I was thirteen years old when I bought Maiden Japan, a live Ep from Iron Maiden. Not going to lie, I bought it for the cover. I didn’t know any better at the time and all my friends were introducing me to music like Aerosmith, AC/DC, Zeppelin, the Stones and Sabbath. I have my sister Brigitte to thank for introducing me to Marley, the Doors and the Mamas and Pappas at a very young age but to be honest these bands didn’t resonate well with my metal friends. They eventually understood that the more music you like the more you like music but at the time, I had to bring something new to the table, something with a healthy level of iron and spice. I went down to the local record store and picked an album, solely based on the cover art. Album covers like Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell, Kiss’ Destroyer, Boston, Yes and Maiden all competed for my $8… Derrick Riggs (Iron Maiden’s album cover illustrator) won the battle, a trooper of an illustrator.
From the first listen, I fell in love with the Maiden sound. Harris’ bass line, Smith and Murray’s guitar work, even the voice of Paul Di Anno caught my attention. A few months later the Number of the Beast album was released and Dickinson’s vocals sealed the deal. That was it. My friends and I picked quotes like “If you’re not a metal head you might as well be dead” or “The God you worship are steel, at the altar of heavy metal you kneel” for our year book, a decision we would regret… but that was a way of life back then. We wore our leather, inked the backs of out jean jackets with band logos and played tennis in our construction (Kodiak) boots; no matter what the activity, the dress code couldn’t be messed with.
My favorite Maiden album to this day is the album that followed the Number of the beast, Piece of Mind. Holly shit! The same way The Number of the Beast opened up with Dickinson screaming the end of the opening to the song title, Nicko McBrain opened up Piece of Mind with one of my favorite drum songs, Where Eagles Dare. I can’t think of one song on this album that I skip over when I listen to it. Songs like Revelations, To Tame a Land, Flight of Icarus and the star of this post, The Trooper all make for an album that in my humble opinion is the best metal album of all time.
Look: The trooper poured an amber gold with a drop of battlefield blood and creamy head.
Smell: Aromas of malts and brown sugar come through.
Taste: Hem. Let’s do a quick calculation here. The Trooper is an English beer that managed to get distribution in Canada. This of course means that production is high. Has to be, assuming Canada isn’t the only country of export for Robinson’s. I expected the beer to taste thin, moderate and bland. Fortunately my expectations were off but only by a bit. Don’t get me wrong, it beats a Bud by a long shot, but it doesn’t rival with any self-respecting craft brewery. You’ll get the taste of malt, you’ll get caramel and some hops, but it’s the sort of flavors you’re supposed to get, none of it really stood out. It’s good ale, just not worth the hype. Let’s just say I wasn’t waiting for the next attack.
Finish: Thin. Good carbonation, bitter finish, metallic, not the kind you’d want in a metal beer.
Context: Good drinkability. Festive enough and session ready for some Maiden.
Repeater: If I have to pick between this and a macro, this. I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it again.
Personally, I would have gone for stronger ale, something like a hard water Pale Ale or even with a black IPA… I suppose a session beer is more in context of hanging out with friends and listening to metal but who really does that anyways?
Pairing: Number of the beast, Piece of mind, Powerslave
Availability: All year round but I would expect the life of this beer to be limited, not because of the product but rather than the trend.
Beer type: English Strong bitter
Brewery: Robinson’s Brewery
Country / Region: UK