Canvas to cask
Around mid-July, look for the opening of Iron Bird Brewing Co. (ironbirdbrewing.com) in the former Art Hardware space at 402 S. Nevada Ave. With the opening of Blue Dot Place, a 33-apartment complex at 412 S. Nevada Ave., in the summer of 2015, Iron Bird stands ready to serve a growing South C-Springs area — along with Bristol Brewing Co. and nearby Fieldhouse Brewing Co., poised to open in just weeks.
According to co-owner/head brewer Mike Centanne (who also operates Alpine Hearth & BBQ), he and Aaron Celusta, an Air Force Reserve pilot, aim to distinguish themselves with true cask ales and session-style beer. Aside from eight conventional carbonated taps with brews like an American red ale (a take on the Irish version), another four "beer engines" (hand pumps that run directly from casks) will pour beers like a traditional English bitter.
The stainless-steel casks will be stored in an 18-foot-wide cellar the partners have renovated out of existing basement space unused by the former occupant. It will hold casks at a more consistent temperature that's warmer (closer to 50 degrees than 40) than beers most Americans are used to, as per the historic style in U.K. taverns.
Centanne, a nine-year homebrewer, says he achieves a texture similar to a nitrogen-poured brew via a "sparkler," a shower-head-like aerator attached to a beer engine nozzle. He adds that cask ales tend to gift more malt flavors, with "everything more in your face, instead of being masked by carbonation ... you're actually drinking a beer that's still alive with active yeasts."
And because the beer degrades quickly once oxygen's introduced, batches will be as small as 10 gallons to ensure that product's moved within a week — which also encourages Centanne to "do more one-off batches and test crazy stuff."
Iron Bird will launch with a seven-barrel system and a trio of seven-barrel fermenters, and will operate solely as a taproom. (Expect food trucks.) Honoring Celusta's service and earning its name, the brewery will "look like [an English] bar that airmen were going to in World War II."
À la carte
• Four months after a fire (cause yet to be determined), The Perk Downtown (14 S. Tejon St., 635-1600) plans to reopen by today, Wednesday, May 28. A grand reopening, featuring tastings and more, will follow soon, says co-owner Don Heaberlin.
• The Bistro recently closed for business at 1228 E. Fillmore St., with owner Jackie Houston (formerly of the North End Diner as well) saying that "after 20 years ... I was no longer able to compete in the marketplace."
• The retail location for Orchard Ovens Bakery (3 E. Bijou St.) has closed. A voicemail greeting says phone orders may be placed, and to find OOB products at farmers markets soon.