Traditionally, the proper sixth anniversary gift stars iron, but that only tells a fraction of the story behind the 6th Anniversary ale from Ladyface Ale Companie. The Belgian-accented brewery from Cyrena Nouzille and brewmaster/partner Dave Griffiths at the base of Ladyface Mountain in Agoura Hills celebrated their 6th Anniversary by brewing an ale called Iron Lady. The beautiful Belgian golden strong ale clocks 10.3% ABV and contains Viognier grape must.
According to Griffiths, “I wanted to move away from our tradition of brewing Belgian-style Quads for our Anny ale but still brew something full flavored/bodied/ high ABV really for the cellaring factor, and something still in the Belgian-style. An 11% Belgian golden ale was a good place to start. Then to add some complexity and “cool” factor I had been going through some wine/beer hybrid fermentation experiments leading up to the brew day for the Anny ale so that’s where the Viogner wine must came from and it all made sense. To complete the overall flavor profile and to tie into our passion for barrel-aging (but didn’t have time for a full fledged barrel rest) I found some really cool oak “dust” from a company in Napa.” The dust has faster extraction times than barrels, but still imparts compelling flavor to the beer.
Nouzille called iron “an anniversary symbol of strength or longevity” and shared deeper meaning. “It’s also a bit of a nod to famous women in history. (As you may know, Iron Lady was Margaret Thatcher’s nickname.) The design itself was inspired by Fritz Lang’s 1927 movie, Metropolis. Its plot centers around the transformation of [heroine] Maria into a robot to defeat the socialist uprising, which paralleled the workers’ rights movements of the era. You can also transpose this into the industrialization of the beer making process and fabricated steel components replacing the human handcrafted element over the last 150 years. (Dave still mixes his mash tun with his muscles & stainless steel paddle.) The smaller the brewery, the more the human elements are extant, but we still rely on “iron” to make modern beer.”
Enjoy Ladyface’s 6th anniversary ale while bottles and kegs last, which shouldn’t be long. Mull the symbolism while you sip, or just enjoy the ale. Iron Lady works on both levels.