Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Iron Works Alt - Metropolitan Brewing

Not Rated.
Iron Works AltIron Works Alt

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

52 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 52
Hads: 138
Avg: 3.82
pDev: 21.2%
Wants: 11
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Metropolitan Brewing visit their website
Illinois, United States

Style | ABV
Altbier |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: emerge077 on 03-15-2011

An assertively hoppy top-fermented beer, polished by the wisdom and patience of lagering. Think of it as an octogenarian with a punk rock attitude. Slightly dry, this beer pairs well with hearty cuisine. We also suggest sipping it on its own; the complexity will keep you entertained and happy.

45 IBU
View: Beers (24) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 52 | Hads: 138
Photo of Kurmaraja
4.19/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very compelling and one of the best American altbiers I've had. Pour is on the dark cola end of the spectrum with a rocky head that lingers nicely. Quite fruity - plums, currants - with yeasty spice, caramel malts, and a bit of spicy / herbal hops to balance it all out. Medium body.

 283 characters

Photo of shaggydog
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Just got back from Duesseldorf and this is very close to All Bier. At little hoppy compared to, but darn near best found. Let it go a little warm and flat, and you'd swear you were in bar near the Rhine in D.

 208 characters

Photo of joe1510
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle
$8.99 6-Pack
Binnys - Willowbrook

Ironworks is the copperest of coppers. When backlit picture of one of those fresh pennies you always end up dropping in the 'Leave on, take one" jar, it looks like that. The dirty white head is frothy and steadies at a thick cap leaving behind fading lace with each successive drink.

The malt is assertive but the hop profile outweighs even that. Light caramel and brown bread are the core of the malt profile along with a decent dose of toast. The hop profile is mostly floral but shows good depth. There is a slight green apple note I'm not all that crazy about but it takes some work to pick out.

Rich caramel maltiness hits immediately. It's not overly sweet but it is deep. There's a note of soft toast mid-palate before floral, and a good helping, of spicy hops take over. Brown bread maltiness is back in the middle and when combined with the spicy hop profile is reminiscent of rye. The apple note in the nose is no where to be found, I appreciate that.

The body rides sturdily in the middle of the weight spectrum. There's a welcomed velvety smoothness. Carbonation is fairly active with a moderate bitterness that dries up the finish and lingers. The finish dries out slowly to eventually become Death Valley. The dryness keeps the glass raised much more than usual.

Metro brews some great German styles. While I've never been a huge Alt guy I do love me some Ironworks. It's malty sweet but with an assertive bitterness and dryness that keep things flowing. The pints per sitting ratio is high with this beer.An easy drinker to put away one after the other.

 1,620 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.33/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Lighter than pale ale and resembling drier and huskier Amber Ale, the stalwart Altbier- German in design but American in execution; it seems that American homebrewers and a smattering of microbreweries are the only ones intent on keeping the style alive.

Iron Works Alt is easily mistaken for Pale and Amber Ale to the eye. Its coppery hues and golden highlights shine semi-bright through mild unfiltered haze. Its reluctant froth rises to a mid-short stature before receding to a thin vail and simmering with steadfast retention thereafter. Broken lace vaguely resembles the collars left behind with each sip taken.

Caramel and grain greet the nose with herbal, minty undertones. Its more balanced demeanor suggests Northern German inspirations. Its clean scent is delicately lager-like even if a tad sulfury. Its grainy-sweet flavors are stronger than expected- to the point where the spicy and floral hops struggle to meet its intensity or to provide the necessary clean crispness- this leaves the beer comparable to Amber Ale. Lightly nutty and almost brittle-like its fresh-kilned barley taste is of honey and bread crust. Floral in early taste, the hops develop into earthy and herbal middle palate before concluding with a mild stemmy bitterness that reminds me of sassafras.

Medium throughout- the body is slow to relinquish its early malt structure or its creamy carbonation. This keeps the beer sweeter and fuller, deeper into the taste and seems to forbid alcohol dryness or hop crispness from ever taking hold. This limits the beer's drinkability a little and keeps it from pairing as well with those classic German dishes as more authentic versions will.

Iron Works Alt is a common occurrence where an American microbrewery makes a foreign land's style but does so on their regular equipment, with regular ale making techniques, and with as many of the already contracted ingredients that they can reasonably get away with. Although it has glimpses of Northern German Alts, its not a classic or authentic flavor or feel. It does make for a fairly good and clean non-descript ale.

 2,098 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
3.52/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Metropolitan's Alt is a pleasantly caramelized malt-driven beer, with a definite, though perhaps still understated, Contintental hop presence. Fairly straightforward in presentation, this should appeal towards those that enjoy bocks and other malt-forward beers. With a more assertive aroma and perhaps another malt added for complexity, this would be a very substantial altbier.

Pours a 1cm tall head of slightly off-white bubbles, which are small in size, creating a fairly dense-looking froth atop the body. Retention is at about two minutes, the foam settling to a thin cap atop the body of the beer. Lacing is modest, a few small complex patterns linger on the sides of the glass, amidst a few thin lines and dots of residual foam. The body is a dark copper color, with light bringing out bright orange-red hues in the beer. Carbonation is visible through the hazy (40-50% opaque) body, moderate in activity and number.

Aroma is of pleasantly sweet and somewhat rich caramel malt, slightly bready malt, and a faint note of woodsy Continental hops. Appealing, but not particularly complex or assertive.

Flavor is, overall, of caramel malt with a mild Continental hop bitterness and a grainy, slightly biscuity close. Front of palate picks up caramelized malt and sweet bread. Mid-palate continues the clean malt flavors with caramelized malt and rich, sweet bread flavors, and faint hints of woodsy, spicy Continental hops. Back of palate finds increased influence of caramelized malts, resulting in a rich, caramel sweetness that's tempered by more notable Continental hop bitterness and a slight cherry-like ester. Aftertaste is malty, rich, caramel-like sweetness with a grainy and slightly biscuit-like backdrop.

Beer is medium-light to medium in body, with carbonation of medium-high to high in intensity, resulting in a fairly fizzy mouthfeel that's a bit too pronounced for the body's weight. The result is a prickly feel that takes more than a few seconds to dissipate, eventually settling to a gentle foam on the palate. Closes fairly dry, with subtantial stickiness lingering on the palate.

 2,108 characters

Photo of guityler83
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Amber to copper appearance, off white mocha colored head, nice lacing that glazes the edges of the glass with each sip.

S: Toffee, butterscotch, and caramel malts pop off the nose. A little fruity (apples, pears), no hop aroma detected

T: Toast and bread crust. apple like character comes through from the aroma. Sweet with a finishing caramel like flavor

M: mouth drying after taste, middle of the road carbonation and big chewy body.

O: I think if it wasn't for the apple like flavor i'm getting (possibly the yeast?) I would have rated this much higher. I've not had many Alts, but this one fell short of expectations.

 629 characters

Photo of vickersspitfire
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

It’s in a stange! Just sitting there staring at me like I’m some crazy beer knurd…and its got a beautiful semi-dark copper color that just gets darker towards its center, its mildly hazy and filled with some good carbonation. The head is thick and fluffy and just will not go away, did I mention that its in an off white color, maybe even tan. Medium lacing; nothing else to say here. Weak fruit aromas like apple, banana, raisins and mild malts. Crisp and sharp when it first hits your tongue, it mellows out into a slightly tangy beer over all. The malts are well represented here, herbs and mild citrus fruits also come through, very interesting taste. It warms up in the aftertaste and the tanginess wanes just a bit as well, and the alcohol is well hidden.

 767 characters

Photo of dhannes
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Sam Adams' Perfect Pint.

A=Darker orange with impressive cream colored head of 2 fingers that lasted a good minute.

S=More malt than hops; also citrus and maple.

T=Honey-like, but with a smokiness; reminiscent of "German" beers I've had an Essen Haus.

M=Nice medium body with slight carbonation...very drinkable.

O=I'm not too familiar with the style, but this was enjoyable...will definitely try the style again.

 432 characters

Photo of mfnmbvp
2.66/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, no bottled on date present. Uncapped and poured into a Boulevard tulip glass.

A - Pours a murky red amber colored body with a giant fluffy three finger cream colored head with nice retention. Steady column of bubbles rushing to the top.

S - Smells of pale malts and dusty adjuncts. A little bit of raisins creeps out also.

T - Pale dusty malts again with a bit of hop bitterness clinging on for dear life in the end swallow. Maybe some sort of a caramelized raisin taste, but it isn't dark or pleasant, just adds the tiniest bit of sweetness. Maybe some kind of a grape aftertaste lingering.

M - Mouthfeel is dry, sticky and resinous, but again, not a very pleasant taste to me. Feels a little too carbonated, but not terrible.

Overall, not impressed, and probably not a beer I would try again. Modest 5.8% abv, better than mass produced Bud Light / Miller Lite swill, but still not my favorite.

Metropolitan Iron Works Alt ---3/5

 951 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
2.34/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Picked up a sixer of this over Memorial Day weekend at the Binny’s behind Goose Island Clybourn. Served in a pint glass. Pours a moderate brown color with a decent off-white head. Nose has some bready malt and a touch of nuttiness. Some herbal hops. Flavor is similar but has a metallic twang through the finish. The same appears in the nose as it warms. Body is light-medium with a dry finish. Not a big fan.

 411 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
2.33/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a Hannen Alt glass on 11/4/12

Quite the heady beer with three fingers of fast-rising foam sitting atop a deep, hazy honey-brown colored beer. The head deflates leaving speckled lace. Better lace catches over time.

Aromas of toasted bread, herbal hops, soap, apple butter, raisins and hints of nuts. The flavor doesn't fall far from the aromatic tree, as it were, though there is much more of a hop kick upfront (herbal and pine) before leading into notes of bread and fruits. The finish is odd; kinda papery. The body is a seemingly appropriate medium. However, carbonation is sharp.

Overall, it isn't terrible but I grew tired of it quickly and did not finish the bottle.

 687 characters

Photo of socon67
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Hopleaf in Chicago.

A - Copper pour, high tan foam. Cloudy look to it. Some lacing.

S - Sweet malt smell, with a bit of hops and spice. Scent is muted though; doesn't linger at all.

T - Decent drinking altbier that gets marks for the balance, but seems to take the safe approach; it is not rich in malt nor is the bitterness of fresh hops anything that seems strong.

M - Well balanced and easily sessionable. Soem carbonation is there. Finishes with a slight raspy bite.

O - Wasn't impressed, but didn't feel like it was a bad beer. Felt like Metropolitan rounded out their portfolio. Nice to try, but if you are a diehard altbier fan I'd pass.

 660 characters

Photo of dpodratsky3
3.38/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pilsner glass

A: Light copper-orange, a lasting condensed white head, not as dark as I expected from the description of being brown although it does fit the fringes of an altbier style

S: Sweet and grainy up front, although not corn sweet like some cheap lagers, smells full yet crisp, hops comes through too as you begin to get used to the aroma, distinctly spicy

T: Not quite as good as the aroma, a little flat in terms of flavor, it's missing that malty goodness of an alt, light and crisp, slight metallic note of some cheap lagers, hops start dominating your palate

M: Light with crisp carbonation, clears your palate well but isn't too dry

O: To me it seems like Metropolitan went for an easy drinking "different" lager, rather than make a true altbier

 790 characters

Photo of chanokokoro
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at Fountainhead in Chicago, IL. Served in a tulip glass.

Displays an amber color with a two finger off-white head. A bit of toffee, caramel, and grassy, herbal hops dominate the nose. Starts smooth with notes of caramel, notes of apple and pear join in the midpalate and finishes somewhat dry and clean. A very tasty locally-brewed altbier. An easy-drinking, yet complex beer for almost any occassion.

 410 characters

Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a mini pint glass.

Nice and hoppy, surprisingly so for an Alt. A great balance between hops and malts and a great beer to transition or turn someone to Alts. Seriously this is a great beer to wean people who have been suckling on IPAs for too long.

 274 characters

Photo of Star80
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A dark reddish-copper color with some hops clinging to my glass but with a quickly dissipated head. The color is rich and attractive.

S - Smell is nice and fruity, but also toasty with some sweet ripe fruit undertones.

T - Beer has an odd oxidized flavor. In fact, does have a bit of an iron flavor. Is that why they call it Iron Works? Once I get past that I get a nice toasty malt with dry bittering hops. The hops are more spicey, herbal in the German Noble hop style. Some alcohol warming and a touch of sweetness on the aftertaste. Malty.

M - Lightly carbonated and fairly smooth.

O - A complex lager for sure if you're in the mood for one. But I am having trouble with the metallic taste.

 702 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

Finally sitting down to try what comes across as the highest-regarded of the Metropolitan beers (which, for whatever reason, I've sorta neglected over the years). It pours a clear amber-copper topped by over a finger of dirty white foam. The nose comprises caramel, Belgian candi sugar, lightly spicy greens, mandarin orange syrup, and a touch of red apple skin. The taste brings in more of the same, with the candi sugar really taking on a leadership role now. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a generally smooth feel. Overall, a very nice brew, one of the better altbiers I've had in a long time.

 675 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from Monsone, cheers Eric!

Pours a bright copper with 2+ fingers of tan head. Minimal head retention & lacing

S: Grainy & pear scents, plus a little metallic hop

T: Pear, bready sweatness & caramel up front, along with some dryness & a little herbal hoppyness. More pear fruittyness, woody dryness, & more herbal hops as this drys. Finishes grainy, dry, herbal, with some butterscotch & bready sweetness

MF: Light/Medium bodied, firm carbonation, good balance

A pretty good example of the style, pretty darn drinkable

 536 characters

Photo of TTAmod
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. ====> 16.9 oz. glass.

A: Clear amber with frothing, thick white head. Good retention and lacing.

S: Smells heavily of caramel, bread, candy, brown sugar, and molasses. Nice...nice.

T: Bready malts up front, followed by a nice sugar/candy sweetness, caramel, and finally a long, grassy, sweet and spicy aftertaste.

M: Creamy, medium...really spreads that sweetness around.

O: Complex, traditional, fresh....overall quite really nice. Another great beer from Metro.

 479 characters

Photo of matjack85
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. brown bottle with no freshness date. The label says to think of this beer as an octogenarian with a punk rock attitude. We'll see.

The beer pours a brilliantly clear and beautiful burnt amber color, but unfortunately I couldn't get any head out of the pour at all. All I got was a thin white rim on top that left just a few spotty patches of lace on the glass.

Not much of an aroma, but what there was was nice. Light sugary sweetness with some fruit and mild herbal hops in the background.

This is a very well made and mild beer. It has both a caramel and hard candy sweetness to it but it is delicate and not overpowering at all. Hop bitterness is low but you can still taste the mild herbal flavor they give off. A bready yeast flavor helps to make it more dry than sweet, and then at the end a touch of citrus and raisin flavor come through. Nothing is really dominant, but all blended together it makes for a pleasant taste.

Very smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel with only moderate carbonation. This goes down easy without any trace of alcohol at all.

I get the octogenarian part as this is a smooth and mellow beer, but I'm not so sure it has a punk rock attitude. I found it totally pleasant without any harshness at all.

 1,241 characters

Photo of JonB1958
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful copper color with a healthy head on top. If I didn't know better, the look and aroma would have me thinking this was a Märzen or Bock; it's very bready and sweet with some strong caramel overtones.

The flavor also tapers to a soft sweet finish that reminded me of a Bock. This is a very nice and easy drinking beer, that I'd be happy to offer to guests. It would also, in my estimation, be a great gateway beer if you're trying to get a macro fan to try some craft beer; it's straightforward enough, yet very subtle and intriguing personality that makes your points obvious.

 594 characters

Photo of ChadQuest
3.19/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Looks fantastic, very large dense head that is over an inch in vertical magnitude. Color is a rich copper that remains clear. Again, the head is super dense and sticky.
The aroma instantly hit me as unique, it seems that the yeast gives a bit of a farmhouse note to it, but buried within caramel and other malts sweetness.
Flavors indeed make me think malty saison, this seems odd since i dont see other reviews thinking this, but some coriander like spices and the yeast type here, albeit they are buried in malt sweetness, caramel, burnt toast, and grains.

Is my palate broken tonight? grab a bottle and find out.

 616 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Copper color with a thin off white head and a few tiny specs of lacing.

S - Bready malts with caramel notes, raisin and herbal hops.

T - Bready, biscuit, little bit of sweet caramel, toffee, a touch of fruitiness and a dry herbal hops finish.

M - Light to medium with just the right amount of carbonation and a lingering dry finish.

D - Very tasty and easy drinking alt. Has all the great sweet malt characteristics while still being dry enough to have several in one sitting.

 484 characters

Photo of jamescain
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a sniffer, thanks to who shared this at the bottle release.

Appearance: Dark copper-amber with an off white head about a finger thick that fades to a thin ring around the side of the glass.

Aroma: Spicy, earthy hops, caramel and bready notes.

Taste: Roasty, caramel and bready flavor with a slightly spicy and earthy hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body with medium carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: One of the better alts that I have had, nice complex aroma and taste.

 501 characters

Photo of KDawg
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper color with some head.

Complex nose of malts, cinnamon, navel oranges, hops, and cardamon

medium bodied and really smooth feel. Pretty good complexity as with a real nice christmas spice finish along with a lot of malty tones as well

this is really good. The feel is very good though the taste is lacking a slight bit. This is a real enjoyable beer on the whole

 384 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Iron Works Alt from Metropolitan Brewing
86 out of 100 based on 52 ratings.