Iron Maiden formed in 1975 just outside of East London. Since then the heavy metal rockers have thrilled millions with their hard-driving music through 15 studio and 11 live albums. The band released a series of US and UK platinum and gold albums, including 1982’s The Number of the Beast, 1983’s Piece of Mind, 1984’s Powerslave, 1985’s live release Live After Death, 1986’s Somewhere in Time and 1988’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Their fame led them to sales of over 85 million albums worldwide. Now, there is a beer named for their seminal song “The Trooper.”
Inspired by the Charge of the Light Brigade, which took place at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854 during the Crimean War, the song The Trooper tells the story of 600 British cavalry that audaciously charged the massed Russian artillery. The courageous but foolhardy attack resulted in massive loss of life. The beer, is further testament to these brave men and to the band that brought further attention to their sacrifices.
On the website for British Parliament member Mike Weatherly, Bruce Dickinson, Vocalist for Iron Maiden, 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: Robinson’s are the only people I have had to audition for in 30 years. Their magic has been to create the alchemical wedding of flavor and texture that is Trooper. I love it.”
The beer is brewed by the 175-year-old, family owned brewery Robinson’s Brewery in Stockport, England. William Robinson at the Unicorn Inn founded the brewery in 1838. In traditional British fashion, they supply more than 360 public houses that they also own mostly in North West England and Wales. In March of 2013, the brewery announced collaboration with Dickenson to produce Trooper a premium British beer inspired by Iron Maiden and handcrafted at Robinson’s Brewery. The company’s website describes the beer as having, “Malt flavours and citric notes from a unique blend of Bobec, Goldings and Cascade hops dominate this deep golden ale with a subtle hint of lemon.”
The beer has reached a level of notoriety for several newsworthy events in its short history.
The first was it being banned from the shelves of state-run liquor stores in Sweden. The Swedish “Systembolaget” removed the beer from its shelves because the original label featured the band’s mascot, “Eddie,” on a battlefield brandishing a Union Jack flag. This violated Swedish law that forbids “elements of war, weapons or aggression to be featured on alcoholic product[s].” After a quick revamp of the label, the beer is now available at Systembolaget stores and restaurants in Sweden.
The second is a much better outcome for the band from a PR point of view. Weatherley, a Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, was integral in getting the brew a ‘Guest Ale’ gig in Strangers’ Bar at the House of Commons.
Weatherly’s website says, “As part of a tradition to promote relatively unknown British Ales, Strangers’ Bar in the House of Commons features Guest Ales throughout the year. Mike, founder of Rock the House, Parliament’s biggest music competition, recently nominated Iron Maiden’s new Trooper Ale.”
Weathery says, “As an Iron Maiden fan… it is a real treat to have this specialist ale as one of the guest ales in Parliament… The guest ales program is an excellent way of drawing attention to small and independent beers from around the UK.”
Orders for the brew have come in from Canada, Sweden, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Holland, Denmark, Switzerland, Slovenia, Poland, Finland, Bulgaria, Spain, South Africa, Australia, Taiwan and the US. Availability however is very scarce. Watch for it at your local beer supplier.