AMAZING TAP HANDLES!!!

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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 25, 2015

Tap Handle #464: Matilda Bay (CUB/Foster's/SABMiller) - Redback Original

Tap size:  13.75
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Several years ago I thought I had one of these, but let it slip through my grasp. I finally got my hands on one last year, and though I had to pay quite a bit more, it's worth it. This one's a beauty, from the faux knife handle to the blade that has been highlighted with a bronze color. The tip of the blade is not visible, as the knife has been stuck into a chunk of "wood". The base, made to look like wood, is three-sided. with the label appearing on each side. I have no idea when these were produced but it had to have been during the Foster's ownership era. Since this one is only the third one I've ever seen and it's a foreign tap, it is quite scarce.

Click through to read more about Matilda Bay Brewing, their Redback Original Lager, and to see more photos of this sharp-looking tap...


Matilda Bay Brewing Company was founded in 1985 in Nedlands, Western Australia by Phil Sexton, Garry Gosatti, John Tollis and Ron Groves. Sexton wanted to be a winemaker and had taken a summer job at the Swan Brewery after completing a degree in biochemstry. However, he soon became engrossed in how to keep the flavor in light beer, and gave up wine-making to become a brewer, ultimately becoming one of the four who developed  the popular Swan Special Light. He then took a two-year break from brewing and did a master’s degree in biochemistry in Britain, specializing in the fermentation of beer. Upon returning home he set about finding backers who were interested in brewing. Sexton and his friends ran into businessman Briggs, who had long held the dream of opening a brewery to rival Swan. Together they formed Brewtech Pty Ltd to brew commercial boutique beers. Due to lack of support from local brewpubs who didn't want to cross Swan, the company purchased the Freemasons Hotel in Fremantle, renovated it, installed a micro brewery, and named it the Sail and Anchor, under the banner of Anchor Brewing Company. The first beer, Anchor Ale, was produced in late 1984. Because of Anchor’s immediate popularity, a second location, the Brewery Alehouse, was opened in the second half of the year to accommodate the overflow.


The Company established a second micro brewery in Nedlands, which they named the Matilda Bay Brewing Company and began producing beer in 1985. The two new breweries were the first to open in Australia since World War II and were Australia's first microbreweries. In 1986 the company launched its first wheat beer, Redback, which went onto be one of their best commercial successes. In 1987 Brewtech Pty Ltd changed their name to Brewtech Limited, after which they consolidated business under Matilda Bay Brewing. The Company purchased another three outlets in Perth, including the Queens Hotel in Beaufort Street and the Brass Monkey in Northbridge.


In 1988 Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) purchased a 20% shareholding in the Matlida Bay Brewing Company, which led to the company in 1989 purchasing a larger site to brew their beers, the former Ford Motor Company building in North Fremantle. In 1990, Matilda Bay inked a deal to export Redback into the United States, but they were then purchased by CUB (now owned by Foster's) in a deal that valued Matilda Bay at more than AU$50 million. CUB then sold the Sail and Anchor Hotel to the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH), a subsidiary of Woolworths Limited, who subsequently closed the micro-brewery operations at the hotel. CUB discarded Matilda Bay's export agreement, and Redback was never sold in the U.S. By 1997, Sexton had left the company. After a short stint at Gambrinus in the U.S., where he helped Bridgeport develop their IPA, he returned to Australia, and with some of the former founders of Matilda Bay, he started Little Creatures Brewery, not far from the Sail and Anchor, to brew IPAs like the Bridgeport version he had helped develop. 


In 2005, the Matilda Bay Garage Brewery began operating in South Dandenong, Victoria in an effort to brew small batches of more experimental beers, such as Alpha Pale Ale, Dogbolter, Crema, Barking Duck and Rooftop Red Lager. In 2007 CUB closed the Nedlands brewery and moved production to its other breweries to improve cost and capital efficiency. Most of the larger volume production beers, such as Redback, Beez Neez, Fat Yak and Bohemian Pilsner, moved to the Cascade Brewery in Hobart. In 2011, SABMiller purchased Foster's (and CUB); as a result, Maltida Bay was no longer an Australia-owned company. In 2012, the Matilda Bay Brewery Bar was opened in a former Cadbury factory building in Port Melbourne, and the Garage Brewery's operations were relocated from South Dandenong, where the company's lease was expiring. However, in 2014 parent company SABMiller announced it was closing the bar, and moved the Garage Brewery and operations to Hobart.


Redback is a traditional German Hefeweizen style of beer, with a fruity/clove aroma, a generous creamy mouth feel and refreshing hop finish. Both malted wheat and barley are used, and then hopped with Pride of Ringwood hops. Fermentation is produced with a specially developed yeast strain. It has won the AIBA Champion Wheat Beer award 4 times. Recommended food pairings are barbecued prawns.


Ratebeer weighted average: 2.86 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  78 out of 100


Matilda Bay Brewing Company
89 Bertie Street
Port Melbourne, VIC, Australia 3207




Source Material
Matilda Bay website





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