Booze Banter

First Pour at Iron Hill Center City


Way back in August of 2013, Limpd attended the First Pour at Iron Hill Brewery’s Voorhees location on his own, and last night, I attended the First Pour at Iron Hill’s brand spanking new Center City Philadelphia location (it officially opens on September 13th) on my own. What is it about Iron Hill Brewery First Pour events and our inability to have more than one of us attending at the same time? We’ll blame the usual suspects for our failure to get our schedules in sync, i.e. work and/or family obligations. I guess it could always be worse. At least one of us gets to attend such things every so often. Anyway…

Last night’s First Pour event was an informal, “Esteemed Members of the Media” sneak preview hosted by Iron Hill co-founder Kevin Finn. During my time at their new 1150 Market Street location, media types such as myself were given the opportunity to speak with the people that run the show at Iron Hill while sampling some of the food and beer items that’ll be featured on the Iron Hill Center City menu once it officially opens. The food and drink offerings looked exactly like this…

After the official First Pour was over, I returned to my perch at the end of the bar and continued taking tasting notes of the four beers that were being served while noshing on some of the food. Somewhere between beer number two and beer number three, I had a brief conversation with Kevin Finn. During our chat, Kevin made it abundantly clear that everyone at Iron Hill is incredibly excited to finally open an outlet in Center City Philadelphia.

Long time Philadelphia area residents such as Kevin and myself remember when Center City was a ghost town after 5PM, but that’s no longer the case thanks to all of the residential and commercial real estate development going on all over the city, so opening a Center City Iron Hill location was all about waiting for the right opportunity to come along. With two residential towers that will have upwards of 500 apartments going up on the same block as Iron Hill, the Pennsylvania Convention Center and several hotels right down the street, and numerous shopping venues going up in the surrounding area, I’d say that they picked the right time AND the right place to open in Center City.

While I would love to give you detailed tasting notes of all of the food that was being served, the truth is that I spent most of my time chatting with several of the attendees, taking photos, and writing my beer tasting notes, so I didn’t pay much attention to the food. That being said, I really enjoyed the grilled rib eye steak, roasted brussel sprouts, and cheesesteak eggrolls. In fact, I liked them so much that I went back for seconds (no surprise there!). All three dishes were really flavorful and well prepared, and as an added bonus, they paired perfectly with the four beers that I sampled. And speaking of beer, here’s what I thought of the four that I tried…


White Iron Wit | Belgian Wheat | 4.6% ABV

Cloudy yellow color with a creamy head of off-white foam that lingers for quite awhile.

Lightly carbonated with lots of clove and coriander, along with a healthy dose of lemon zest.

Very crisp with lingering clove and a bit of lemon in the aftertaste.

Not my favorite style of beer, but definitely true to the style and well crafted. If Belgian Wheats are your thing, you’ll definitely like this.


Vienna Red Lager, European Amber Lager – 4.4% ABV

Clear amber color with minimal head and lacing.

Very caramely at the start with minimal bitterness.

Oodles of maltiness from beginning to end.

Much like the White Iron Wit, this too is not a favorite style of mine, but the caramel sweetness on this one almost won me over. So I sort of like it, but would never pick it over something like a Sour, IPA, Stout, or Porter.


Hungry Dog, West Coast IPA – 6.3% ABV

Clear, golden, yellow-orange color with a thick and frothy head and lots of lovely lacing.

Way hoppy with a healthy dose of citrus and pine. If there’s such a thing as a comforting bitterness, this beer has it, i.e. it’s robust but never overbearing thanks to some sweet malts that keep the hoppiness from getting out of hand. The finish is lightly lemony and slightly dry.

They should really consider changing the name of this beer to Thirsty Dog because it will definitely leave you wanting more. This was a solid and refreshingly bitter IPA that I would definitely order again.


Philly Special IPA | New England Philly IPA | 6.7% ABV

Cloudy golden yellow color with a thick and frothy head of foam and oodles of sticky lacing.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Lightly hopped and mildly peppery with a bit of sweet milkiness coming through. Lightly peppery finish along with some mild, lingering bitterness.

I’m late to the New England… errr, I mean Philly IPA party, but like most things in life, better late than never! Philly Special IPA is one super smooth and creamy brew which also does a really good job of hiding it’s 6.7% ABV. Much like the Hungry Dog IPA, this is one beer that I will definitely be ordering again.


Many thanks to the fine folks at Food Shelter PR for inviting us to the event. And best wishes to Iron Hill Brewery on their new venture in Center City. We’re looking forward to many visits in the weeks and months ahead!

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