(Author’s Note: The following contains only the most minor spoilers from the new season of “Stranger Things.” I swear this is safe to read.)
We all know just how well-represented Steelers Nation is throughout the world. There are fans in every corner of the country, maybe even the world. And that includes fictional worlds. This week, while “Stranger Things” junkies binged on season four, eagle-eyed fans from SWPA noticed a very special cameo.
Iron City circa 1986 spotted in Stranger Things. pic.twitter.com/3NxMGnGXsH— Aaron Adler (@aseanads) May 28, 2022
It looks like the “Stranger Things” underage adult beverage of choice is none other than our own Iron City lager! Sure, it’s probably not the best look for Iron to be the featured brand of underage drinking in Hawkins, IN. On the other hand, you can’t fault these kids for having good taste.
The casual viewer will watch these ten seconds of footage and never think about it again. But there’s actually a sinister crime being committed here. It’s one that’s being overshadowed by the drama of Demogorgans and The Upside Down. It’s one that is a direct affront to Pittsburgh fans everywhere. Even worse, it looks like the town of Hawkins is completely fine with this mystery remaining unsolved.
First, let’s talk about the historical significance of Iron City popping up in “Stranger Things.” Season Four takes place in 1986, a time when the Pittsburgh Brewing Company was putting all of its efforts into connecting the brand with the city that shares its name. The Iron City slogan was “It’s a ‘Burgh Thing,” and the jingle specifically talked about how hard it was to find Iron outside of the city.
The “Stranger Things” town of Hawkins is in Indiana, somewhere between Chicago and Purdue. The chances of finding a sixer of Iron City in a cooler there is slim to none. If anything, the guys would have bought I.C. Light, which was being heavily marketed to younger and female demographics at that time. Any high school basketball player looking to party with cheerleaders back then would have likely been saying “Gimme the night. Gimme an I.C. Light.”
Back to the cold, hard cameo. A closer look reveals the true horrors lurking beneath the surface of Hawkins. These aren’t just any old Iron City cans that pop up at the jocks’ party. They hold a special connection to the past.
Look at how the circular logos are arranged at the top near the rim. Look at the boxy illustration on the can. These boys are drinking from special commemorative cans celebrating the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates!
Why in the world would high schoolers in 1986 crack open six-year-old cans of lager? Isn’t it obvious now? These beers weren’t purchased at a convenience store, bar or deli. They were stolen from the collection of a hard-working Pittsburgh fan; most likely a father of one the athletes. A man who has been forced to leave the Steel City and move to Hawkins. He’s left his home, but he’s taken the memories of Stargell and Bradshaw with him. He’s so busy with work, he never appears once this season, despite the fact his son is at the center of an inter-dimensional rift. This man comes home, off-camera, to find his collectable cans gone, his memories tarnished, and his town doesn’t care if he gets an ounce of justice. Now on this day, the target was the ‘79 Bucs. But what will be desecrated next, a Jack Lambert HOF six pack? Let’s bring closure to this member of the black and gold family and try to solve the mystery of “Stranger Things” Steelers fan.
We can quickly eliminate two people from the list of suspects. Lucas and “Freshman Teammate” (far left, above) did not steal the beer. No high school party relies on the freshmen to provide the booze.
He is a man of many aliases, but he is no thief. His jacket says his name is “Chance.” According to the closed captions, Jason call him “Jed.” IMDB says he is simply “Teammate.” Chance couldn’t have stolen the commemorative beers, because he didn’t even know the party was happening. Here is the conversation after the basketball game.
Jason: “Jed, you coming?”
Chance: “Yeah! Party at Benny’s boys!”
At this point, the party plans have already been made by Jason and other teammates. Besides the freshmen, Chance seems to be the last to know about it, or at least the last to confirm his attendance. He’s going straight to Benny’s. If Chance’s dad is the Steelers fan, when does Chance have an opportunity to steal the commemorative stash?
Andy is guilty of only one thing: hat crimes. The brim is too flat, it lays too high on the head, and he wears it in every scene! It feels like this is the first time Andy’s ever worn a hat. Considering the cleanliness of the white fabric and the state of the brim, it just might be. Andy wouldn’t dare steal his dad’s collective Iron City cans. He’s terrified at the thought of his parents finding out about the jock party.
There is some circumstantial evidence that could point towards Patrick as our Iron City Bandit. It’s implied that his father would hit him under the influence of alcohol. That could give Patrick a possible motive to steal his dad’s potential prized possessions. But that’s where the trail runs cold. We never meet Patrick’s mom or dad, or any authority figure from the jocks’ side. Where are these boys’ parents??
Hawkins Investigators need to give this guy a closer look. He’s the captain of the basketball team. There’s no doubt that his entire small town sports career, up to this point, has been under his father’s watchful eye. Jason obviously has a lot of pent-up resentment, judging by his deep mistrust of authority figures like the Hawkins police. He also shares a jersey number with a four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe Jason grew up a Terry Bradshaw fan, because his dad was a Pittsburgh native. We never meet Jason’s dad on the show, despite his kid playing in a championship basketball game. That in itself may be enough motive for Jason to swipe his dad’s beloved brewskis.
A crime against one Yinzer is a crime against us all. Let’s bring Black and Gold justice to Hawkins, before it’s destroyed by an evil, soul-sucking force (80s Colts football).
Who Stole The Commemorative Iron City Cans on "Stranger Things?"
This poll is closed
Jason the Jock
Patrick w/ a Secret
Flat Hat Andy
Chance or is it Jed
WTF is this?
Kyle Chrise is the host of “What Yinz Talkin’ Bout.” New episodes drop every Thursday on the Behind the Steel Curtain podcast network. Follow him on Twitter @KyleChrise