Mashups are trending strong in the beer world right now. However, while the American craft world focused on gimmicks like mixing breakfast cereal with hops, the cousins across the pond worked on something a little harder. The UK’s Robinson’s Brewery just unveiled “Sun and Steel,” a saké yeast beer produced in conjunction with Iron Maiden.
Yes, that Iron Maiden.
The British heavy metal pioneers also like, make that love, beer. So, when Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson* met Robinsons’ Head Brewer Martyn Weeks, the Trooper range was born.
Slated for a Spring 2019 release, Sun and Steel will be the sixth (almost, but not quite the Seventh Son) beer and first lager in the Trooper series.
The saké concept has been in the works since 2016. That’s when Weeks and Dickinson began collaborating with George Yusa.
Yusa is a Maiden superfan and friend of the band. Yet, in the beverage world, he is better known as the owner of the 300 year old Okunomatsu Saké Brewery in Fukushima. The rocker and the brewer loved the idea of mixing in the saké yeast. However, first, the trio needed permission from the Japanese government to brew with the protected yeast.
One year later, the bureaucratic hurdles were cleared and Yusa showed up backstage at a Maiden show at London’s O2 Arena. The visitor came bearing gifts, a sample of the coveted yeast. The pros at Robinsons’ have been cultivating the strain ever since.
Finally, the yeast was ready to make a beer. Enter Sun and Steel!
“I had a crazy idea to try and make a sake infused lager and over two and a half years later, here we are! I know Martyn and the team at Robinsons have had to become mad scientists to make this work but the end result is a really unique hybrid beer that tastes fantastic,” said Dickinson in a statement. “Trooper fans have been asking for a lager, and here it is. I bet you would never have guessed we would do it like this though!”
The brew is technically a 4.8% ABV, double fermented lager. That ‘double fermented’ part means that before the saké yeast enters the mix, the batch undergoes an initial fermentation with lager yeast.
Robinsons’ marketing materials describe the end result as “delicate, subtle fruit flavour infused into a pilsner style lager.”
Hardcore Maiden fans might be equally interested in the name. Sun and Steel is an homage towards the band’s 1983 track of the same name. The track about the exploits of Japanese Samurai Miyamoto Musashi appeared on Maiden’s “Piece of Mind” album.
Release is expected in the next month or so. Information on pre-orders for fans will also be announced on Iron Maiden Beer’s and Robinsons Brewery’s social media accounts.
*Fun Fact: Bruce Dickinson is also a licensed pilot. We don’t mean that he screws around on a Cessna. No, he actually flies passenger jets like 747’s and has a history of airlifting stranded British tourists.