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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, October 5, 2013

Tap Handle #323: Cold Spring Brewery - Third Street Brewhouse Bitter Neighbor Black IPA

This is a great-looking tap...the detail is great, the sculpting is humorous, and the matte paint job is excellent.

Cold Spring Brewery was founded in 1874 in Cold Spring, Minnesota. It was named after the spring from which it and the town derived their names. It
survived Prohibition by marketing alcohol-free malt tonic beverages, and by the mid-20th century, its beer and mineral water were national staples. By the mid-1990s, after a group called Beverage International bought out the company’s longtime family owners and made an unsuccessful push to go public, the company was on the brink of extinction. It made last-ditch efforts with gimmicks like Elvira’s Night Brew, branded with TV horror-show hostess Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (pictured to the right).

Funds ran dry and all employees were laid off. But a handful of employees rounded up an investor group to keep the company afloat, in part by emphasizing the iconic Gluek’s beer brand. In 2000, John Lenore, owner of a California distributorship, acquired the business and shifted focus to nonalcoholic beverages. Lenore invested millions in cutting-edge equipment for the company’s 170,000-square-foot production facility. In 2006, the company acquired Monarch Custom Beverages.

Meanwhile, Cold Spring was contract brewing for 21st Amendment, Big Wood Brewery, and Tallgrass Brewing among others. But as the craft beer industry took off, Cold Spring began struggling to attract high-caliber customers because of its antiquated brewing equipment, which had been virtually untouched. The reputation of Cold Spring’s own low-price beers Gluek and Northern only exacerbated the problem. To overcome their bad reputation among consumers and their peers, a plan was developed for a new $14 million brewhouse.

The plan called for demolishing an administrative building near its production facility to make room for the brewhouse. Neighbors opposed the expansion due to fears about odors from a wastewater treatment facility on Cold Spring’s property getting worse. With the help of the city, the brewer convinced doubters that the project would not compound the issue. To try to turn around their reputation, the company branded its new operation the Third Street Brewhouse, and halted production of Gluek. Construction began on the new brewhouse in 2010, new brewers were hired, and 3 beers were debuted in 2012. Cold Spring also renewed some of their contract brewing business, while discontinuing their final value brand Northern. Profit margins have grown by 10% per year since the new brewhouse opened.

Bitter Neighbor is a black IPA with a rich darkness that is not excessive as is sometimes seen in other craft iterations. A medium high hop flavor and aroma befits this style. The caramel and roasted malt flavors and aromas are enhanced with a well-controlled fruitiness. Recommended food pairings are spicy foods, curries, smoked meats, blue cheese, and spiced or sweet desserts. Weighted average on is 3.35 out of 5.

Third Street Brewhouse Official Website

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