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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, April 19, 2015

Tap Handle #485: Fort Christian - Hammerhead Pale Ale

Tap size:  10.5"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This beauty from Fort Christian Brew Pub is one of my "cream of the crop" taps. Besides the multitude of vibrant colors used to capture the color of a coral reef, the detail is outstanding. In addition to the hammerhead shark, if you look closely at the bottom of the tap on the backside, you will notice an eel snaking its way around the coral. There is also a crab hanging on to the Pale Ale sign. The brewery's name appears at the bottom. Since the brewery is not located in the U.S. but in the territory Virgin Islands instead, it is more like a foreign tap, and as a result is quite rare...the brewery confirmed that this tap has been out of production for many years. This is only the second one I've ever seen, so as you would expect, prices are extremely high - if you can find one.

Click through to read more about Fort Christian Brew Pub, their Hammerhead Pale Ale, and to see more photos of this beautiful tap...

The Fort Christian Brewery was founded in St. Croix, Virgin Islands in 2000 by Richard Mahurt and Gary Lee Brumback. Brumback was an engineer at the St. Croix Refinery who had come to St. Croix in 1995. In 1999 he was drinking beer at what was then known as the Chop House, a restaurant and brewpub founded by Frank Day, the former owner of Old Chicago and Rock Bottom brewery/restaurant chains. The Chop House in St. Croix was run by Tim Mason, an award-winning brewer from Oasis (and later Foxy's and High Sierra breweries). Day was looking to sell the brewpub, and Brumback, a frequent customer, decided to purchase it, renaming it Fort Christian. Mason stayed on to continue brewing. Just a few months later the government built a boardwalk in what was once the back of the bar and is now the front. Brunback considered the boardwalk a godsend, transforming the brewpub into a centrally located business.

The two-story brew pub, located on the harbor in historic Christiansted, is the only licensed microbrewery in the Virgin Islands, employing about 20 people and producing 500 gallons of beer per week. They offer 5 year-round beers as well as seasonal specialty brews. The second floor is the restaurant, with the bar located on the bottom floor, and live music is often featured on the boardwalk. On Monday nights the brew pub features crab races, a long-standing tradition for many locals. The pub inherited the crab races when the hotel next door to the brew pub, which had hosted the crab races for many years, went out of business in 2004.

The pub-style restaurant menu features house-made sauces and dressings, burgers, ribeye steaks, local fish, salads, and Cajun dishes such as jambalaya, shrimp étouffée, and blackened catfish. Although tourism is a large part of the business, the brewery would not survive without local support. Fort Christian distributes to other local restaurants and hopes to some day bottle their beers and export them to St. Thomas. Mason eventually left to pursue other opportunities, and was replaced by Bob Davis, who was also an award-winning brewmaster.

Hammerhead Pale Ale is a Northwestern American-style pale ale that is characterized by its distinctive taste, and bitterness and aroma of American Cascade Hops.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.8 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  no listing

Fort Christian Brew Pub
55 King’s Alley
Christiansted, Virgin Islands 00820

Source Material
Fort Christian website

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