Stylin’ & Profilin’ is a brief look at different beer styles that will help you learn whether they’re right for you. Ultimately, words can’t truly turn you on to a solid craft beer. You have to smell, taste, and savor each sip to truly discover if it’s one you’ll come back to in the future. But the background info obtained in this post won’t hurt anything either.
What is a Cinnamon Beer?
Um…where to begin.
So typically, as the brief blurb at the top of this post suggests, Stylin’ & Profilin’ is meant to break down a beer style, give some history, suggest a few good options in that category, and get you excited to try something outside your wheelhouse. Historically, I don’t rely solely on beer reviews to tell me what to drink. I give new beers a whirl and see if they tickle my fancy. And if they don’t, I move on. I don’t really see the benefit in tearing down the creations of others…unless they’re of the mass-marketed variety which strives to keep the little guys down or, worse yet, carbon copy their efforts in a half-assed fashion.
This has been the struggle of microbreweries from the start…wrestling away shelf space from the Buds and the Millers and the Coors of the world with limited advertising dollars to do so. It’s like taking on a battleship with a slingshot. But through grueling effort and unwavered dedication, craft brews have broken through and, slowly but surely, earned a constantly-increasing fan base. A fan base so strong, the “big guys” have tried to create their own craft offerings…and fallen woefully short.
So…enter today’s subject. The cinnamon beer. In your earlier years, you most likely attended a high school kegger where that humanoid from algebra class staggered around slurring, “Duuuuude, you gotta hit this Fire Water!” or, on a less drunk scale, chewed a stick of Big Red before making out with your significant other. Now, thanks to Pittsburgh Brewing’s Red Hot Iron, you get to enjoy all the elements of a cinnamony past…in your BEER!
Pittsburgh Brewing is most famous for Iron City. In fact, much to the dismay of many including this blogger, when it comes to a town’s representation vis-a-vis beer, Iron City and Pittsburgh get lumped together more often than they should considering the craft beer boom our town is experiencing. Nevertheless, Pittsburgh Brewing is doing their best (data unofficial) to break into the craft segment through their Block House series, with a take on a pumpkin ale and a chocolate bock that was met with acclaim by 14 or 15 people. Now, their next stab…it’s all about the cinnamon, baby!
News of Red Hot Iron broke and many people took their social media accounts to ask why. I know my initial reaction was fright, but much like a bad horror flick, I laughed about it later. But to be objective, I decided I would give it a go so I had a frame of reference. So, I grabbed a bottle…and at the same time bought a bottle of rum barrel aged Pumking. Most diverse beer purchase…EVER.
Now, I don’t normally “review” beers. Nor do I typically read reviews. I like to try for myself. But, just for fun, here’s my take on the Red Hot Iron:
Red Hot Iron is a 7.2% ABV “fiery lager.” If that doesn’t get you pumped for a cold one, nothing will. It pours a vibrant, robitussin-y red. When held up against a candle, it looks like what I’d assume Gummy Beary Juice looked like…you know, “Guuuummy Bears, bouncing here and there and yaddy yadda”…just dated myself a little. The aroma wafts of apple. APPLE. Mmkay. The cinnamon hits you on the front and reminds you of the time you “borrowed” a bottle of Goldschlager from your Dad’s bar when you were a freshman in college. OK, it reminds me of that. The cinnamon and apple get you on the back and question your judgment entirely. Overall, this is one of those beers that gets you psyched for other beer.
This is why I don’t review beer. Moving on…
My friend Doug Derda, through his beer podcast Should I Drink That, pointed out that Red Hot Iron seems like nothing more than an attempt to stake claim to the Fireball craze of 2014. He also mentioned if Pittsburgh Brewing were serious about this beer, it would probably be mentioned on their website (which, at the time of this posting, it STILL is not).
Oh what the hell, here’s the full video. Trust me, Doug’s review is better than mine.
I couldn’t agree more. If you’re trying to move into this segment, take it seriously. My mission with Breaking Brews has been to raise awareness of craft beer and celebrate the great things that have transformed the landscape of beer as a whole. So when a beer like this comes along, it makes me wonder how far off the mark things can possibly get.
So, to deliver on the question asked in the title of this post, What Is a Cinnamon Beer? Nothing more than a novelty or a chachkie. As always, give it a whirl if you can get ONE bottle at a time and see if it hits you. Taste is subjective. But this one…man, I just don’t know. If anything, Iron City got some free publicity because of this offering (albeit mostly negative), but it’s most likely a fiery lager that’s due to go down in flames like B to the E.
Hmmm…CAFFEINE and CINNAMON beer? Oops, I’ve said too much. ABORT!
Had the Red Hot Iron? What is your take? Leave your comments below!