Iron Works Alt | Metropolitan Brewing

very good
57 Reviews
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Iron Works AltIron Works Alt

Brewed by:
Metropolitan Brewing
Illinois, United States

Style: Altbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by emerge077 on 03-15-2011

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Reviews: 57 | Ratings: 154
Photo of Tone
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, copper color. 3/2 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of pale malt, dough, sweet malt, caramel malt, slight citrus hops, hint of yeast, hint of pepper, and slight rye. Fits the style of an Altbier. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of caramel malt, pale malt, slight sweet malt, hint of rye, slight hops, hint of dough, and slight alcohol. Overall, good appearance, decent aroma, body, and blend. A slightly sweet and boozy altbier.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear copper body, light tan head, plenty of bubbles rise. Nose is toasted grain and faint peppery spice. Taste is toasted malt, rich toffee, slight fruitiness like cherry, and a bit of spiced hop bitterness. Feel is warm and rich, medium-bodied.
A lot of character packed into a seemingly simple but actually very complex beer. Great balance as always, this is another tasty, well crafted brew.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. Served in a snifter glass.

Pours a dark brown body with a big amber hue, one finger white head with short retention time, thin collar and film, no lacing. Smells of crisp pumpernickel bread, a bit of spice, touch of grain, mild pepper and grassy hops. Flavour is similar; grain, mild pepper, bitter grassiness, pumpernickel bread sweetness. A balanced lager for sure, with a decent hop bite. That's solid. Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, substantial, good carbonation, crisp and nice bitterness rounds out the mild sweetness. Overall a decent take on the Dusseldorfian take on a lager.

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Photo of Ri0
3.54/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured 12oz bottle into Pils glass. Brown amber with a big 2.5 finger eggshell colored head and webbed lacing. Aroma of burnt toast, grassy hops, and a touch of caramel. Flavor is very prominent with toasted malt, burnt caramel, and some grassy hops. There is a sweetness to it, a bit of toffee. Seems a tad hoppy, but that is how it is marketed. Feel is medium, with prickly carbonation, and no stickiness. Decent brew and a style I am not familiar with.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.29/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a murky, dirty, bronze color with a massive head of coarse, frothy, khaki foam. Aroma smells of caramel, raisins, prunes, earthy hops, and cherries. Broad tracts of lacing adorn the glass as the beer recedes.

Intense carbonation nearly hides the taste. I’m getting earthy hops middle to back, but barely anything on the front end aside from a seltzery mouthfeel... Fast forward 20 minutes and some warmth and flattening allow the malt to come through more appreciably. Caramel and prunes are present, but not potent, while faint hints of cherry emerge in the finish. There’s also a rye-like aspect I was not anticipating. Medium body is appropriate, but the carbonation is just over the top.

Overall, this beer’s sweet aroma belies its spicy, tangy taste. It’s an unusual lager, but not really something I’d seek out again.

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Photo of Kurmaraja
4.19/5  rDev +10%
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.

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Photo of shaggydog
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

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.

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Photo of joe1510
3.94/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.52/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

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Photo of guityler83
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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Photo of dhannes
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
2.66/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, no bottled on date present. My first beer from Metropolitan Brewing.

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A - Pours a hazed dark coppery amber colored body with a giant fluffy three finger cream colored head with very good retention. Steady column of bubbles rushing to the top. Tons of huge fluffy webbed lacing.

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

T - Pale dusty malts again with a bit of hop bitterness clinging on for dear life in the end swallow. Dusty & nutty, with subtle notes of chocolate, hazelnut, and dark dried fruits. 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. Lots of carbonation.

M - Mouthfeel is semi-dry, sticky, fruity. Feels a little too carbonated, but not terrible. Nutty at first, but it then becomes a bit medicinal perhaps on the finish.

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. Would be interested to try more from this brewery.

Metropolitan Iron Works Alt ---3/5

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.34/5  rDev -38.6%
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.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.33/5  rDev -38.8%
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.

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Photo of socon67
3.43/5  rDev -10%
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.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
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

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Photo of chanokokoro
4/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of Star80
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of russpowell
3.86/5  rDev +1.3%
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

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Photo of TTAmod
4.29/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

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Photo of matjack85
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Iron Works Alt from Metropolitan Brewing
3.81 out of 5 based on 154 ratings.
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