Monday, June 22, 2009

Iron City's Pittsburgh plant closes shop

Lew Bryson has had several posts on this subject, and here's the latest. I'll let you jump over to his page for the details as he's an insider and can explain the situation much better than I.

A few years back I toured the IC facility with R and it's definitely up there on our list of most memorable brewery tours. A few bulletized thoughts that pop into my head as I lament the loss....
  • The massive cereal cooker. The shallow conical bottom of the giant kettle where the corn grits got boiled before making it into the mash came out of the ceiling behind the mash tun and brew kettle. Kind of crazy that the boiling grits were in a huge vessel right overhead.

  • The massive brew kettle. One of the things that was so cool about the IC brewery was that it was so huge and you actually got to get up close to the equipment. The only other brewery as big that we'd ever been to was Matt up in Utica, but up there you only get to see from a distance. Peering right down into the 120bbl kettle (may have been larger) and seeing the copper baffles and internal calandria was really neat. The ladder from the manway down to the bottom always stuck with me. I can't imagine feeling very comfortable climbing down into a kettle like that, no matter how long it's been off.

  • The water treatment plant. This was actually the first area of the brewery that we went into. What a dungeon! If I were making a horror movie I would totally want to film something in that room. Crazy looking rusty equipment and water dripping everywhere. Not exactly a great start for introducing customers to how you make your beer...

  • The beer hall. The very nice gentleman who gave us the tour (and it was just the three of us) started and finished the tour in this room while his father sat and waited for us to finish. It was a really cool room - reminded me for some reason of the wedding scene in The Deer Hunter. The kind of place where you could see some kind of oompah band on the stage while all the old timers hoisted their steins and sang along. Great stuff.
I'm with Lew in that I think this will really hurt them. I know I won't feel compelled to drink IC next time I'm in Pittsburgh. I used to enjoy getting one before or after a Pirates game when we'd go. Kind of a "when in Rome" kind of thing. Not anymore though. The authenticity, sadly, is gone.

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