Saturday, January 31, 2009
Iron City is Steeler Beer
My first cousin is married to a feller who hails from Pittsburgh. Not only that, but my cousin's husband got cut on the last day of a Steelers' training camp back in the late 70s. He was once an official Steeler ... if only for a couple of months.
Back in the late 80s, I went through a beer-can-collectin' faze. My cuz-in-law gave me several Iron City beer cans featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers, some of 'em dating back to the mid-70s. I'm proud to say that I've held on to 'em to this day.
Speaking of Iron City Beer and the Steelers:
Not every football team has a (semi-) official beer, but the Steelers certainly do: Iron City. Brewed in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Iron City has long paid homage to the hometown team, even designing a series of beer cans in their honor back in the late 70's days of the famed "Steel Curtain" defense, as well as a Jerome Bettis can a few years back.
Despite the fact that Iron City's roots go back over 100 years, 'tis no microbrew. No, think more along the lines of a Pabst or Genesee: A blue-collar beer that gets the job done. Rather like the team it shares a nickname with. As such, Iron City always feels a bit of a sales bump whenever the Steelers hit the Super Bowl. The brewers are especially hopeful this year, as many of the workers in their Pittsburgh plant have been temporarily laid off. It's apparently just until some kind of trouble with the manufacturing line can be solved. Once it is, everyone will be back.
We certainly hope so: There was a time when the Steelers had two beers, back when Rolling Rock was brewed in Latrobe, a town northwest of Pittsburgh where the Steelers had their training camp. The brewery was bought by Anheiser-Busch, who then closed it and moved all operations to New Jersey, thus severing all ties with all things Pittsburgh. Given that I have family in Latrobe, I myself haven't let a drop of the stuff pass my lips since the sale. So, if you want to honor the Steelers on Super Bowl Sunday, go for the Iron City, not the Rolling Rock.