British metal titans Iron Maiden are releasing the next beer in a series based on their masterful 1983 album Piece of Mind, and they are throwing a curve ball this time: the beer is a lager— the first of a lineage dominated by ales. And there's a second twist: in keeping with its musical namesake, Sun and Steel celebrates samurai culture via secondary fermentation with authentic saké yeast.
Billed as a "saké lager" and designed by Maiden frontman Bruce "Air Raid Siren" Dickinson and Robinsons Brewery's head brewer Martyn Weeks, Sun and Steel was years in the making. It had its genesis in a 2016 meeting between Dickinson and a long-time Maiden fan named George Yusa, who just so happened to own the 300-year-old Okunomatsu Saké Brewery in Fukushima, Japan.
Yusa brought Dickinson a sample of saké yeast at Maiden's London show on The Book of Souls World Tour at the end of May 2017, and Dickinson shuttled it up to the lads at Robinsons. Once granted official permission to brew with the yeast by the Japanese government, yeast cultivation began.
Fast-forward to 2019, and the new lager is scheduled for release in the UK on May 6th, the sixth birthday of the first Trooper beer. In the sixth hour, I hope.
The rest of the planet will have to wait a bit; worldwide release will come "later."
Sun and Steel is described as "a delicate, subtle fruit flavor infused into a pilsner style lager."
If someone has done secondary fermentation on a pilsner with saké yeast, I'm not aware of it... but the way things are with beer anymore, I'm not discounting the possibility.
One way or another, I will definitely try it.