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pick of the week

This is what you might call heavy-metal hops. Bruce Dickinson, singer for English rock band Iron Maiden, helped create this fine brew, which is named after the song Trooper, about the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War. (The vocalist is a history buff as well as a connoisseur of craft-made British beer known as "real ale.") I suspect there will be more than a few pints downed in Canada before the band's appearances here on its 2016 tour, which stops in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver in April.

It's made by Robinsons, a large family-owned brewery and pub operator based in Cheshire, and it's surprisingly good and gentle (at just 4.7-per-cent alcohol) for a beer with a label depicting a running warrior with a scary skeletal face (based on a familiar Iron Maiden stage backdrop). In fact, it's flavourful yet smooth, no less than a classically styled English ale – a quaint old pub in a bottle. Mid-amber in colour, with a rich, foamy head, it's malty and mellow, with notes of caramel and bread answered by subtle lemon zest and a gently bitter finish. Various prices in Alberta, $4.48 in Manitoba, $5.55 in Quebec.