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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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Friday, May 9, 2014

Tap Handle #398: Wild Onion - Paddy Pale Ale

Tap size:  11.75"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" hanger bolt

The Wild Onion tap features quite a character as the star of its tap. Part cartoon, part creepy-looking vegetable, it's a funny mascot that has been an advertising icon of the brewery for years. These taps are hard to find in good shape because there are many fragile edges prone to chipping, especially the green stalks at the top - often the tips of these will be broken off. The tap does appear every now and then, but having one in good shape is truly a rarity.

Click through to read more about Wild Onion brewing, their Paddy Pale Ale, and to see more photos of this whimsical tap...

The Wild Onion Brewing Company was founded in Lake Barrington, Illinois in 1995 by the Kainz family.
The original brewery was pieced together with used dairy tanks in a small warehouse. Their name is a tribute to the original inhabitants of this region, the Potowatami tribe. The wild onion plant, with its distinct aroma and purple flower, grew in the wetlands and waterways of northern Illinois. While paddling their canoes throughout the area, the Potowatami referred to the region as “Che-cau-gua”, translated directly as land of the stinking onion. The great city of Chicago also takes its name from the pronunciation of that same word.

As Wild Onion grew their keg and bottle sales throughout the Chicago area, they began to think about building a taproom and pub. That dream became reality when Joe Kainz, the patriarch, won approximately $90 million in the lottery. In 2003 the completed building a new brewery that was 2 blocks from the old location. The complex also included the Onion Pub (with a main restaurant and bar), a world-class banquet facility (with a capacity of 250 people), and a large patio and outdoor hop garden overlooking an 11 acre lake and waterfall. Beer is brewed in a 6,000 square-foot brewery, cellar, and packaging complex, directly below the bar. The building site was formally a sand and gravel quarry and was filled back in with concrete remnants of many buildings throughout the area, including the original Arlington Park racetrack. When purchased in 2000, the lake had been scarred by a former tenant’s short-lived attempt to turn the lake into a scuba diving site. Over the past 8 years, Wild Onion has restored the lake and its banks to native prairie. Legend has it that a 100 pound catfish named “Louie” lives at the bottom of the lake, claiming the fuselage of a commercial airliner as his home.

The timbers used in the timberframe are Douglas fir deadfall-trees growing in the Pacific Northwest that had been knocked down years before in that region’s ferocious winter storms. The exterior walls of the pub are built with a product called Solarcrete that gives them an amazing insulative ability. The main restaurant and bar are heated and cooled with geothermal technology utilizing the lake as a cooling source in the summer months and a heat source in the winter. They recycle all of their waste vegetable oil from the kitchen and convert it to biodiesel fuel for use in the tractor used for landscaping the site in the summer. All the spent grain from the brewery is composted and used as mulch in their organic garden, providing locally grown produce for the restaurant during the growing season.

Head brewer Mike Kainz, Joe’s son, originally brewed 3 core beers: Paddy’s Pale Ale, Jack Stout, and Pumpkin Ale. In 2012 they expanded production with the addition of four new 40 barrel fermenters and storage tanks, custom built for their unique basement location. These additions tripled their capacity to 6,000 barrels per year. They currently brew 7 core brews and 7 other special/seasonal varieties.

Paddy Pale Ale is Wild Onion's flagship brand, celebrating hop bitterness and aroma. Dry-hopping with three different varieties in the fermenter gives Paddy its signature hop-forward bite and rich "nose". Breathe deep the wonderful aromas before taking a sip of this most satisfying session ale.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.11 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  70 out of 100

Wild Onion Brewing
22221 N. Pepper Road
Lake Barrington, Illinois

Source Material
Wild Onion website

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