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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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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tap Handle #343: Starr Hill - Double Platinum Imperial IPA

I've always admired Starr Hill taps, but I never pulled the trigger on obtaining one until I finally picked it up as part of a group. The big star on top looks like a badge and is very impressive.

Starr Hill Brewery was founded in 1999 in Charlottesville, Virginia by Mark Thompson and Kristin Dolan. Thompson was a biology student who apprenticed at breweries in Portland, Oregon, in the mid-1990's to learn the brewing craft. Thompson was tabbed by James Bernau, president and chairman of Nor'Wester, to help set up and run their affiliate Mile High Brewing in Denver, Colorado in 1995 (see this post). While at Mile High, Thompson developed the recipe for his Irish-style dry stout through collaboration with Thompson Mambe, an African brewmaster who had worked at Guinness's St. James Gate brewery in Dublin. Mile High closed in 1996, at which point Thompson decided to returned to his native Virginia, determined to open his own brewery with recipes he had developed.

He found a historic storefront on Main Street that was once home to the state of Virginia’s first craft brewing operation, which had been founded by two grandsons of author William Faulkner. In 1999, Thompson opened Starr Hill Brewery. Named after the local neighborhood, the brewery shared its historic building with the legendary Starr Hill Music Hall, where Thompson's craft beers became a favorite to visiting beer lovers, musicians, and music fans. He brewed beer for the pub on the premises, and he contracted out the kegged and bottled versions of his beers to Old Dominion Brewing in Ashburn.

In 2005, in response to the growing demand, Thompson moved from his small brewing operation to a larger brewing facility 10 miles away in Crozet, in foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The building he leases was a former Swanson/ConAgra frozen food plant that was tailor-made for brewing on a large scale, with a complex physical infrastructure in place and plenty of room for expansion and experimentation. It even has a tasting bar. With ambitious plans to become a national brand, Thompson sold a a minority stake in Starr Hill to Anheuser-Busch, who agreed to distribute Starr Hill brands, which are now found in restaurants and clubs throughout the Mid Atlantic and Southeast, and are also available at many grocery and convenience stores in the region. The brewery has won 19 awards for its beers at The Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup, in particular the Dark Starr Stout (that Thompson developed at Mile High), which is the most decorated stout in the American craft brewing scene.

Starr Hill currently brews 6 year round and 4 seasonal varieties, as well as several other specialty and reserve offerings. They added several tanks to bring their capacity to 55,000 barrels of beer, and completed expansion of their facility, including a fermenting cellar. Starr Hill also collaborates to brew a beer for the Hard Times Cafe, as well as partnering with several local artisans to develop a bevvy of beer-related creations such as a chocolate brittle that features Dark Starr Stout in the recipe, an Amber Ale Vinegar, and a line of soaps using spent grains and hop oils.

Double Platinum Imperial IPA is a double IPA dry-hopped with Simcoe and Centennial hops to achieve a strong aroma of citrus and pine, balanced by a smooth, malty backbone and sporting a copper color. Weighted average on is 3.54 out of 5.

Starr Hill Brewing Official Website

Source Material
Starr Hill Website
The Washington Post
Flavor Magazine
Washington Business Journal

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