I’m Not an Iron Maiden Fan…yet
By Tony Forder, firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m not an Iron Maiden fan, but I might well become one. The band seems to be crossing my path a lot this year.
First, lead singer Bruce Dickinson was a keynote speaker at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference in Denver. (Read it here). He gave a rambling speech reflecting his entrepreneurial spirit…. and of course beer. He told the story of the origins of Trooper, the successful Iron Maiden label he brewed with Robinsons of Manchester, England. Towards the end of his talk he referenced a new beer in the works – a lager, brewed with sake yeast. One of the last things he mentioned was…”Yah, I’d like to make a beer in Brazil”.
Later in the year – July to be precise – I was hanging in Toronto. Walking the waterfront, we were on our way to check out a beer/food fest and we passed a concert venue place. Unbeknownst to me Iron Maiden was playing. Fans were gathered outside, including a group from New Jersey, complete with their NJ Iron Maiden flag.
In September I traveled to Brazil, my 7th time to Rio de Janeiro as part of the Mondial de la Biere festival team. Judging duties were over, and walking through the festival after opening, I spied Samuel Cavalcanti of Bodebrown, a buddy and one of the first true craft brewers in Brazil. He always aims for the high end, and he rarely misses on his beers styles. A great showman too, I call him the Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head) of Brazil.
Samuel always has a large booth space, because he brings a lot of beers – and a big following. He spends most of his time greeting…and taking pictures with his fans –yeah, a rock star – like Calagione. But this time he had a 2nd booth – a whole wall – and the second booth was TROOPER, the Iron Maiden beer. Yes, being brewed in Brazil by Bodebrown.
I was shocked and amazed, but then not so shocked and amazed. It kind of made sense and it explained Dickinson’s cryptic comment at the CBC. Obviously he already had a plan in place for Brazil. The story went that when Iron Maiden was touring in Brazil – one of Dickinson’s favorite countries to play apparently – and being a beer fan, he happened onto some Bodebrown brew. He was so impressed he said, “Find me the brewer.” Well, the two hit it off, and the next thing you know Bodebrown is brewing a Brazilian version of Trooper. It’s an IPA, brewed with one of Samuel’s signature ingredients – Cacao. He launched the medal-winning Cacao IPA style in collaboration with Stone Brewing a few years back. It’s in a can – with the in-your-face, flag-carrying Iron Maiden combatant, but this one has a tattered Brazilian flag instead of the Union Jack.
Sam gave me some cans and a cap – which I brought back for a friend, who I rightly or wrongly thought was an Iron Maiden fan. Well he has Trooper in his warehouse. It so happened that when I visited Steve Krawczuk of LAK Beverage he had just taken delivery of the new Trooper lager, Sun and Steel. Not only was it brewed with sake yeast, but it has a highly Japanese Samurai label. Steve told me that Dickinson wanted to make a beer for every major country that Iron Maiden plays in. I wonder what’s next.