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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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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.

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tap Handle #491: Nickel Brook - Naughty Neighbour American Pale Ale

Tap size:  12.5"
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  oversized 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Nickel Brook's Naughty Neighbor tap is one of the most impressive taps in the collection. The figure bears a likeness to the model on the bottle's label (see image to right). It is heavy and solid, and made of ceramic - a rarity for figural taps - and was fired at least 4 times during the painting process. Each of those firings require skill, energy (to run the kiln) and labor. Also, around the base of the girl the manufacturer appears to have used real silver or platinum. Put all that together and you have a tap that was very expensive to produce and difficult for sales reps to manage. There were two production runs of this tap; the earlier run did not include the atom symbol on the shaft. Due to the expense, Nickel Brook discontinued the tap after the two initial runs, moving to a more generic tap. As a result, this tap is now very rare and has commanded a high price on the secondary market, where I've seen about a half dozen in total. Thanks to friend of the museum Denis for the information regarding its production status. 

Click through to read more about Nickel Brook Brewery, their Naughty Neighbour American Pale Ale, and to see more photos of this exquisite tap...

Nickel Brook Brewery was founded in Burlington, Ontario, Canada in 2005 by John and Peter Romano. In 1990, John was in the aerospace industry but was burned out and stressed out. He decided he wanted to become an entrepreneur and started building Better Bitters Brew-On-Premise. Meanwhile, Peter had found his love of beer while attending University of McMaster in Hamilton. After graduation Peter opened his own business in Orangeville, and one day he was so impressed by a co-worker's homebrew that he decided to enter the home-brew industry, joining John at Better Bitters. After several years, they couldn’t keep up with demand, so they opened up a small brewery to supply Better Bitters with wort. They called the brewery Nickel Brook, named after John's children Nicholas and Brooke.

When the price of beer dropped due to heavy discounting by local brewery Lakeport Brewing (featuring their "buck a beer" gimmick), Nickel Brook lost three quarters of its business. They needed to do something to keep up with the market, so they introduced some unique products, such as Green Apple Pilsner and Gluten Free. The brewery quickly developed a reputation for having a lively and enticing line up of beers, and won several awards, not only in Ontario but also the US. As Lakeport faltered, flirting with bankruptcy before being bought by Labatt, Nickel Brook grew to become the 6th largest brewery in the Ontario area. In 2013, John was a keynote speaker at the Halton Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Week. He met Kim Sedore, the real estate manager at the Hamilton Port Authority. Among the properties she managed was the now-vacated Labatt/Lakeport brewery. The building had a long beer connection - it had originally been constructed by Andrew Peller for his short-lived brewery back in the late 1940s. The Port Authority had been sitting on the vacant building for two years, as Labatt had continued to lease the empty building to prevent another brewery from moving in.

Eager to lease the builsding to another brewery, one that would further build on its growing connection to the agri-food industry, the Port Authority was talking seriously with Nickel Brook about the site. However, the reality was that Nickel Brook could not bear the cost of expansion on their own. When Labatt had pulled out, they stripped the building of equipment and even all the plumbing and electrical. John and Peter, with Matt Johnston and Bob Russell (co-owners of Collective Arts Brewing), announced that their two companies would be joining together in a new endeavour called Arts & Science Brewing, allowing both companies to brew at the Lakeport location. Arts & Science bid on and won brewing equipment in Sleeman’s Dartmouth plant auction, which had closed the month before. Hamilton has now become Nickel Brook's main production site, but they still maintain their brewery and retail operation in Burlington.

Naughty Neighbour is an American Pale Ale that pays homage to Canada's naughty neighbours to the south. For hop lovers, the huge aroma of citrus and pine greet the nose and the hops continue on the palate as hoppy flavour persists, leaving a remarkably easy drinking, crisp, dry finish. This brew is only 4.9% on purpose, resulting in a hugely sessionable beer that is perfectly refreshing on hot summer days! No additives. No preservatives. Naturally carbonated for a smooth, crisp finish.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.56 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  86 out of 100 (very good)

Nickel Brook Brewing Company
864 Drury Lane
Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7R 2Y4

Source Material
Nickel Brook website

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