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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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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tap Handle #290: Hussong's - Dark

Like the Big Rock Magpie tap I just posted about, this Hussong's Dark tap featuring a parrot is very rare, I've seen maybe two of them besides mine. This is a gorgeously detailed tap, from the coloring of the parrot to its real-looking glass eye.

Hussong's was founded in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, in 1892 by John Hussong. Hussong was born in Germany in 1863 as Johann. When he was 23, he emigrated to New York, where he changed his name to John. After ten years and tiring of the big city, he headed west to California. In 1889 the discovery of gold south of the border lured him to Ensenada. John hunted quail, geese and other wild fowl which he sold to local restaurants. In 1890 he bought a barbershop and began running a carriage with six horses between Ensenada and the gold rush camp, El Alamo, about 60 miles to the southeast on a very bad road. In 1891, John’s carriage flipped over, and his companion, Newt House, fractured his leg. John brought Newt to recuperate at Meiggs’ Bar, Ensenada’s only watering hole. Two days after John and Newt arrived at the bar, Meiggs attacked his wife with an axe. When Meiggs was sent to jail, his wife fled to California. When Meiggs got out of jail, he went in search of his wife, and asked John to mind the bar until he returned. Neither Meiggs nor his wife were ever heard of again.

The cantina was originally located where Papas & Beer is now. After operating the bar for nearly a year, the next door neighbors complained constantly about the noise, so John - who had changed his name again, this time to Juan - purchased and remodeled the building across the street, which was formerly a Southern Lane stage coach stop. Hussong's became the oldest and best known cantina in all of Mexico, and is reputedly the place where the Margarita was created in 1941 by bartender Don Carlos Orozco. He concocted a mixture of equal parts tequila, Damiana (Cointreau is used now) and lime, served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass for Margarita Henkel, daughter of the German Ambassador to Mexico. A competing story suggested the drink was named after Rita Hayworth (whose given name was Margarita Carmen Cansino) when she visited the cantina, as many big Hollywood stars have done over the years (such as Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, James Gardner, Ronald Reagan, Steve McQueen, John Wayne, and Humphrey Bogart), but this alternate story is unlikely to be true.

When Juan Hussong passed away, the cantina went to his five children, of whom the oldest son, Richard, bought out the others. When Richard died in 1961, the cantina passed to his wife, two daughters, and son Ricardo. Ricardo assumed full control in 1981. Looking to expand the brand, Ricardo licensed a second Hussongs Cantina at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2009.

Hussong's Dark was brewed for Hussong's by Anheuser-Busch in Lake Elsinore, California according to the special Hussong recipe, but it has been retired for several years. It was likely on tap in the Las Vegas cantina. Weighted average on is 2.5 out of 5.

Hussong's Official English Website

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