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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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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tap Handle #469: Tampa Bay Brewing - Old Elephant Foot IPA

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

Old Elephant Foot is the first in what will be several tap profiles associated with Tampa Bay Brewing, and it is probably my favorite out of all their taps. The details are incredible - it looks like a real elephant foot (albeit smaller) - and the colors are perfect, as is the use of a matte finish which helps to make it look even more realistic. Above the elephant foot are bunches of hops, and above that are the whimsical beer logo and the standard Tampa Bay Brewing logo that you will find on all of their taps. I took fewer photos than usual because the front and back of the tap are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other. Fortunately the tap is not very rare, so it is fairly easy to obtain.

Click through to read more about Tampa Bay Brewing, their Old Elephant Foot IPA, and to see more photos of this solid tap...

Tampa Bay Brewing Company (TBBC) was founded in Tampa, Florida in 1995 by John G. Doble, III. As a youth, John Jr. had lived in Europe with his family for 12 years, becoming knowledgeable about fine beers. In college, he and his brother could not afford anything more than cheap, watered-down lagers. That led him to begin homebrewing his own beer, and he eventually opened the Brew Shack, a successful home brewing supply store. The success of the store led to a new venture as a microbrewery when John Jr. opened TBBC in a two-story brick building that used to stable horses, in the historic Ybor City district of Tampa. The business was a family affair, with John Jr.'s mother Vicki as the general manager, his father John Sr. handling administration, and his brother David becoming assistant brewer. Another brother, Mark, helped out part-time (Mark would later go on to found Aviator Brewing Company in North Carolina).

The building was a brewpub that seated 170 guests, with bars both up and downstairs and a balcony on the second floor. The mixed British pub classics like shepherds pie and bangers and mash with higher end menu fare such as ale-steamed gulf shrimp and spinach salad topped with duck breast. Brewing equipment consisted of one 20-barrel fermenter, three 10-barrel fermenters and 16 Grundy serving tanks that had come from the Bass Ale Brewery in England. As business grew, TBBC turned to Ybor City Brewing to help contract brew some of their beers. Though David left to become a commercial airline pilot in 1997, John Jr. continued to brew and was an inspiration to many in the industry, and mentored other aspiring brewers, like Tim Ogden, who would later become head brewer for Cigar City Brewing.

In 2003, tragedy struck when John Jr. died from a fire in his home at the age of just 37. As a result, the business struggled. David left his job as a pilot and returned to the company to take over as head brewer, but the brewpub continued to struggle. When their lease ended, John Sr, Vicki, and David, now the principle owners, decided to take a chance and move to a new location on the plaza level of Centro Ybor, a shopping center and cinema complex that featured both indoor and open-air patio seating. The decision to move was a good one, as the business rebounded and grew. By 2014 the brewery was ready for expansion, and announced that they were opening a second brewery restaurant, an expansion that is expected to generate 60 jobs and quadruple the company's brewing capacity. TBBC expects to invest $5 million in the new 17,400-square-foot complex, which will increase its packaged beer distribution across Florida. Scheduled to open in 2015, the new complex is located on 2.1 acres and will feature a 30-barrel brewing system, taphouse and restaurant. The brewery has also submitted a bid to become a major concessionaire at Tampa International Airport, with a plan to locate a brewpub in the airport's new expansion area.

TBBC currently has 8 year round brews, as well as several seasonals, cask conditioned ales, and their own root beer. In the brewpub they use many of the ales in their food recipes, as well as having an Iron Rat Stout float created with homemade vanilla ice cream. The brewery has won several awards in the Florida Beer Championships, was named the 8th best brewpub in America by TheStreet, and won a bronze medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival for their Reef Donkey APA.

Old Elephant Foot is a highly hopped, medium bodied India Pale Ale, bittered by generous portions of Northern Brewer and Centennial hops for 80 IBUs and finished with Cascade in the kettle and then dry-hopped with some more Cascade and Centennial. David’s brother Mark used to have a hollowed out old elephant foot that he used as a garbage can back in his college days. Although this IPA had been homebrewed by the Doble family for years, it never really had a name other than “IPA”! When John Jr. opened Brew Shack Homebrew Supply, one of the house recipes he introduced was a deliciously hoppy IPA but it still needed a name. After one of the family's many late night drinking sessions, the old elephant foot garbage can came up in conversation and the rest is history.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.39 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  83 out of 100 (good)

Tampa Bay Brewing Company
1600 East 8th Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33605

Source Material
Florida Breweries by Gerard Walen

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