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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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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tap Handle #282: Napa Smith - Lost Dog Red Ale

This tap arrived as part of a group purchase. It's not really figural and I probably wouldn't have normally purchased it, but the price was great and Kelly really liked it, so I kept it. The wrought-iron base is beautiful and pretty unique. The differences between the varieties are on the label only.

Napa Smith Brewery was founded in Napa Valley, California in 2008 by the Smith family. They started making both wine and beer in an old Hakasan Saki factory. They could have just produced wine, but realized that although wine could be paired with foods, in some cases beer made a better pairing. They set out to brew beers that would not only go with a variety of foods, but also could be used in cooking, while living up to the standards of having "Napa" in the name.

To help them in their endeavour they hired Don Barkley. Barkley was America's first craft brewer, having started making craft beer in 1978 at New Albion Brewery, America’s first new brewery since Prohibition. He gave up his job in Silicon Valley and enrolled in the brewing program at UC Davis. After five years brewing at New Albion Brewery, he went on to help found the Mendocino Brewing, creating such legendary beers as Red Tail Ale and Eye of the Hawk. It wasn't hard to convince Barkley to join Napa Smith Brewery - his great-great-grandfather settled in the Napa Valley in the 1850’s as one of the very first hop farmers.

At launch, Napa Smith brewed 3 beers, but as the beer side of the business has grown, they began to introduce more beers, built a brewpub in 2011 and a tasting room in 2012. They currently feature 12 varieties on tap in their brewpub. They are licensed to distribute in 22 states, have a significant presence in Walt Disney World, and Sweden is their second-biggest market outside California. Napa Smith is currently owned and operated by Paddington Brands, LLC.

Lost Dog is a red ale in Napa Smith's signature series. It is rich and robust, with a hoppy finish that practically rolls over and begs for another taste, and a warm red hue and a dense off-white head. It also won a gold medal in the 2010 California State Fair. Recommended food pairings are steaks, burgers, and garlic fries, and on their website they've provided a Lost Dog Lamb Chop recipe. Weighted average on is 3.06 out of 5.

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