Whatever you might think of Iron Maiden the band, they - or more specifically (it seems), frontman Bruce Dickinson - clearly know their beer. For them to put their name on any product, let alone a beer, means that it surely needs to have some quality about it (unlike other bands *cough cough* KISS *cough cough*). So far, when it comes to the previous two beers they've put out (Trooper and Red n' Black), the quality is definitely been there. And from what I can tell, rather than simply endorsing the beer, Dickinson himself is heavily involved in the design process, which is kind awesome. Putting this into perspective - not only is the man the singer for one of the biggest heavy metal bands on the planet, he's also an accomplished airline pilot, radio presenter, entrepreneur and author, so where he finds the time to become a master brewer as well, is beyond me. I can barely talk and blink at the same time these days, so hats off to him.
Getting back to the subject of this review, Robinsons new Maiden beer, Hallowed, I'm pleased to say that that the level of quality seen previously, is still present. Completely different from either of the previous Maiden beers, Hallowed is closer in style to Belgian beers, in this case, coming in at 6% a bottle, a dubbel.
First impressions, before even opening the bottle, are good. I always thought Eddie was one of the best mascots in music and his appearance on the bottle is pretty cool. In this case, in a grim reaper-like costume, in front of a stained glass window. I'm not particularly au-fait with Iron Maiden, so maybe this has some kind of relevance to their back catalogue (the song 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' perhaps?), but I approve of the imagery, especially coming up to Halloween (the bottle was also part of Morrisons Halloween display in the booze section, which was quite fitting).
Popping the (rather handsome) cap and taking a swig, the first thing that hits me is the slight hint of, not unpleasant, sourness. I'm not massively clued in on Belgian styled beer, but what it did slightly remind me of was a Berliner Weisse that I tried a couple of months ago, although nowhere near as tart as that - just enough to make you take notice. The next thing is the sweetness mixed with a malty smooth texture. I'm not going to go all Jilly Goolden on you here and start discussing the bouquet and flavour in rich, bullshit detail, but I definitely get a taste like over ripe bananas in there and something like cherries, or plum. For the record, its not unpleasant though - in fact, after the usual stout and IPAs I've been scoffing recently, its a welcome change and could turn me onto the Belgian side of things.
If I had to pick a fault - and I'm struggling to find anything bad to say to be fair - it's that I don't think I could drink a lot of it. Whereas with Trooper I could do 3 or 4 in a row, I think I'd drink one of these and have to move onto something else. Again, that sounds like a criticism and it isn't - I'm sure even Kelly Brook would grate on me after a while as well.