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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Tap Handle #360: Iron City Brewing (Pittsburgh Brewing) - Olde Frothingslosh

Tap Size:  12.5"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

The Olde Frothingslosh tap is a great example of how to imbue a plain tap handle with great character. It's not really figural, but the addition of the monocle, and the raised moustache on the upper portion, help give it a figural impression. The base is wood sandwiched by two metal pieces. Above that, the "label" section, which is really a decal, is made of resin and is 3-sided. The top piece is also metal; in fact, it is magnetic, allowing the monocle to adhere to it. Or the monocle can be removed and allowed to hang from the attached chain. It has a whimsical feel to it that makes sense when the CEO has said that Iron City is following the Pabst model. Due to its rarity (it is a limited offering beer), the tap can be a little on the high side when it comes to price.

Click through to read about the lengthy history of Iron City Brewing, find out more about Olde Frothingslosh, and see more photos...

In 1889, 21 local breweries transferred license to the trust known as Pittsburgh Brewing Company, making it the third-largest brewery in the nation, with a production capacity of over 1 million barrels a year. Five of the smallest and most outdated breweries were closed and their workers transferred. During Prohibition, Pittsburgh Brewing survived by producing ice cream, sodas, and near beer, and their Tech Food Products Company grew to be one of the largest dairy and soft drink manufacturers in western Pennsylvania, later being bought by the Borden Dairy Company in 1945. As the United States became embroiled in conflict overseas, Pittsburgh Brewing produced large quantities of beer for active troops. The entire production of the Uniontown Brewery was dedicated to fulfillment of military contracts until it was closed in 1948.

In 1954 Pittsburgh radio personality Regis "Rege" Cordic coined the novelty brand Sir Lady Frothingslosh, the "Pale Stale Ale" on his show. The imaginary beer was such a favorite that Pittsburgh Brewing purchased the rights and renamed it Olde Frothingslosh. The first year, Olde Frothingslosh was produced only in very limited quantities for brewery employees during the holidays.

In 1962 Pittsburgh Brewing teamed up with Alcoa to produce the first snap-top can, which quickly became the new beverage industry standard. In 1967 Pittsburgh Brewing acquired the DuBois Brewing Company, and in 1975 they acquired the Queen City Brewing Company, along with the Old German, Old Export, Heritage House, Old Dutch, Brown Derby, Gamecock Ale, and American brands. In 1985 they brewed the first commercially available Samuel Adams Boston Lager, along with three of the top five beers at the 1985 Great American Beer Festival.

In 1986 Pittsburgh Brewing was purchased by Alan Bond, whose empire built on junk bonds crashed and burned (see this post). In 1991 the state of Pittsburgh Brewing went from bad to worse when it was sold to the Pittsburgh Food & Beverage Company, headed by the infamous Michael Carlow. Carlow was forced to give up the brewery in 1995 when he went to prison for fraud, and the brewery was purchased by Pittsburgh native and entrepeneur Joseph Picirrilli and his investor group, the Keystone Brewing Company. Picirrilli brought a new energy to the company but was hampered by union issues, and the company went bankrupt.

In 2007 the bankrupt brewery was purchased by Unified Growth Partners and returned to its original name of Iron City Brewing. In 2009 brewing operations were moved to Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the site of one of the original 21 breweries and where Rolling Rock had been formerly produced. In 2011 Iron City Brewing was sold to Uni-World Capital, who change the name back to Pittsburgh Brewing Company as they celebrated their 150th anniversary. The company's beers continue to be contract brewed through the Latrobe brewery, and in 2013 they hired a new CEO, Brian Walsh, who previously worked for Long Trail and Labatt America.

Olde Frothingslosh is simply a slight variation of Iron City Beer repackaged to take advantage of Cordic's original novelty creation. It is a smooth medium-body lager with a hint of bitterness and an exquisite sense of facial hair. This beer goes down easy with a clean, sharp flavor, and entices the nose with a mild citrusy aroma. Weighted average (for Iron City Beer) on is 1.83 out of 5.

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