About This Site

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.

Copyright Legalities

Photos or tap descriptions used in this blog may not be misrepresented as your own. Photos may not be used for financial gain whatsoever, as the uniqueness of the photo would unfairly associate a seller's product and reputation with this site. Tap descriptions may be used word for word as long as this blog is cited as the source, and a link is provided to this site.

Brewery history may not be used for any reason without citing the blog post or original source from which it was taken, and providing a link to such.

Failure to follow the guidelines above is a violation of Copyright Law, which protects original works of ownership.

Tap Handle Blog Simple Search

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tap Handle #477: Nevada City Brewing - California Gold Lager

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This tap, though made of resin, has been made to look like carved wood, and does an incredibly good job of achieving that look, right down to the "chisel marks" visible on the shaft on the back side of the tap. It features a prospector holding a tin pan in one hand and a nugget of gold in the other, an appropriate tap for a beer called California Gold, although the name of the beer does not appear on the tap itself. There are lots of great little details, from the prospector's suspenders to the wheat stalks and hops carved on the shaft on the front side. For some reason my camera gave the tap a yellow color that I was unable to correct in Photoshop; the true color is less yellow and more tan, kind of a golden oak. Not long after Nevada City Brewing closed in 2006, these could be found occasionally on the secondary market, but over the last 4-5 years I have not seen another, making it now quite scarce.

Click through to read what little information I could find on Nevada City Brewing, their California Gold Lager, and to see more photos of this rich and rewarding tap...

Nevada City Brewing was originally founded as G & S Brewing in Nevada City, California in 1986 by Logan Eugene (Gene) Downing, along with his brother Stephen and investor Gary Rausch. The G & S name came from Gary & Steven's initials. Gene Downing was an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel that had served in Vietnam, and settled in Nevada City after his retirement. The year before, Stephen had founded Truckee Brewing, which was the third microbrewery to open in California. Following in his brother's footsteps, Gene decided to open a brewery, and obtained two 400 gal primary fermenters and six lagering tanks of similar volume, with a production of about 600 gallons a week. When they had the funds to go public that same year, the name was changed to Nevada City Brewing. Gene assumed the title of President, Stephen was Secretary and Rausch was Vice President. About 60% of production went out in barrels to several local pubs, with the remainder bottled in magnum champagne bottles. Gene ran the brewery with the help of his "Brew Rats," a group of beer enthusiasts who were paid minimum wage (and allegedly all the beer they could drink).

Nevada City focused on lagers exclusively, brewing a light lager called California Gold, and a brown lager referred to as Coal or Dark. Both styles were hopped with Cascade hops. Occasionally Gene would brew batches of Bock as well. For 10 years the brewery continued to operate, but was plagued by claims of off-tasting/infected beer in their bottles, in large part due to improper shipping and storage of unfiltered beer, and also to improper cleaning methods; for both of these factors, no standards existed in the early days of microbrewing and it was learn-as-you-go.

In 1996, after sales had rapidly declined, the company was sold to Hans Shillinger, a civil engineer in Nevada City. Shillinger worked hard to improve the quality of the beer, and reviews claimed he had succeeded. Despite Anheuser-Busch issuing a directive to their California distributors to avoid microbreweries, he was able to secure local distribution due to the small size of the market. However, he was unsuccessful in attempts to secure distribution outside of Nevada City, and was forced to load up his own trucks and drive to Auburn, Truckee, Sacramento and Roseville in an attempt to sell beer. Unable to sustain the unfavorable distribution predicament, the new Nevada City Brewing closed in 1997 after only a year in operation.

California Gold Lager was an unfiltered, malty-fruity pale lager, and was the flagship beer of the brewery.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.94 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  no score

Since Nevada City Brewing is no longer in business, no address or website is provided.

Source Material
The Simon & Schuster Pocket Guide to Beer by Michael Jackson

No comments:

Post a Comment