Iron City - The Beer of the Steel City

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Readers – we’ve got a big weekend coming up. I’m not talking about stinkin’ Obama again. Or the primier of “Big Love.” I’m talking about dem Steelers vs those jag offs from Baltimore. The winner’s goin’ to the Super Bowl an nat.

Okay, I’ll stop talking like a yinzer now for my Jersey readers.

I’m thinking about getting really drunk for the game this weekend. I’ll be really happy if we win and too drunk to remember it if we lose.

In preparation for the game, on this Thirsty Thursday there is only one beverage I can talk about and that is Iron City.

Located in Pittsburgh, PA, Iron City Brewery was started in 1861 by Edward Frauenheim and became one of the first American breweries to produce a lager.

The brewery thrived during the late 1800’s – producing around 50,000 barrels a year. As my faithful readers know, in 1920 the alcohol world was faced with the nasty P word – Prohibition. While a plethora of breweries and distilleries closed during the dreadful time, Pittsburgh Brewing Company (owner of Iron City) was able to stay open by producing pop, ice cream and ‘near beer’ or what we would call O’Doules. Once prohibition was repealed, Pittsburgh Brewing Company was one of only 725 breweries left standing. The beer was back in business.

Making it through tough times, in 1977 Pittsburgh Brewing Company was one of only 40 breweries left in America. Moving with the trends, in the 70’s, the company launched Iron City Light – or better known as IC Light.

Over the past 15 years, Pittsburgh Brewing Company has gone through multiple owners and faced bankruptcy a few times, but in the end it’s still producing beer.

Surprisingly the brewer is a little-known leader in innovation – producing the first aluminum bottle in 2004. If you ask me, that’s a natural creation from the “Steel City.” Other firsts in the beer world include the first brewery to print local sports scenes on cans and bottles, the first draught beer in a can and the first snap-top can in 1962.

If you meet a Pittsburgher, tell um you like Iron City. You will have a friend for life (or at least that night).

(Sources: Wikipedia,; Picture:, and video from