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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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Photos or tap descriptions used in this blog may not be misrepresented as your own. Photos may not be used for financial gain whatsoever, as the uniqueness of the photo would unfairly associate a seller's product and reputation with this site. Tap descriptions may be used word for word as long as this blog is cited as the source, and a link is provided to this site.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tap Handle #182: Big Rock - Grasshopper Wheat Ale

I really, really love this tap. First appearing on the wishlist at #13, I was elated to obtain one. Great detail and a beautiful matte finish make this one of my top taps. Big Rock has since come out with newer, plainer taps.

Big Rock Brewery was founded in Calgary in Alberta, Canada in 1985 by Ed McNally. The company is named after a multi-ton granite glacial deposit located outside of Okotoks, Alberta. A lawyer by trade, McNally was representing a group of barley growers in a legal action against the Alberta Wheat Board in the 1980s. Through the course of the legal action, McNally learned that the Alberta climate produces 2-row barley that is ideally suited for malting, and had ready access to fresh glacial water from the nearby Rocky Mountains. At the time, most barley production in Alberta was used as cattle feed. Unhappy with his limited choices of beer, McNally decided to open his own craft brewery. The first brewmaster was Bernd "Peppy" Pieper, an internationally renowned Swiss brewmaster for Heineken International. The brewery opened in an 1800 square foot building on the Barlow Trail.

In the summer of 1986, when Big Rock had been in production for only a year, there was a strike at the Molson and Labatt breweries. The strike at the two largest domestic brewers proved to be a windfall for Big Rock, as it was the only beer available in Alberta that summer. The brewery had to run around the clock to meet demand for the entire summer, and sales immediately doubled. This was widely considered the turning point for Big Rock, and they were accepted as a serious contender in the market. Another big boost came during the 1988 Winter Olympics, when Big Rock beers impressed many foreign visitors. In 1989 Big Rock moved to its current location on a 14 acre site in southeast Calgary. The company brews 17 varieties of beer, two types of cider, two seasonal brews, and eight contract brews for other companies. They are Canada's largest craft brewery and the second-largest Canadian-owned brewery.

Grasshopper is a wheat ale developed by Pieper whit hints of apple, vanilla, and cinnamon. Recommended food pairings are barbecued chicken, smoked fish, and shrimp kabobs. Weighted average on is 2.59 out of 5.

Big Rock Official Website

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