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Battle of the band... beers!

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Beer and alcohol has become such a hot commodity in this era that musicians and celebrities have launched products to boost their brand. For example, there are the Dan Aykroyd wine and vodka products that are available at local Liquor Marts — which he personally came to the 10th and Victoria Liquor Mart back in 2010 to promote.

In Ontario, Tom Green has his own Imperial Stout brewed by Beau’s Natureal Brewing out of Ottawa — which we will never see here, unfortunately.

Closer to home, the folks over at Flying Monkeys Brewing out of Barrie, Ont., have released a few musician-inspired beers, where the musicians themselves are involved in what they want to see in a beer. Barenaked Ladies was their first, successful, experiment with BNL Imperial Chocolate Stout back in 2012. That, to me, tasted like a chocolate fudge brownie squeezed in a 750 mL bottle — it was incredibly decadent. Then more recently, they collaborated with City & Colour to release an Imperial Maple Wheat Ale, which I’ve heard was pure heaven in a bottle.

AC/DC and Iron Maiden are two insanely successful bands that have also used the powers of the beer industry to market themselves in a new way, by having their names plastered on bottles, or cans of beer. While they sure aren’t the first to do it, they may be the most well known to do it.

Let’s start off with AC/DC’s Australian Hardrock Lager, a lager brewed with 5.0 per cent ABV, brewed in France at Brasserie Licorne SAS. This kind of scares me right off the bat — France is NOT known for good beer. French-speaking Belgium and Quebec are known for some of the best beers on the planet, but France? They’re a wine-producing country.

The AC/DC beer pours a very pale straw yellow hay, with a thin amount of spongey white head on top. The aroma is your standard North American pilsner aroma — lots of barley. A bit of corn, light amount of skunk aroma and a bready aroma of what reminds me of fast-food hamburger buns. For the flavour, it’s even lighter as it has a bit of a lightly barley grassy flavour to it, a bit of corn, a bit of some sort of corn syrup extract that gives it a bit too much of a sweet flavour to it. It’s lacking in the flavour department, it’s a bit too sweet and there’s no presence of hops. I was expecting at least a bit of a light floral bitterness tingling my tongue — eventually, but um... it looks like that’s not going to happen. Boo-urns to that.

AC/DC Lager turns out to be a typical lower-quality Eurolager, a bit of a corny, lightly skunky golden lager that leaves a bit of a syrupy sludge on your tongue long after you’ve finished the beer that is very unappetizing for this beer geek. I like a clean finish to my pilsners/lagers, but that’s just me. You can find this at just about any Liquor Mart in all of Manitoba for $2.95 per 500 mL can. I rate this beer a 1.5 out of 5 Pints.

Now off to Trooper Premium British Bitter by Robinson’s Brewery out of the UK. Unfortunately this isn’t a Trooper-the-band-themed beer for those who are here to raise a little hell, like this typical Canadian hoser. This is Iron Maiden’s own custom-made beer. I’m easily expecting this to beat the AC/DC lager as it’s insanely impossible to find this bottle in stores in the first place, every time one of the local Liquor Marts stocks it on the shelves, the shelves are bare within a day or two. That must mean something good. Trooper Premium British Beer pours a nice caramel-honey amber ale, close to no foam on the head, which is actually quite normal for a British bitter, though I prefer a beer with a decent amount of head. The aroma is actually quite welcoming — if you like a British bitter. There’s scents of sweet malted barley, giving it a bit of a caramel sweetness at first, a bit of a light nutty aroma to give it a light balance on the aroma, a very light touch of hops to give it a hint of a floral touch, all in all — this is reminding me of a British bitter. For the flavour, it is a tad bitter — get it, bitter?!

Trooper is a bit of a standard amber ale with a hint of bitterness coming from the floral hops to give it a hint of alfalfa. A nice sweet ale with a touch of honey and breakfast cereal taste that reminds me a bit of Alphabets’ cereal, sweet and grainy. For this being a beer brewed in honour of one of the best heavy metal bands of all time, I’m impressed with how drinkable this beer is — it’s not too light, it doesn’t taste like a brewery avoided the hops and instead poured a bunch of corn syrup in the batch — the brewer, Robinson’s Brewery, took the time to brew a typical British bitter that not only metal heads would love, but so would beer drinkers. Iron Maiden’s Trooper Premium British Bitter is available at Liquor Marts in Brandon, Dauphin, Neepawa, Roblin, Russell and Swan River for $4.07 per 500 mL bottle. The beer is 4.7 per cent ABV and is bound to sell out incredibly fast as I’ve been told at local Liquor Marts that they have a hard time keeping the beer in stock. If you are unable to find Trooper, two great alternatives I suggest are Big Rock’s Fowl Mouth ESB and Fort Garry’s Big Bison ESB and are guaranteed to be well enjoyed. I rate this beer a 3.5 out of 5 Pints.

What would you love to see for Canadian band/musician beer? I’d love to see a Bourbon Cummings Ale, Crash Hopped Dummies, an Les Ales Hawerchuk bière and of course — Bockman Turner Overryed — but of course like the Manitoban I am, I’d still pronounce it Backman.

Share your ideas of your ideal Canadian music beer on Twitter by using the tag #bdnsunmusicbeer and the best ideas will get mentioned in next week’s First Draught.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 3, 2014

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