For my next small glass, I went with one of the HB series, a Pig Iron Porter. My server, Becky, told me HB stood for House Beer, one of the five always on tap in each of the chain's pubs scattered across three states. Two more had SB following the title, seasonals which would also be on tap in every pub. The other seven were chosen by Chris, the head brewer, and would be found only here in Chestnut Hill.
The business model known as the chain brewpub or chain gastropub is characterized by small systems able to make enough beer for their own restaurants, little or no distribution to taverns, little or no bottling or canning,take-home sales limited to growler fills, and the same beers at each location, although brewers may have some latitude to add their own creations. In our region, McMenamins, the RAM chain, the Rock Bottom/Gordon Biersch combined entity, and the Elliott Bay brewpubs all exemplify this model. Diamond Knot is a combination of brewpubs and a production brewery. The desire of brewers to show what they can create pops up in most organizations of this type,
A brew kettle a bit under 14 barrels and a series of 12-bbl fermenters makes enough beer for this pub and the growler fills. There is one small exception to the model: the Bottled Reserves program. These are high-end brews, imperials, an English Barleywine, a Wee Heavy, and the like, in 750-ml bottles with champagne-style corking. They are priced from $16.50 to $20.50 and again, may vary some from one pub to another.
The Pig Iron Porter was a good finish to the gumbo. I wanted to try one more unique beer.
The Iron Hill chain is going on twenty years now, having started in Delaware in 1996. It's here to stay.