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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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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tap Handle #460: Oaken Barrel - Razz-Wheat

Tap size:  8.5"
Rarity:  scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Even though this tap is a bit simple, I wanted it for the scarcity and because it features a barrel. The raspberries in the front are quite colorful, and the letters "OB" are sculpted into the side of the barrel. Below the raspberries is a sign indicating the variety. This is the one of the two Oaken Barrel taps I own, and it is quite rare - I've never seen another.

Click through to read more about Oaken Barrel Brewing, their award-winning Razz-Wheat beer, and to see more photos of the tap...

Oaken Barrel Brewing was founded in Greenwood, Indiana in 1994 by Bill Fulton, Brook Belli, and Kwang Casey. In 1993, Fulton and Belli were working as engineers in Atlanta when they began talking about opening a brewery-restaurant. At that time, the early 1990s, brewpubs weren’t legal in Georgia. Neither man had restaurant experience, but Fulton turned to his long time friend Casey, who had majored in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University but had been in the restaurant business since he was 16 years old.. At the time, he was managing the fine dining restaurant Broad Ripple Steakhouse. They discussed the possibility of opening a brewpub on the south side of Indianapolis, since the city did not have a microbrewery at the time. They pulled all of their money together and decided to open a pub-style craft brewery. However, Casey wanted to avoid the traditional English-style pub, opting for a more modern design. Wanting to keep it Indiana-themed, Casey and his partners decided on the name Oaken Barrel, a play on the Oaken Bucket, the rivalry football game between Purdue University and Indiana University. Casey was director of restaurant operations for the brewery, while Fulton was director of business operations and Belli was director of brewery operations. It took six months to construct the brewery, which was located in an old day-care center.

In its first full calender year in 1995, Oaken Barrel did just over $1 million in business. with Razz-Wheat being their most popular beer. They opened a beer garden, then in 1996 they bought a small bottling line from Kalamazoo Brewing Co. In 1997 they added the Brewhouse Bar to their original bar area. In 1998, after maxing out brewing capacity and storage space, the brewery went from a seven-barrel pub system to a 50-barrel microbrewery when they purchased the Indianapolis Brewing Company. The deal also included IBC’s bottling line. The new purchase added 9,000 square feet of space to the 650-square-foot pub brewery and expanded capacity from 2,000 to 10,000 barrels. Eventually, however, the new facility became too much to manage, so they sold the equipment in the new facility and purchased new equipment and expansion space for the brewpub.

Fulton left the brewery in 2001 to become marketing manager for the Indianapolis Indians baseball team. Belli left the business in 2004 due to health reasons, leaving Casey as the sole owner. In 2012, 
the brewery expanded by adding 2,000 square feet, hiring more workers and more than doubling capacity. In addition to the six house beers, including Razz-Wheat, Snake Pit Porter, Meridian Street Premium Lager, and Superfly, the craft beer brewery makes a number of seasonal beers, including King Rudi, which is a German hefeweizen, Oaktoberfest, Oaken Barrel’s interpretation of Oktoberfest, and Apple Buzz, an apple cider beer. The brewery has won multiple medals at the Great American Beer Festival. The restaurant includes a family section, two bars, the outside dining area, and a small banquet facility. Favorites include Mesquite-Smoked Ribs, Shepherd's Pie, and Cajun Jambalaya Pasta.

Brewed with fresh Oregon Raspberries, Razz-Wheat has a slightly sweet flavor and clean refreshing finish to quench even the biggest thirst. Unlike syrupy impostors, Razz balances the crisp, citrus-like tones of wheat malt and the tartness of the berries-without overpowering the natural flavor of the beer. It won a silver medal at the 1995 Great American Beer Festival, Recommended food pairings are cheesecake and other sugary desserts.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.74 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  75 out of 100 (okay)

Oaken Barrel Brewing Company
50 North Airport Parkway Suite L
Greenwood, Indiana 46143

Source Material
Hoosier Beer: Tapping Into Indiana Brewing History by Bob Ostrander and Derrick Morris

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