Iron Maiden's Branded Beer, 'Trooper,' Is Our Beer Of The Week

By Jenny Pfafflin in Food on Aug 3, 2015 1:37PM

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It’s been thousands of years since the first drinking song was sung, and nearly 75 years since Hank Williams cried a tear in his beer.

But from Hanson’s hilariously-executed MmmHops to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody Pilsner (also a hysterical gimme), musician-brewery collaborations are starting to strike a chord. And it makes sense. Most breweries are small, independently-owned operations, fighting for shrinking shelf space—while most musicians are also elbowing for exposure in an industry that no longer even supports shelf space. After all, when’s the last time you bought an album versus the last time you bought a beer?

For the most part, the influx of band-branded beers seem to be invested collaborations, rather than just an exercise in lifestyle marketing. At last week’s Pitchfork Music Festival, Goose Island debuted No Collar—an easy-drinking helles for outdoor summer music festivals—with Chance The Rapper, who excitedly documented his involvement with the beer’s creation. Also found on shelves is Surly’s Doomtree, a malty pale ale from the Minneapolis brewery that gives a shout-out to the hip-hop collective of the same name, and boasts a beer description that reads like liner notes, blending the intersection of music and beer.

But for some bands, it’s their fandom that brings them to the beer.

“Customers are fans of the band before they are beer enthusiasts looking for a new beer,” said Lanny Hoff, senior vice president at Artisanal Imports—the outfit responsible for bringing Trooper, a beer officially branded as “Created by Iron Maiden,” into the States. “If the beer is something other than a run-of-the-mill lager, they are palate-expanding for the fans.”

Introduced in 2013, Trooper is the partnership between English brewery Robinsons and Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson. Dickinson, a self-described “real ale enthusiast,” thought beer would be a new way to reach out to fans. And he was right—Trooper quickly became Robinsons' best-selling beer and a sought-after bottle in the States, mostly due to Maiden fans. As a result, they are a hell of a lot of people in the U.S. drinking an ESB, when they may have not have tried the style before.

Although a picture of a charging Eddie the Head on the label may illustrate otherwise, Trooper is a very pleasant beer—clocking in at a very un-metal 4.7%, Trooper has a strong, malty caramel aroma, with lightly tropical citrus notes, and a dry and slightly bitter finish. With a story due for a revival, it’s a mature and complex beer style—which seems like an appropriate liquid tribute to a band adored by bookworms and history buffs alike.

You can find Robinsons Brewery’s Trooper at Binny’s locations.