Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Iron City Beer | Pittsburgh Brewing Co.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
61
poor
266 Reviews
THE BROS
59
awful
Read the review
Iron City BeerIron City Beer
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Pittsburgh Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States | website

Style: American Adjunct Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by maxpower on 02-01-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
266
Ratings:
524
Avg:
2.53
pDev:
37.94%
 
 
Wants:
2
Gots:
77
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 266 | Ratings: 524
Photo of JoeMagarac
3.3/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Writing an impartial review of this beer is probably impossible. It's a macro lager, so most of us here are mildly biased against it, however hard we may try to score it for its style. Worse yet, it's from Pittsburgh and has the name "Iron City," so it invites stereotyping of the worst kind. See the review dated 11-7-2007 below for an example: it claims that "real Pittsburgh is cold, dirty and grimy" and full of mill workers. None of that is true, at least not these days: I live a 15-minute walk from the brewery and speak from experience. But it's a myth we all want to believe: that this is a tough beer for tough people, or something like that.

All of which is to say that while I will try to review this beer impartially and to score it for its style, you should take this review - and most of the other ones on here - with a grain of salt. (Or a belt of Imperial Whiskey, if you like the myth). I poured my Arn from a 12-ounce can into a pint glass, and assume that it is fresh given my location. I had a Miller High Life recently to give me a control beer to which I could compare this.

Appearance: completely average. There's a thin head that quickly fades, and obviously artificial carbon dioxide bubbles that cling to the inside of the glass for half a minute before disappearing. No better or worse than other macro lagers.

Smell: none at all, so far as I can tell. I guess that's average too: neither good nor bad.

Taste: better than average, but not great. Has a slightly acidic tang that probably isn't hops, but is thirst quenching and would go well with food. Doesn't linger on the palate.

Mouthfeel: better than average, but not great. Watery but very and pleasantly fizzy.

Drinkability: below average, but not awful. Like most macro lagers, you can down a lot of these in one sitting. But you don't really want to. And I know from prior encounters that this beer gives the worst hangover of any macro lager I've ever had, with the exception of sub-prime beers like Carling Black Label.

 2,013 characters

Photo of wcudwight
3.3/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale crystal clear golden color with a whispy thin white1/4" head. Nice solid rim around the glass.
Smell is of corn, grains, and a mild melon aroma.
Taste is bland and simple. Heavy on the malts, faintly sweet, with a nice crisp finish.
Thin and watery in the mouth. Par for the style.
It's a very drinkable beer, but the drinkability decreases as the temp rises. I deducted a pt for that.
If this were readily available in my area it would be my lawn mower and bbq beer.
The alumi-bottle would also be great for camping or tailgaiting.
Best macro lager I've had yet.

 583 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.3/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Usually drink this when I visit Pittsburgh. Apperance is actually good for this type of lager light golden with a half inch thick creamy,frothy white head..that actually sticks around. Aroma however is the usual sour corn mash cardboard mess!! Taste is better than the aroma..the corn is there in abundance but mt so sour and the malts actually seem nice and present.Nice semi sweet finish. Good on the palate, that is above average for style. Goes down well.Overall a nice American lager..reminds me a bit of Full Sail's Session..simple traditional American beer.

 564 characters

Photo of HardTarget
3.27/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cool (literally) aluminum bottle
Aroma: Mild fruit (mostly pineapple) edge to a straightforward lager beer. No alcohol or hops noted.
Appearance: Painfully clear bright yellow glass with active carbonation streams that failed to keep the white head alive very long or leave lace.
Flavor: The pineapple flavor leaves it a bit sour, but very mild, as is the total taste. A little bit of grain and a mild adjunct flavor as well, but very subtle. The beer is a study in inoffensive flavors, almost like cafeteria food.
Mouthfeel: Thin body, good carbonation level, mild bitter pucker at the finish
Overall Impression: Easy drinking; uninspiring. I see this as a beer for the masses. I’d choose one over any BMC product, and could see some enjoying a session of this, but overall, it’s a fairly bland lager.

 809 characters

Photo of Dithyramb
3.25/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presented in the requisite can bottle. Strange lot numbering ink jetted on the upper area.
Pours an ultra clear yellow. Depressing amount of retention. Lacing amounted to a wisp of white around the edges that sometimes got stuck.
Aroma of grainy malt with a light amount of hops on the end.
Medium bodied, but nicely carbonated and tingly on the tongue. This one is more of a one trick poney, that is decidedly sweet and grainy in the malt areas.o tries to make its way through towards the swallow. Bitterness comes along at the end, leaving the tongue slightly dry. The slick and creamy mouthfeel leaves it slightly better than average.

 641 characters

Photo of brightleafhops
3.25/5  rDev +28.5%

It really only comes into it's own when you drop a shot of Jack Daniels into it and guzzle it down. Cuts through the dirt and dust of a hard day's work and makes you proud to be a Steeler's fan.

 194 characters

Photo of Enola
3.25/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a better beer than I expected. The color is light yellow and there is ample carbonation. The smell is grainy. But the taste is more than is expected of the style. The beer does not have that grainy harshness that is typical of the style. The mouthfeel is smooth and inviting. This is a session beer is I have ever seen one. This beer is better than any macro I have had. Top of the heap in that style. Thnks to wcudwight for the bottle. This was my first aluminum bottle.

 479 characters

Photo of MunchkinDrinker
3.25/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark straw, but not quite amber. Crystal clear. Fizzy white head. No lacing.

S - Biting sweet malts. Some vague hop spiciness. Some cloying corn husk. Some wine like alcohol smell oddly enough.

T/M - Thin watery feel. Clean taste. Mild malts, mild corn flavors. Nearly no hops, but the lightness of the malt and corn don't make it sweet enough to be cloying.

D - Goes down very easy. I was surprised that the taste was actually not bad for an adjunct lager. I could find myself going for another pretty easily.

 517 characters

Photo of jdmorgan
3.25/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a light yellow and had a medium head. The smell had a faint hop aroma and a bit of malt too. The taste was light with a light/medium body. There is a little bit of hop flavor present here, but not a whole lot. The taste isn't too bad... there's just not a whole lot of it. The mouthfeel is light with a medium carbonation. This isn't a real heavy beer, but it doesn't have a bad taste. I consider to be pretty drinkable, and I enjoyed it (in true Pittsburgher fashion) with a Primanti Brothers sandwich! Definately worth a try... and a must when visiting the great city of Pittsburgh!

 601 characters

Photo of everetends
3.24/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz aluminum bottle I got at Four Winds in Pensecola to honor my Pens. Poured into a pint tumbler.

A: Poured the typical straw yellow, clear, with a nice white head that had no retention. Above average for a macro.

S: Actually smells like cheap clear rum, real cheap rum. That is all I am getting.

T: Taste is actually good for a macro. Mild hops, mild malt, a touch of spice. Very nice.

M: Very watery but you still have some lingering flavor. Still clean and crisp. Really goes down and refreshing.

D: Hits the spot and is very refreshing, does do the job a macro sets out to do. Better than the macro styles we have down here.

 637 characters

Photo of oberon
3.2/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

I will say this beer sux ass,but one of my good buddies it P-town took me to a Steelers game and I tailgated all day drinkin this stuff,not good but drank at least 16 and I cheeredon the Steelers (even though Iam Lions fan).Better than AB products,a classic in the Iron city.

 275 characters

Photo of allboutbierge
3.2/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

In all honesty, this is an average beer with good drinkability. Its taste is nothing to brag about, nor is its appearance or smell all that alluring. But they are not bad either. I grew up on this beer. My grandfather only drink 'Arn pounder returnables'; he's done so for 20 years and probably will so for the next 20 years. One advantage that Pittsburgh Iron drinkers have over drinkers who don't live in or around the city is that we get it fresh always. There is nothing to dislike in this beer and on the same hand nothing to love other than its price and easiness in drinking quite a few of. Like their old promotional slogan used to read
"Its a Burgh thing" and from outside the culture of Pittsburgh you probably wouldnt understand :)
In Pittsburgh its cheap, drinkable, and fresh.

 818 characters

Photo of jasonjlewis
3.18/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A decent macro lager. Typical adjunct filled lager. Decent appearance and adjunct smell. Taste is typical macro lager crap. Mouthfeel is fairly crisp but dry. THis beer is easy to drink, but so are all macro lagers if you can drink them cold and not taste the adjunct crap going on. Not a beer I'd turn down, but not a beer I'd order for myself. Try it if it comes by you cheap, otherwise don't waste your time.

 411 characters

Photo of Pennd002
3.18/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A widely available beer here in WV, ICB is somewhat popular here and there throughout the state. It seems to be hit or miss for most people since many I know don't like it, but it's my wife's favorite. I give it a slightly better than average rating as I think it's smoother and has a better aftertaste than most big names out there. It's worth a shot, especially at a Pirates game.

 382 characters

Photo of Bonkinishwa
3.17/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pittsburgh Brewing Co. - Iron City Beer. 4.5% ABV. 12oz bottle into pint glass. Bottled on 12/21/15 (code 3455).

Look: Pale golden body with a half finger sized white, foamy head.

Smell: Standard grain and corn sweetness on the nose,along with a tiny bit of hops.

Feel: Thin and light bodied, with a lot of lively carbonation. Easy drinker, finishes dry.

Taste: Crisp grain taste, with a little corn sweetness, and some faint hops.

Overall: Had a bottle of this to pair with a Primanti Bros sandwich down in Florida. This is a standard AAL, but is a little bit better than the rest. Has some hop flavor and a dry feel to it. I like it better than Budweiser.

 662 characters

Photo of BierFan
3.17/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown bottle into a pint glass.

A hard pour only produced a thin layer of head which vanished all too quickly. A little skunky smell, which is somewhat surprising given that it was in a brown bottle. Judging by the taste I would say this is an all malt lager and not an adjunct lager. Hops give only the slightest bit of bitterness in the aftertaste.

 365 characters

Photo of apintofknowledge
3.16/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My wife's dad offered me this can as a bit of nostalgia (he requested it from a friend who recently trekked to Pittsburg for a Steelers game). You see, he heard the ads for Iron City on AM radio broadcasts of Pirates games that he used to be able to hear on clear summer nights in the late 1950's in upstate New York. While I'm typically weary of beers from a can, I had to try it for nostalgia's sake.

The can had a cool retro look... made me wonder if it was good marketing, or just a holdover from years ago. The beer poured a golden color, deeper than those mass-produced beers, with a decent creamy white head. The smell was that typical American lager smell that I just can't seem to elaborate on. As for the taste, it was surprisingly somewhat tasty... mildly sweet malt with a touch of hops, mild hop flavor but no bitterness. The mouthfeel was nice, and there was none of that metallic flavor that always seems present in canned beers (this one was apparently relatively fresh). It was a much more enjoyable and drinkable beer than I expected. Not a bad choice if you find yourself at a Steelers game!

 1,113 characters

Photo of BrewMaven
3.15/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I couldn't believe how clear this stuff poured...The most hollow gold I ever saw! Head just up and left quickly. Very mild scented also. The above average taste of malt/grain with a slight hop finish really surprised me after seeing how it looked. The "AlumaBottle" is cool too. Not great but certainly not bad at all.

 318 characters

Photo of freed
3.15/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

So I take a break from yard-work to return the bottles. I'm thinking to myself, cheap lager sounds good, but the makers of most cheap lager are detestable. So I see this beer in the fridge, its a good deal, so I picks it up. As I'm checking out, I notice the "non-returnable" label on the side, which I assume is purely for authenticity. Not in my era, but my dad always talks about how he misses taking the case of empties back. I hate it.

Its a pale golden color, rather boisterous head, and the bubbles are rather brilliant in their whiteness. The aroma is purely of pale malt, and the hops aren't noticeable.

The taste is mild, but what I expected. Its a very clean malty flavor with a complimentary amount of carbonation. Its somewhat difficult to pick out other flavors, but I assume that hops are attributing to the crispness of the beer.

All in all, its nothing spectacular, but its welcome on this day.

 921 characters

Photo of MTNboy
3.13/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This wasn't the worst adjunct beer as some people would call it. It had an even finger and a half of white head over a pale straw body with plenty of carbonation bubbles. There was not much for lace but what lace did exist was pretty spread out. It had an average mass produced lager aroma. Slightly malty and hoppy. The taste was metallic, spicy, with some grain and sour apple like flavors. The mouthfeel was thin and even. It wasn't a horrible beer but it wasn't a beer I would go searching for.

 498 characters

Photo of RBorsato
3.13/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear straw color with a nice white head at first and good carbonation but leaves no lace. Standard cooked corn aroma and flavor with grassy notes. Light bodied with a dry grassy finish.

Gotta love it ... if you're a Steelers fan & from PA (like me).

Per bottle: Since 1861

Per PBCo website:
140 calories
10 carbs
0 grams of fat
.9 grams of protein
3.4% alcohol by weight
4.5% alcohol by volume

'3084' lasered on neck
Tasted: 01/30/05

($19.99 / case - aluminum bottles)

 498 characters

Photo of DuqTroops
3.13/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Alumninum Bottle!

Reviewed this during the Pittsburgh/Denver AFC Championship game. We had a party here and provided Rolling Rock, IC, IC Light, and Penn Pilsner. I drank all of the Iron City beer. Not reviewed properly, but this was definitely a tasty beer. It is much better than Miller Lite or anything similar to this. Not my typical beer to drink a daily basis, but during a sporting event, does very well.

 414 characters

Photo of rabsten
3.12/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Standard American Macro Lager, poured from an aluminum bottle to a pint glass, it's an average, yellow beer with decent head, some minor lacing, and good carbonation. Smells corny but with some actual malt, too.

Taste, well, it's AML and dead-on for the style. I'd prefer a Pabst but won't get snobish and turn my nose up at IC. It beats Miller Lite hands down.

Dry, bubbly mouthfeel. Enh. But pretty good drinkability.

I kinda enjoy IC. As far as macrolagers go it's pretty good. Beats BMC, anyways. Pick one up, Y'ins might like it.

 545 characters

Photo of kbub6f
3.12/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A small, fast, fizzy, level, white head dies to a film quickly. The beer is ultra clear, pale gold with impatient carbonation. Smell is sweet/tart... like apple juice, with some nuts and sugar. The beer starts fruity and a little bitter, then turns sweet, with more apple juice and a fairly solid body. The finish gives major nuts and nicely fresh bitterness. It gets a little chemically at temperature, but overall it's not bad. Some pleasant flavors in there.

 461 characters

Photo of Gusler
3.1/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Iron City was once a mainstay in my fridge, of course this was some twenty years ago, and I still like to sample one now and again, if nothing else for the memories.

The beer pours from the 355ml aluminum bottle (can), a clear gold with a smallish bright white head that is semi-creamy in texture, with the left over lace a fine film to conceal the glass. Nose is the prototypical malt lager with a fresh crisp sweetness, start is lightly sweet and nicely malted, top is light in feel. Finish is strongly acidic, the hops light but pleasant and the aftertaste dry and lingering, a drinkable lager as lagers go.

 613 characters

Iron City Beer from Pittsburgh Brewing Co.
61 out of 100 based on 266 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe