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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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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tap Handle #411: Charles Wells - Banana Bread Beer

Tap Size:  8.25"
Rarity: Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This is a very simple tap, although unlike most taps it is made of metal. There is another Wells Banana Bread tap that is made of resin, but it is far more rare. An usual feature is the use of a hex head set screw near the very bottom, which is used to put tension against the mounting bolt (a close up photo of the set screw appears later in the post). The tap is not too rare and can be had for a good price.

Click through to read more about Charles Wells Brewing, their Banana Bread Beer, and to see more photos of this tap...

Charles Wells Ltd. was founded in Horne Lane, Bedford, England in 1876. Charles Wells was a young sailor who left his seafaring career to marry his sweetheart, establishing a brewery to provide beer for the local population of Bedfordshire. In 1875, a two and a quarter acre site came to auction on the banks of the River Ouse as it ran through Bedford. This site contained both a coal depot and a brew house. Included in the price were 35 pubs, mainly in Bedford and the surrounding area. Wells thought that beer would always be in demand, and with the help of his father he purchased the site and worked to turn the small brew house into a fully fledged brewery which could serve the county.

In 1902, Wells climbed a local hill a couple of miles from the brewery and sank his own well to tap into an underground reservoir of water, purified through layers of chalk and limestone. All Charles Wells beer, and with the recent joint venture with Youngs all Youngs beers, are made with water drawn from this well. By 1976, exactly 100 years since the company was established, the brewing operation moved from the Horne Lane site to a new site, the Eagle Brewery. The move was due to an increased demand for the company's beers, spurred on by a deal with Red Stripe brewery Desnoes & Geddes. This offered the company the chance to install the most up-to-date brewing equipment, and a state of the art bottling line.

Charles Wells established an award winning portfolio of brands, including Wells Bombardier English Premium Beer, Wells Eagle IPA, and Kirin Ichiban, the renowned Japanese lager. In 2006 the company announced that it was to form a new joint venture with the Young & Co's brewery, who moved their brewing production from the Ram Brewery in Wandsworth. The firm was called Wells & Young's Brewing Co Ltd, with Charles Wells having a 60% stake and Young & Co 40%. In 2011, Charles Wells purchased Young's 40% share, moving the company into the sole ownership of Charles Wells. Further acquisitions in 2011 saw the company buy the McEwan's beers, Younger's beers, and Courage beers, extending its portfolio more widely across the UK.

The company is still in the family's hands, with the fifth generation coming into the business. There are currently three members of the family who work within the company, serving across Charles Wells Pub Company, Wells & Young's, and John Bull Pub Company. Charles Wells Pub Company has an estate of more than 200 pubs predominantly based across the Eastern and Northern Home Counties regions, while Wells & Young's beers are distributed through both the Charles Wells and Young's pub estates.

In 2013, Charles Wells and Dogfish Head collaborated on two beers, DNA New World IPA and DNA UK., a marriage of East Coast USA and East Anglican UK brewing styles. Charles Wells took a special reduction from 60 Minute IPA and integrated it into our their brewing process, while Dogfish Head brewed a cask IPA using a yeast strain from Charles Wells.

Wells Banana Bread is an English strong ale with a dark golden color that hugs the palate with great intensity. Its malty aroma is complemented by the gentle nose of banana. Its flavor unfolds with a sensual sparkle and a smart crispness, which balances its aroma perfectly. Tropically fruity; its ripe banana flavor, emphasized by a hint of bitterness, comes from the addition of real fair trade bananas and finishes with an emphatic, steely dryness.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.98 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  79 out of 100 (okay)

Source Material
Charles Wells website

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