Beverage Review – Iron Maiden’s Hallowed

Hallowed Be Thy Ale.

“I’m waiting in my cold cell, when the bell begins to chime
Reflecting on my past life and it doesn’t have much time
Cause at 5 o’clock they take me to the Gallows Pole
The sands of time for me are running low”

British Heavy Metal legends Iron Maiden are not only a metal music machine like everyone says, but in the past few years they’ve also mastered the art of craft beer brewing in a beyond fruitful partnership with independent family brewers Robinsons Brewery. Once again, the dynamic duo of Robinsons’ master brewer Martyn Weeks and Iron Maiden’s multi-talented, restless and wild lead vocalist and ale aficionado Bruce Dickinson have teamed up to create something very special for beer and music fans alike, the brand new Belgian style beer Hallowed (available from October 2017 for a limited period of four months according to the band itself), following on from the success of the original Trooper Beer, which has sold over 15 million pints since its launch in 2013, and previous limited edition beers Trooper 666, Trooper light Brigade and Red ‘N’ Black, all part of the already imposing collection of Iron Maiden beers. As a matter of fact, Hallowed is obviously named after Iron Maiden’s all-time classic Hallowed Be Thy Name, from their 1982 cult album The Number of the Beast, and just by that you already know this beer kicks some serious ass.

At 6.0% ABV in a 330 ml bottle, Hallowed is a Belgian inspired beer that’s brewed in England and also one of the first beers to be brewed by Robinsons Brewery that uses Belgian yeast. Furthermore, Robinsons haven’t changed the yeast used in their beers since 1942, which makes Hallowed even more special. “What makes this brew pretty special is that we’re adopting a Belgian yeast for the first time. I’m a big fan of Belgian beers, so I jumped at the chance to brew my own. While I get very excited about experimenting with new formulas and ingredients, the thing about Belgian beer is that it’s as much a way of life as it is a drink. We’ve tried to bottle that philosophy in Hallowed, albeit with a British twist”, explained Bruce. Martyn complemented Bruce’s thoughts by saying that “it’s all in the yeast. Belgian yeast yields a very distinct taste and presentation. You can sniff out a Belgian beer simply from its aromas: fruity, spicy and earthy. Belgian yeasts withstand higher alcohol levels, they attenuate well and create an array of phenolics and esters… put simply, this means more flavour and I think Hallowed drinkers are in for a treat.”

Of medium and malty style, which makes it ideal for a beef stew or cheeses, Hallowed brings vibrant aromas with vanilla, coffee, clove and floral notes, presenting on the palate notes of coffee, toasted malt and biscuit. Moreover, the crystal rye gives this dark amber, almost light brown ale a blood red hue and a smooth dry finish, having a lot of depth in malt character while the light Belgian yeast provides balance to its taste. As a huge fan of Belgian beer, I personally enjoyed a lot savoring my first bottle of Hallowed a few weeks ago, and I’m happy that I bought a few extra ones at LCBO for future occasions. If the original Trooper beer was already recommended for beer lovers (and not for heavy beer drinkers), Hallowed can be considered even more distinguished and gourmet, turning the simple act of drinking beer into a unique and very pleasant experience. Apart from LCBO here in Canada (and keep in mind not every store has it), I don’t know where else you can get Hallowed, as the product is already listed as discontinued on the Robinsons Brewery official website. Well, you should keep trying to find Hallowed in your hometown or by purchasing it online if possible, because it’s totally worth the investment, with one 330 ml bottle of Hallowed costing around 2.90 Canadian Dollars. In the meantime, you can also have some fun online by watching Bruce himself tasting Hallowed HERE, or this short but fun video by United News International where they talked about the release of Hallowed last year.

Beer details
Country: England
Brewer: Robinsons Brewery
Style: Belgian Dark Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 6.00%
Color: Red
Smell: Delicate floral, hints of vanilla & clove
Taste: Malty, Toffee, Caramel
Sweetness: 3 out of 5
Bitterness: 2 out of 5
Contains: Malted barley and wheat
Price: CAD$ 2.90 (1 x Bottle 330 ml)

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Concert Review – Pop Goes Metal (Willi Willie Bar e Arqueria, São Paulo, Brazil, 12/27/2014)

When pop music goes metal, everything gets a lot better.

INTRODUCTION: Willi Willie Bar e Arqueria

pop goes metal 20141227If you’re planning on visiting São Paulo, Brazil anytime soon and need some advice on what to do and where to go to spend your nights in the city, especially if you’re a Rock N’ Roll person, an awesome option is a pub called Willi Willie Bar e Arqueria, the first Rock Bar with an archery in Brazil.

Located in a very nice neighborhood full of good hotels and restaurants, and close to one of the biggest shopping malls in Brazil, this neat and cozy two-floor pub has been providing their guests the best of rock and heavy music since 1978 with live performances from all types of bands, from purely cover/tribute bands to new indie groups with 100% fresh and original material. You can take a look at their monthly schedule by clicking HERE and decide which day is the most suitable for your music taste.

However, it’s not only the music that stands out at Willi Willie: the quality of the service, the excellent food, their variety of drinks and beers (including the already renowned Trooper Beer), the decoration full of pictures and posters of several Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal icons, and of course their archery will make you feel so welcome you’ll be back there every single night if possible. The pub also offers stand-up comedy nights on Sundays in case you’re up to this kind of entertainment. They’re closed only on Mondays and Tuesdays, but that’s not an issue as you can use those days to recover for more Willi Willie on the following nights.

POP GOES METAL

pop goes metalFounded in January 2013 in São Paulo, Brazil, Pop Goes Metal play hard and heavy versions of lots of 80’s and 90’s pop music classics at least once a month at Willi Willie. Do you want to know how Michael Jackson’s all-time classic Smooth Criminal would sound with an extra touch of heaviness? Pop Goes Metal will give you that.

The band was formed by the famous Brazilian guitarist Silas Fernandes, who during his career has already played with Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) and more recently with Brazilian Alternative/Industrial Metal band S.T.A.B., which unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore. Also, if you’re a guitar player do not miss the chance to check out his official YouTube page, there are lots of interesting videos from his series named Rig On Fire.

2014-12-28 00.29.57The other members of the band are as professional and competent as Silas, making the whole experience even better: Pedro Henrique Cordeiro is the voice of the band, Carol Monteiro is the “chick that rawk” on the bass guitar, MV Silva is the man behind the keyboards, and Marcelo Camarero keeps pounding his drums like a maniac during their entire performance. By the way, Maniac by Michael Sembello (that famous song from the 1983 cult movie Flashdance) is also part of their setlist.

From all the songs played by the band, I would say my favorites are Footlose, Smooth Criminal, Rebel Yell, Maneater and Don’t You (Forget About Me), all boosted by some heavy riffs by Silas and crazy beats by Marcelo. And if you’re lucky and they have some extra time, you can even enjoy PGM playing some other classics like Rock N’ Roll by Led Zeppelin.

2014-12-28 00.29.37Unfortunately, Silas is leaving the band pretty soon due to personal reasons (he’s moving with his family to the United States), which means you have just one last chance to see him with the band this Friday, January 16, 2015, at Willi Willie. But don’t worry, after that the band will have a new guitar player and will keep playing pop classics louder and heavier than anyone else.

Setlist (not necessarily in this order)
Footlose (Kenny Loggins)
Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) (Backstreet Boys)
Maniac (Michael Sembello)
Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson)
Poker Face (Lady Gaga)
Shout (Tears For Fears)
Kiss from a Rose (Seal)
Rolling In The Deep (Adele)
Rebel Yell (Billy Idol)
Maneater (Hall & Oates)
You Oughta Know (Alanis Morissette)
Come Undone (Duran Duran)
Don’t You (Forget About Me) (Simple Minds)
Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles)
Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting (Elton John)
Lanterna dos Afogados (Paralamas do Sucesso)

Band members
Pedro Henrique Cordeiro – vocals
Silas Fernandes – guitars
Carol Monteiro – bass
MV Silva – keyboards
Marcelo Camarero – drums

Beverage Review – AC/DC Premium Lager Beer

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

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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)

Accessories Review – Iron Maiden 2014 Calendar

Don’t remember what day is today? Iron Maiden can help you.

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Iron Maiden calendar 2014_frontNext year will be my third consecutive year  using the Iron Maiden official calendar. I know that new technologies are pretty cool and that we don’t need almost all types of paper stuff anymore, especially with all the apps we have in our smartphones, but nothing beats an awesome calendar like this one from Iron Maiden. Moreover, as I had two previous versions of it, I guess I have enough “expertise” to review the 2014 one.

First of all, the 2012 calendar was terrific and by far my favorite one, mainly because it was all designed based on the event T-shirts from The Final Frontier World Tour. Each month represented a different country, region or event, providing us some kind of “journey around the world in 12 months”, making the final result really above and beyond. Then came the 2013 calendar (which I’m still using, of course), but this time it was not that good, albeit containing some nice images from event T-shirts mixed with pictures of the band playing live during the Maiden England North American Tour 2012.

Now with the 2014 calendar Iron Maiden go back to almost the same concept as for 2012, with each month representing an event T-shirt from their Maiden England Tour 2013, except for the month of May which is dedicated to their Trooper Beer. I enjoyed a lot the new calendar focusing again on Eddie, especially the months of February (Scandinavia), July (USA) and December (Brazil), and the fact that they left the live pictures as a secondary part of the whole product.

Published by Danilo Promotions Limited, the quality of the material used in the calendar is extremely good and resistant to falls (mine fell off the wall a couple of times and they’re all good) and even to water. Regarding the size, it’s about the same as any regular calendar (42.4 x 29.8 x 1 cm), and its weight is only 299 g.

You can find the 2014 calendar at the Iron Maiden official webshop, at Amazon.ca or at any regular store in your city for about 15 Canadian dollars. I bought mine at one of the Calendar Club stores at the Toronto Eaton Centre, and the cost was about two dollars more expensive than online. However, remember there’s still the shipping to be added to the final price if you decide to buy it online on Iron Maiden’s US Official Merchandise or on their UK Official Shop.

Anyway, the calendar is worth every penny, and it’s a very nice way to remember all those important international dates, all UK, US and Canada holidays, as well as the birthday of each band member. In my opinion, it’s an excellent Christmas gift for that Maidenmaniac friend you have at school or work, and even for your brother if he behaves himself and promises not to touch your Heavy Metal LP or CD collection again without your permission.

Not only that, you can use your calendar for one of those famous “calendar countdowns” we see in so many movies and TV series for a very special day in your life. How about using it for a countdown to that Maiden England Tour 2014 concert in Europe you’re attending during your summer vacation, for Wacken Open Air, Bloodstock Open Air, Summer Breeze, Tuska Open Air, Heavy MTL or any other crazy Heavy Metal festivals all over the world?

Oh yeah, you can use it as a reminder for your spouse or partner’s birthday too. Just please be careful not to “hurt” Eddie’s feelings by adding “things” like flowers and glitter to your calendar.

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