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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, August 31, 2014

Tap Handle #423: Weston - Drop Kick Ale

Tap size:  10.75"
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This is the first of 3 Weston Brewery taps I'll be profiling, and it's my favorite Weston tap. When I first saw photos of it, I desperately wanted one for the collection. You can't help but grin when you see the hilarious elements and creative design that went into this tap...the broken teeth, the shiner, and the soccer player proudly displaying his battle wounds are top notch. There's a little bit of a mystery regarding the markings on the tap (which you can see in some of the photos I've taken). On one side of the tap is an "S" inside of a "C", followed by a copyright symbol and an "09". There is also a "C" on the sleeve of the shirt on that same side. On the other side of the tap there appears to be the name "Monte" written in cursive. And on the front of the player's uniform is a patch with the letters "DK"...okay, that one's pretty obvious that it stands for Drop Kick. As for the other markings? They will have to remain a mystery unless I can find out more from the brewery. 

This tap (which is so rare I've only seen a few others), and the corresponding label and case art, were designed by David Allen Terrill. Terrill studied illustration at Miami University of Ohio, and impressionist painting in Giverny, France. His illustrations and paintings can evoke - sometimes simultaneously - the 19th century British Victorian era of painting and posters, the illustrations of English poet and artist William Blake, 1920s print advertisements, and 1960s psychedelic concert posters and handbills. He also serves as a full-time Assistant Professor of Illustration at the Kansas City Art Institute, is a working Illustrator/Designer, and is an active Creative Director. You can find his old blog, which talks about designing the Drop Kick Ale tap here, and his website, galleries and new blog at

Click through to read more about the historic Weston Brewery, their Drop Kick Ale, and to see more photos of this outstanding tap...

The Weston Brewing Company was founded in 1842 by German immigrant John Georgian. Georgian brought the tradition of lager brewing with him when he settled in Weston. The brewery was designed to utilize ice from the river during winter, and cellars dug deep into the ground created ideal conditions for his beer, which needed to be stored below 60 degrees for more than six weeks. In creating the brewery, the Weston Brewing Company became one of the first lager breweries in the United States.

Upon Georgian’s death in 1857, the brewery was acquired by August Kunz. The Kunz family, Joseph and Charles, were already active in the brewery business when they acquired Weston. Kunz rebuilt the brewery after it was destroyed by fire in 1860 and continued to operate it until 1872 when he closed it due to financial problems. The brewery remained in an inactive status until 1885 when John Brandon, an English immigrant and engineer by trade, teamed with George Mack to reopen the brewery. John Walruff and his son August acquired the brewery from Brandon and Mack in 1887. Walruff, a native of Cologne, Prussia and machinist by trade, relocated his brewery from Kansas when the Kansas Legislature passed a prohibition law in 1880. Walruff had spent six years and many thousands of dollars trying to circumvent the law by claiming his products were ‘medical beer’ that cured stomach and other intestinal ailments, but a Supreme Court decision in 1887 against a fellow Kansas brewer forced Walruff to give up his fight and move to Weston.

Walruff and son August spent $50,000 to refurbish the brewery. August even took courses in Cincinnati to become a master brewer. The elder Walruff spent only one and a half years in Weston, moving to Kansas City in 1890. By 1894 it was rumored that he had piled up over $40,000 in debt. August stayed in Weston and was elected Mayor; a position he held for a good many years. The brewery made 12,000 barrels of pale lager annually and had 20 employees. In 1901, the brewery was newly incorporated as the Royal Brewing Co., of Kansas City.

Promoted as the "oldest brewery West of the Hudson River", the brewery sponsored the first Kansas City Royals baseball team in the early 1900’s. The Weston Royal label was well known throughout the Midwest and even Europe in its heyday. In the early 1900’s, the brewery was the largest manufacturing plant in Platte County and was producing 20,000 barrels a year. Five stone cellars that were dug in the 1840s were used to lager and chill the beer in solid oaken tanks. Popular brands produced by the brewery were a Royal Pilsener advertised as "the beer that made Milwaukee jealous;" Rip Van Winkle, "the world’s richest bottle of beer;" and Vivatone, "a family beverage for all ailments." The company tried to survive Prohibition by producing a ‘near beer’, but was unsuccessful and closed in 1919.

In 1997, a new Weston Brewing Company was formed, operating a 24 barrel traditional brewing operation located next to the original stone walls on the site of the Royal Brewery. Although short lived when it closed in 1999, the brewery was known for producing the excellent Weston Pale Lager and Irish Ale beers in the original 19th century styles.

Weston Brewing Company was reopened in 2005 by long-time friends and avid brewers, Michael Coakley and Corey Weinfurt. The current Weston Brewing Company boasts a modern 24-barrel brewing system capable of producing 20,000 kegs of beer annually, and has brewed 13 different beers, including 4 creations under Weston Brew Labs, an experimental line of beers. Also located on the site is the American Bowman Restaurant, and O'Malley's 1842 Pub. The pub is located in the cellars of the original brewery. Weston brews several varieties for O'Malleys, and also performs contract brewing for Cathedral Square Brewing and Flying Monkey Brewing.

Drop Kick Ale is an amber ale styled after the British ambers popular among the soccer fans across the pond. It was developed for the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC) soccer team, and since its inception, half of the proceeds from its sales go to support that team. It is mostly true to the style it is modeled after, but hopped slightly different. It is refreshing, carmely and earthy. Drop Kick Ale also has the distinction of being a gold medal winner at the 2010 Lallemand "Brain of Brewers" competition in Denver, Colorado.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.62 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  72 out of 100 (okay)

Weston Brewing Company
500 Welt Street
Weston, Missouri 64098

Source Material
Weston Brewing website

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