Beverage Review – Iron Maiden’s Sun and Steel

Sun, steel, Iron Maiden and a nice and cold saké-infused beer. What else do you need in life?

“Sunlight, falling on your steel,
Death in life is your ideal,
Life is like a wheel, rolling on and on.”

Let’s celebrate the news of another round of the superb Legacy of the Beast Tour by the one and only Iron Maiden, which will conquer pretty much the entire world except for the Americas in 2020, with a review of Sun and Steel, the sixth beer from the unstoppable Bruce Dickinson together with Robinsons Brewery. And let me tell you that after having tried the original Trooper Beer, the amazing Hallowed, and now Sun and Steel, I must admit this saké lager by Mr. Bruce Dickinson is in my opinion the one with the best taste, aftertaste, freshness and punch. I still have to try the other Iron Maiden beers I haven’t found yet such as Trooper Red ‘N’ Black, of course, but I doubt those will be as good as Sun and Steel. And do you want to know why?

Sun and Steel is the first lager in the Trooper range and is one of the most complex beers that Robinsons Brewery has ever produced, a double fermented lager created with authentic Japanese saké yeast. The idea for the beer, designed once again by the one and only Mr. Bruce Dickinson along with Robinsons’ Head Brewer Martyn Weeks, was first conceived during the autumn of 2016 following a meeting between Bruce and a friend of the band and long-time Iron Maiden fan George Yusa, owner of the 300-year old family run Okunomatsu Saké Brewery in Fukushima, Japan. Bruce became intrigued with the idea of putting the two flavor profiles together, and thus Sun and Steel was born. George was able to deliver a sample of the saké yeast to Iron Maiden’s 2017 concert at London’s O2 Arena, which Bruce took up to Robinsons Brewery. Having obtained permission from the Japanese government to brew with it, Martyn and the team had carefully cultivated the strain ever since. “This has been such an exciting project. I had a crazy idea to try and make a saké 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. 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,” commented Bruce about his newborn “baby”.

Needless to say, if you’re a diehard Maidenmaniac you already know Sun and Steel takes its designation from the Iron Maiden song of the same name that appears on their 1983 masterpiece Piece Of Mind, which was in turn inspired by the life of Japanese Samurai Miyamoto Musashi, hence the idea of uniting a lager yeast, for the initial fermentation, with a saké yeast, as saké is Japan’s national beverage,  for a second fermentation. The result is a crisp and refreshing 4.8% double-fermented, saké-infused pilsner style lager with a flash of honey and fruit that will please from the most demanding beer connoisseur to the average social beer drinker, showing how much effort Bruce and Martyn put into brewing such delicious beer. Of pale yellow color, gooseberry and honey lychee smell, and smooth and delicate taste, Sun and Steel is not too sweet nor too bitter, being the perfect beer for the winter while we all wait for the Legacy of the Beast Tour to kick off in 2020, or for the hot and sunny days of summer when Bruce, Steve & Co. will take several cities and countries all over the world by storm with their unparalleled live performances. For instance, you can find Sun and Steel on sale at selected LCBO stores if you live in Canada for 2.85 Canadian Dollars each 500ml can, at several other importers from all over the world, or simply go to the Robinsons Brewery official website to grab 12 bottles of 330ml each for £20. Having said that, what are you waiting for to purchase a few cans or bottles of Sun and Steel and enjoy them while listening to the song Sun and Steel itself and all other Iron Maiden classics we all love so much? UP THE IRONS AND… KANPAI!

Beer details
Country: England
Brewer: Robinsons Brewery
Style: Saké Lager
Alcohol Content (ABV): 4.8%
Color: Pale yellow
Smell: Gooseberry, honey lychee
Taste: Smooth, complex and delicate
Sweetness: 3 out of 5
Bitterness: 2 out of 5
Contains: Malted barley and wheat

Beverage Review – AC/DC Premium Lager Beer

Australian Hard Rock icons are back in “beer”, although not as good as expected.

Rating7

IMG_1641For the sake of heavy music, Australian Hard Rock gods AC/DC are not going to retire as many websites and newspapers like the National Post and Billboard said a few weeks ago. Those were only false rumors promptly denied by the band itself, which means we can keep enjoying AC/DC’s unparalleled music legacy without worrying (at least for now) about the band breaking up. However, just as many other huge heavy music icons in the world, such as Iron Maiden, Motörhead, KISS, among others, Angus Young & Co. are investing in other sources of income or alternatives for the gigantic tumble all physical album sales and even part of digital sales have been suffering in the past decade due to illegal downloads.

Thus, one of the most explored markets by all of those bands, including AC/DC, is the alcoholic beverage industry, and among the AC/DC beverages we have the AC/DC Premium Lager Beer. The band’s motto for their beer is “Australian Rock meets German beer”, and according to their website, “If you wanna rock hard, you need the right beer. AC/DC, the infamous Hardrock Legends from down under, have been delivering true rock for the last 40 years. Now they give their name for true pint-sized Australian taste as well.” In addition, the information AC/DC provides about their beer is that “AC/DC Premium Lager Beer is 568mL of true German Premium Lager with mouthwatering 5.0% alc. This lager fires up your tongue like TNT, comes with a great beer-loving taste and is brewed in accordance with the Rock`n Roll manifesto of 1973 and the German purity law of 1516.”

The only problem is that, besides those powerful words and the beauty of the can, nothing else really stands out when you actually taste the beer. It’s just an average golden color beer with a tiny white head that doesn’t last for too long, and a not very exciting malt taste with hints of grassy hops. The aroma of corn and grains is not bad, but it’s not as good as many other lagers in the market, and also the beer tends to become too watery after a while if you don’t drink it fast. I know this happens with many other beers, but believe me, with the AC/DC one this “process” is extremely fast, and if you are a head lover you’ll probably hate this beer.

One thing that really bothered me after drinking the AC/DC beer was the unpleasant bitterness in the aftertaste. I enjoy drinking all types of beer, including some very bitter ones once in a while, but if the beer leaves that strong bitter taste after you’re done with it, then it’s an issue for me. I’m not sure why they called a beer that leaves such an unpleasant taste in your mouth a “German premium lager”, because I’ve never tasted a premium beer with that negative characteristic. And that’s what will probably disappoint all AC/DC diehard fans the most: the fact that a beer that’s being sold as “Australian Rock” with “German beer” feels more like a rip-off marketing strategy than something natural and honest. How can it be German if it’s brewed in France? I’m far from being a beer connoiseur, but that disparity between countries doesn’t make much sense to me.

IMG_1644Anyway, if you’re still interested in trying it, the AC/DC beer is available in Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Luxembourg, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and probably in some other countries not listed, like Australia, Italy and France. By the way, why is it not listed as available in their home country (Australia) and in the country of production (France)? There’s either something missing from their official website, or their distribution strategy is one of the weirdest and most incomplete things I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

You can go to their “Dealer” section on the official website and search for a dealer where you can buy some AC/DC beer, and if you live in Canada it’s available at The Beer Store, just browse by location to find the nearest store to where you live, and you can also check the list of all other beers available in each store.

To sum up, although we’re talking about one of the biggest Rock N’ Roll bands in the history of mankind, their beer is just average and worth just a single try, nothing more than that. If I were you, as a Heavy Metal fan, I would go for a Trooper Beer, which is a lot more tasty and well-crafted than the AC/DC one, and the price is not that much higher. Unfortunately, the AC/DC Premium Lager will not shake you all night long. At least not in a good way.

Beer details
Category: Imported
Attributes: Light
Type: Lager
Country: France
Brewer: Brasserie Licorne Sas
Alcohol Content (ABV): 5.0%
Price: CAD$ 2.25 (1 × Can 500 ml)