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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, January 4, 2015

Tap Handle #458: Mammoth Brewing - Golden Trout Pilsner

Tap size:  10"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Mammoth Golden Trout is a beautiful tap featuring bas relief styling. At the top is a mountain scene with the words "Mammoth Brewing Company" in front of the mountains. Towards the bottom is a red ribbon with "Pilsner" written on it. The main feature, however, is a large trout leaping out of water with "Golden Trout" written above it. This tap dates to an early period in the brewery's history...Mammoth has long since switched to simpler style of tap, and as a result, this tap is long out of production, making it scarce. Like a lot of taps I've profiled lately, I've never seen another one of these.

Click through to read more about Mammoth Brewing, their Golden Trout Pilsner, and to see more photos of the tap...

Mammoth Brewing Company was founded in Mammoth Lakes, California in 1995 by Sam Walker. Walker was a businessman and was the owner of the Whiskey Creek restaurants in Mammoth Lakes and Bishop, the latter of which was rebuilt from the former Kitty Lee Inn. Walker decided to open the Mammoth Brewery and serve the beer in his restaurants. After checking out beer festivals all over the country, he decided he wanted to host his own festival. The first one was called “Festival of Beers” and was held in the Whiskey Creek parking lot in 1996. The Mammoth Brewery is the highest elevation brewery on the West Coast of the United States at over 8,000 feet above sea level.

In 1999, Walker sold the Whiskey Creek restaurants to Greg Alexander, although he still held a note on them, and in 2007 he sold the brewery to Sean and Joyce Turner. Since that time, the brewery has tripled in size, including leasing out space in the Whiskey Creek Mammoth location from the landowner, iStar Financial. In 2013 the Turners invested $125,000 in new equipment, adding two 60-barrel fermenters as well as one 60-barrel brute beer tank, boosting capacity from 5,300 to 8,000 barrels a year.

The brewery was embroiled in a minor controversy when iStar terminated Alexander's lease, forcing the restaurant to close, and then leased out the building to Mammoth. At the time Mammoth was being sued by their landowner, as their own lease had been terminated by the end of 2013 but they had not vacated the property. Alexander felt that because of Mammoth's situation, they were responsible for the termination of his lease, but Mammoth claimed that iStar had approached them and not the other way around. The offer from iStar was a boon that allowed Mammoth to move their brewing operations, corporate offices and tasting room into the Whiskey Creek building and settle their dispute over their previous location. Alexander lost both restaurants since they were tied together, and while Alexander stated that the Bishop location was profitable while the Mammoth one was not, many people had complained about bad food and bad service prior to closing.

The brewery faced another problem in the new location, however, as they were unable to expand production due to the property being zoned as mixed use commercial, meaning there was a limit on how big they could grow. With the problem of selling more beer than they could make, and the limitations of the Whiskey Creek building, Mammoth started looking at expanding into Bishop, locating a piece of property where they hope to open a production brewery in 2015 that will also do bottling and canning, and allow them to distribute throughout the west. They currently distribute in the Eastern Sierra, Yosemite National Park, Reno, Tahoe and Truckee, along with recently expanded distribution into Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, and the Lancaster/Palmdale areas.

Mammoth has number of year-round and seasonal beers, a fresh Golden Trout Pilsner, a weighty Double Nut Brown, an ale it calls Paranoids Pale (for the Paranoid Flats ski run at Mammoth), and an amber called Real McCoy. But the brewery's best known beer is the 395 IPA, named for the long, spectacular highway that runs east of the Sierra to provide an unmitigated view of the stark mountain skyline west. In the 2014 World Beer Cup in San Diego, they won a gold medal for Double Nut Brown and a bronze for Real McCoy.

Golden Trout is Pilsner that is crisp and refreshing as a high Sierra stream. It combines a light malty body with a floral hop finish. Utilizing Pilsner malt, Vienna malt, and Sterling hops make this a beer of exceptional flavor. It is named after the state fish of California, and goes well with both the fish it is named after and many a fishing tale.

Ratebeer weighted average: 2.92 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  76 out of 100 (okay)

Mammoth Brewing Company
94 Berner Street, Suite B
Mammoth Lakes, California 93546

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