Six years ago, Iron Maiden got into the beer business with the help of Robinsons Brewery, a U.K. based company that pumps out almost 35,000 barrels a year. Armed with a reputation of nearly two centuries of brewing and over 100 million records sold, the two created a line of Trooper beers and have sold more than 20 million pints to music fans and beer nerds around the world. The two are now set to add another beer to the lineup and it’ll mark the first ever Iron Maiden lager beer.
Trooper Sun and Steel is a 4.8 percent ABV double-fermented lager created with authentic Japanese sake yeast as well as malted barley and wheat. Taking its name from a song on the metal band’s 1983 album Piece of Mind, the tune was actually inspired by the life of Japanese samurai Miyamoto Musashi. It’s the sixth beer in the Trooper line and the idea for Sun and Steel actually came back in 2016 after a meeting between the band’s lead singer Bruce Dickinson and longtime friend George Yusa, the owner of the 300-year-old, family-run Okunomatsu Sake Brewery in Fukushima, Japan.
Yusa then delivered sample sake yeast to Iron Maiden during the band’s 2017 concert at London’s O2 Arena and Robinsons, with permission from the Japanese government, has been cultivating the strain. Essentially, Sun and Steel uses lager yeast for the initial fermentation followed by a sake yeast for a second fermentation, resulting in a delicate, subtle fruit flavor which is infused to a pilsner-styled beer that the brewer claims makes it equal parts refreshing and flavorful.
“This has been such an exciting project,” said Dickinson in a statement. “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 [head brewer] Martyn [Weeks] 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!”
Sun and Steel will be available on draft and in four-packs of 16-ounce cans nationwide starting in early October, after being available overseas for a short time, serving as a thank you to all of Iron Maiden’s fans who attended the North American leg of the band’s Legacy of the Beast tour, which finishes up later this month in San Antonio, Texas.