Friday, August 3, 2018

Episode 5: Iron City Beer

Yoi, yoi, double yoi!

I. Introduction

Founded in 1861, the Pittsburgh Brewing Company has experienced every imaginable trial and trouble in its long history – its story is reminiscent of virtually all those regional brewers that survived both Prohibition and the rise of macrobreweries.  There are a lot of ways I could introduce today’s beer, but none of them capture the sense of renaissance, optimism, and purpose that seems to drive it better than its own mission statement, and so I quote – its mission is to, “make Pittsburgh proud of its hometown brewery, build on [its] proud tradition of excellence, produce the best-tasting malt beverages in the country, reinvigorate and maintain an iconic brand, and create high-quality jobs and provide healthy returns to investors.”

Heartwarming, right?  Add to that their innovation in packaging designs and their linkage to iconic Pittsburgh sports teams and you’ve got yourself a full episode of Pickled Eggs & Cold Beer. 

Today's theme is "Doctor Jazz," recorded in 1926 by Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers

II. Our Genteel Guest, Squire Cam Bell

Its a Cam-Spiracy.

III. Rubric

BeerAdvocate: 2.51 of 5 Stars

RateBeer: 1.84 of 5 Stars

Untappd: 2.86 of 5 Stars

ABV: 4.7%

Origin: Originally brewed in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and still identified strongly with that city, it has since moved 45 miles east to Latrobe, Pennsylvania where it is brewed in the former home of fellow Keystone State notable, Rolling Rock.  

Ingredients: We're honestly not sure what they are - I can't seem to find them online and they aren't listed on the bottle.  So . . . a mystery?

Cost: $ to $$ depending on location - we bought our sixer at a Kroger's in Bristol, Virginia for about $8. 

IV. Our Reviews and Talking Points

Appearance: Pale yellow, largely transparent, medium carbonation

Aroma: Mild skunkiness

Flavor: Lager leaning into sweet; Cam described it as reminiscent of Corn Pops

Mouthfeel: Lightly syrupy, not dry but dry-ish

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors: Emphasis on masculinity that sometimes borders on silly in older ads; regional loyalty however seems largely legit, though the move to Latrobe undermines that to a degree. Cam points out correctly that it does a decent job of being what it is supposed to be

Overall:  Cam gave Iron City 3.5 on what it is supposed to be, a 0.75 stars overall, however; Clayman gave it stars; and Eric gave it 2 stars with an asterisk - he wants to try it again to make sure that he wasn't sampling from an old, skunked batch, given distance.  Overall, this beer received a 1.92 stars. 

V. Plugs

As always, please support local breweries, eateries, artists and music - also, please check out:

Chuck's Mom in Kingsport, Tennessee

Katbird's Wine & Gourmet in Abingdon, Virginia

Kegley & Company of Abingdon, Virginia

Hanover, Pennsylvania 

(Formerly Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia)

Wolf Hills Brewing in Abingdon, Virginia

VI. Recommended Reading and Viewing

Erica Marie Augustenborg.  October 31, 2005.  "Aluminum vs. Glass... Which Beer Bottle Stays Cooler Longer?" The 2005 Annual Meeting of the AICHE. 

Jon Kraszewski.  May 1, 2008.  "Pittsburgh in Fort Worth? Football Bar, Sports Television, Sports Fandom, and the Management of Home."  Journal of Sport and Social Issues.

Erin McGroarty. Spring, 2010. "PA's Big House." The Pennsylvania Center for the Book.

Leslie Pryzbylek. October 27, 2017. "Celebrating an American Brew." Making History: The Heinz History Center. 

Ronald Theirot. "Iron City Beer." Louisiana Beer Review on YouTube.

VII. Selected Advertisements 

c. 1970s

c. 1979

c. 1970s or 1980s

c. 1970s or 1980s

c. 1986

c. 1993

c. (?)

c. 2010

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