About This Site

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.

Brewery history may not be used for any reason without citing the blog post or original source from which it was taken, and providing a link to such.

Failure to follow the guidelines above is a violation of Copyright Law, which protects original works of ownership.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tap Handle #255: Genesee - Cream Ale

This is a gorgeous tap that I coveted for some time. It features a "glass" full of ale sitting on a pedestal. The label on the pedestal reads "World Beer Cup Gold Award Winner". It's flat on the backside.

Genesee Brewing was founded in Rochester, New York. In 1857, Charles Rau partnered with a young friend and saloon worker, Emil Reisky, and established the Rau & Reisky Brewery. In 1874, the name was changed to Reisky & Spies. In 1878, the company was sold to Mathias Kondolfs, one of Rochester’s early entrepreneurs, who changed the name to the Genesee Brewery. In 1889 a group of English investors purchased the Genesee Brewery, the Rochester Brewing Company, and the city’s largest, Bartholomay Brewery Company. Louis A. Wehle, whose grandfather and father both worked at Bartholomay, began assisting his father at the brewery while still in high school. By 1909, Louis Wehle’s skills had become evident and Barholomay sent him to brewmaster’s school in New York City. Upon graduation and his return to Rochester in 1911, Louis was promoted to assistant brewmaster. By 1916, Louis Wehle was again promoted, this time to brewmaster at the Genesee Brewery. The next year, Louis moved to Buffalo to become head brewmaster at the Lang Brewing Company.

Prohibition forced Genesee Brewery to close, as did Lang Brewing. Wehle turned his talents to the baking business. His Wehle Baking Company pioneered home delivery of fresh baked goods. This enterprise netted Louis $1.3 million when he sold it in 1929. After Prohibition was repealed, and financially well-positioned, Wehle purchased the former Genesee brewery and a portion of the Bartholomay brewery, and incorporated the new Genesee Brewing Company in 1932, becoming one of only five brewers in Rochester to reopen after Prohibition. By 1934 Genesee had expanded its distribution across New York State and into parts of Pennsylvania and Ohio. By World War II, Genesee’s trademark brew was its 12 Horse Ale, with a team of 12 horses pulling a beer wagon as its logo. After its opening in 1933, the Wehle family would own and operate the Genesee Brewing Company for the next 67 years.

In 1984, it purchased the Fred Koch Brewery of Dunkirk, NY, but after the death of John L. Wehle, Jr. in 2000 and a failed sales attempt, the company executives formed an investment group and bought the brewing part of the business. The new company was named High Falls Brewing Company. Despite running a full lineup and doing contract brewing for Samuel Adams, Mike's Hard Lemonade, and Smirnoff Ice, the company started facing financial difficulty in 2002. In 2009, about to go bankrupt, High Falls Brewery was sold to a New York City investment group KPS Capital Partners to be run as part of its North American Breweries subsidiary. NAB announced that the name of the brewery would be changed back to Genesee Brewing Company to reflect the company's long history. In 2012, NAB was purchased by Cerveceria Costa Rica S.A, a subsidiary of Florida Ice and Farm Company for $338 million.

Visitor Center/Museum/Brewpub
The former Cataract Building
The company renovated a nearby former packing plant into a visitor center, museum, and brewpub. The new site was held up due to a building preservation movement when NAB announced they were tearing down the old Cataract Brewing building, which Wehle had purchased in an auction in 1940 (and where 12 Horse Ale was brewed). Unable to find a buyer who could afford the renovations necessary to make the Cataract Building safe and functional, NAB tore it down.

Genesee currently brews several brands of beer, including Genesee and Genny Light, Dundee, and Rock Wall. They also do contract brewing for several brands including Blue Point, Seven Kings, Narragansett, Mike's Hard Lemonade, Labatt Blue Light Lime and Labatt Ice, Mountain Brew Beer Ice, Stew Brew, Big Flats 1901, and Sainsbury's American Pale Ale.

Genesee Cream Ale is a warm-fermented lager with a signature top-fermenting yeast and a krausened aging process, resulting in a remarkably creamy white head and a body. Created in 1960, it won gold medals at the 2002 and 2004 World Beer Cup. Recommended food pairings are barbecue dishes, especially burgers and ribs. Weighted average on is 2.26 out of 5.

Genesee Brewing Official Website

Genesee Cream Ale has its own website, which you can find here.


  1. Now THAT tap handle, I REALLY DIG.

  2. Yeah, it's pretty awesome. I got outbid 3 times before I finally snagged one. It was worth the wait!