amount of buzz, and demand has been pretty crazy.
If you ask me, it’s up to someone to step up, have a taste and tell the world from a culinarily interested metalhead beer aficionado point of view just what this Iron Maiden beer is all about! Now, this humble blogger just happened to get his greedy hands on a bottle and while it certainly was expensive enough to warrant him keeping it as a collectible, I’m gonna take one for the team and do a taste test of the already legendary Iron Maiden Trooper beer from Robinsons Brewery.
Time to test whether beer and heavy metal is really the perfect marriage, at least it looks f’ing cool!
In terms of style, The Tropper is a British Bitter type of beer. This usually means amber-colored beers with some sweet malt, plenty of hops and, well, bitterness. And let it be said from the beginning that The Trooper is no exception to the general rule.
From an appearance kind of standpoint, the beer actually pours a pretty attractive amber to dark brown with a reasonably creamy and persistent head.
The smell has some subtle malt, but is mostly dominated by cascade hops. Cascade hops are a very distinct kind of hops which always bring an unmistakable floral note to the party. I’ve personally come to love the smell and taste of cascade hops, but some people like to refer to as dishwashing liquid-like. (I usually suggest that these people go down a pint of dishwasher liquid before making such comparisons, but I digress)
So far so good and not at all too bad.. But what of the taste? Well, as could be expected there’s some sweetness, some sweet malt and there are floral notes, a bit of grass, some fruit.. and a really entirely odd bitterness in the form of a, in my mind, misplaced citrusy note which reminded me more of grapefruit than of anything else. The commercial description claims this to be a subtle lemon note, but it’s way too funky and pungent to be either subtle or lemony, it’s somehow not entirely bad, but certainly not entirely pleasant either. It is, sadly, not something I’d want an entire pint of again, and certainly nothing worth coming back for at the relatively high price they demand for this “premium” branded beer.
In conclusion, this was a little all over the place and never entirely good or interesting. I kept getting a feeling it was trying to be something it wasn’t. and failing pretty miserably at that. The Trooper should stick to its guns (no point intended) and try to be a straight forward, reasonably priced quality lager-type beer for heavy metal fans rather than an overpriced and well-meant but poorly executed artisan brew for beer lovers. I’m sorry to say this, but even as a 15 year fan of Iron Maiden, I can’t recommend this beer to even the biggest fanboy and/or girl. At least not as anything more than a novelty or part of the ultimate Iron Maiden merchandise collection!
Overall score: 10/20
More info about Iron Maiden’s The Trooper Beer is available at http://www.ironmaidenbeer.com