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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, January 16, 2015

Tap Handle #461: Steam Whistle - Premium Pilsner

Tap size:  8.25"
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8"

The first thing you notice about the Steam Whistle tap when you are holding it in your hand is how heavy it is. The tap comes in three different sizes: small, large, and extra large. This is the small version, and it weighs two pounds! I'm not sure what it is made of - perhaps machined stainless steel - but it is very impressive despite its short stature. The label, which is a separate piece but attached to the base and also made of metal, has a bluish color that is a nice touch. There is no ferrule, but simply a long extension of the base with an internal thread. The front and back of the tap are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other. I have seen very few of these on the secondary market, and I imagine the shipping costs are expensive based on the weight.

Click through to read more about Steam Whistle Brewing, their world-class Premium Pilsner, and to see more photos of this hefty tap...

Steam Whistle Brewing Company was founded in Toronto, Canada in 1998 by Greg Taylor, Cam Heaps and Greg Cromwell. The three friends were former employees of Upper Canada Brewing Company before it was bought by Sleeman's and closed down. The self-named "Three Fired Guys" dreamed of running their own brewery one day and producing a world-class Pilsner. They wrote a plan and quickly attracted investors with their vision and passion. The original name for the beer was going to be "Three Fired Guys Brewing Company"; however, they chose Steam Whistle Brewing to evoke an image of steam rushing from a factory's whistle signaling the end of the work day. Embossed at the bottom of Steam Whistle bottles is "3FG" as an inside joke, referencing "Three Fired Guys".

When looking for a brewhouse, and frustratingly coming up short, two of the founders decided to just “go for a drive and find something”. What they found was a building known as the John Street Roundhouse. Built in 1929, it was previously the home of a Canadian Pacific Railway steam locomotive repair facility, and operated as such until 1988. It is designated as a National Historic Site, and is owned by the City of Toronto, and does in fact have a steam whistle on top, which the brewery uses to officially signal the end of the work day. When operations first got rolling they obtained most of their equipment from the defunct Brassau Brewing in Montreal.

The first batch of bottled Steam Whistle pilsner rolled off the line onto market in 2000. The company produces a premium pilsner lager packaged in distinctive green glass bottles and a non-twist cap. They only use four natural ingredients: spring water from Caledon, Ontario; hops from Czech Republic and Germany; two-row barley; and yeast. In 2004, Steam Whistle Pilsner was voted best beer in Toronto at the Golden Tap Awards. Steam Whistle has also been voted Best Toronto Microbrewery by the readers of NOW, Eye Weekly and XPress in Ottawa. Steam Whistle beer is sold in Ontario at The Beer Store and the LCBO. Steam Whistle is also available throughout Alberta and British Columbia at retailers, bars, and restaurants. Steam Whistle is currently in the process of packaging their beer in cans as a means of further penetrating the western Canadian market. The brewery has a fleet of vintage vehicles (the youngest of which is a ’68 pickup) that can be spotted making magical beer deliveries around the city. They are Grumpy, Lumpy, Chuckles, Grande Verde, Steam Machine, The Scout, Steam Weaver, Betty, and Retro Electro.

In 2008 they built new facilities to reduce waste water by two-thirds, and phosphate-free cleaning products help reduce contamination of the remaining third. They built a brewhouse in the Czech Republic and moved it to the brewery. All agricultural products are GMO-free, and spent grains are either used for livestock feed or composted. 100% of the power used in the Steam Whistle brewery is produced from wind turbines and low-impact hydro generators. Steam Whistle does its own recycling and encourages consumers to return bottles to the factory for reuse.  The signature green bottles contain 30% more glass than traditional brown bottles, allowing the company to wash, inspect and refill the bottles up to 45 times. The painted on logo helps eliminate paper and ink contamination during the washing process.

Steam Whistle Pilsner is characterized by a floral hop aroma, sweet graininess with distinctive grassy notes, and balanced by a clean, crisp finish and pleasant lingering bitterness. It is brewed following traditional European brewing standards, with long cold aging for 28 days, naturally carbonated, not heat pasteurized, cold sterile and micro filtered for lasting shelf life. Recommended food pairings are grilled meats, spicy international cuisine, fish, salad, aged white Vermont cheddar cheese, spiced nut cake, lemon shortbread, and fresh berries.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.78 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  79 out of 100 (okay)

Steam Whistle Brewing
The Roundhouse, 255 Bremner Blvd
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3M9

Source Material
Steam Whistle website

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