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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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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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tap Handle #493: Rivertown - Hop Bomber Pale Ale

Tap size:  12"
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/15" anchor bolt

Rivertown's Hop Bomber is probably my favorite tap of all that the brewery has produced. With a military gray-green color, the name of the beer recessed into the shaft in white letters, and the classic (and now obsolete) Rivertown label on top, it's a real beauty. The front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other. I pursued this tap for years before finally acquiring one. Very few of them have been found on the secondary market - I've seen maybe 4 others - and I expect them to remain very rare, since the brewery no longer produces this beer. It will look good next to some of the other bomb-themed taps that you will see profiled here in the Museum very soon.

Click through to read more about Rivertown Brewing, their Hop Bomber Pale Ale, and to see more photos of this explosive tap...




Rivertown Brewing was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2008 by Jason Roeper and Randy Schiltz. Roeper had been homebrewing for over a decade, winning the Sam Adams Longshot homebrew competition in 2007 and again in 2008. He wanted to open a brewery due to the lack of craft beer options in the area. Schiltz, who had been looking to open a brewery in Northern Kentucky, was a member of the Bloatarian Brewing League in Cincinnati and heard about Roeper through friends. Both men had been in the automotive manufacturing business and made the decision to leave the industry after job cutbacks forced their hand. They ran into startup difficulties due to a poor economy, zoning commissioners that weren't keen on breweries, finding a decent amount of space with cheap rent and easy access to highways, and having a high-quality water source.


They were finally able to secure a small business loan, attracted private investors, and found a location in the Lockland area, where the city had access to its own well that tapped into the Little Miami aquifer. The location allowed them to add a small taproom alongside the brewery. Focusing on traditional German-style lagers and ales, within two years they grew the business thanks to local distributors who not only got their products into the Ohio and Kentucky markets, but also into 65 Kroger stores, Meijer and Biggs Rempke stores, and over 100 local restaurants and bars. Starting a bottling line also played into the success. In their first year, they expected to produce 500 barrels; instead they rolled out 1,400 and in their second year produced 3,000.


Over the next few years the brewery expanded production into Indiana, Tennessee and Kansas. To keep up with demand they added three 30-barrel fermenters and a 30-barrel bright tank. Every one of the eight tanks they had was a product of customer demand, with their pumpkin ale making up almost 25 percent of their annual sales, and their bottling output grew to 87,780 bottles per month. Their success allowed them to experiment with lambic beers, sour beers and barrel aging; it also allowed them to buy another warehouse unit, add an on-site yeast lab, more tap room space, bigger offices, and an area dedicated for the sour barrels. Distribution soon went as far as Florida and the Virgin Islands.


In 2011 Rivertown was forced to defend itself in a dispute with another brewery named Rivertowne, which was founded as a Pennsylvania inn in 2002, and over the years grew to include a bar, then a small brewpub named The Pour House. When they continued to expand and begin distribution they changed names from the Pour House to Rivertowne in 2010. The next year Rivertowne sent Rivertown a cease and desist letter. After consulting with their lawyers, Rivertown sent Rivertowne a cease and desist letter back, saying that Rivertown had the earlier incorporation and superior trademark. In the end the two breweries decided to settle out of court with Rivertowne altering its name slightly to be Rivertowne of Pittsburgh or of Pennsylvania. The two breweries even collaborated on beers to call attention to their similar names but different branding.


In 2014, Roeper bought out Schiltz to take sole ownership of the brewery. Schiltz wanted to remain a local brewery, while Roeper wanted Rivertown to be more of a regional brewery with a national focus. Roeper's plans included distribution in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, as well as exploring wilder varieties of beer, with a focus on Belgian and sour styles, the same styles he had won with in the Longshot homebrew competitions. He eliminated some of Rivertown’s older, "safer" beers that weren't selling well, and added new ones to replace them. Another change was to provide raises and promotions to employees. He then focused on expansion, adding seating for 200 in the taproom and an outdoor patio, and buying a former RC Cola/Miller/Pepsi bottling line to replace their old one, increasing capacity from 14,000 bottles per hour to 20,000. It also allowed Rivertown to produce 22-ounce bottles for specialty brews.


The brewery added two 60 barrel fermentation tanks and a 60 barrel bright tank to help with the 13,000 barrels expected to be produced in 2015, as well as the contract brewing they do for the Nowhere In Particular and Quaff Brothers breweries. A new grain silo was installed in the back of the building, making life easier for the brewers and opening additional space in the brewery. Finally, Roeper focused on rebranding, with new packaging and marketing material, and a new collaboration with Yazoo Brewing: a Rye-based sour that used three different yeasts strains, and was aged in Tequila barrels from Mexico. Future plans include the possibility of an offsite brewpub.


Hop Bomber Pale Ale was an all out attack on your taste buds. This beer had a spicy backbone from the use of fresh rye malt and was dry hopped for a crisp refreshing flavor. Hop Bomber was truly a Hop Heads dream. With new brewery's new focus on sours, Hop Bomber is one of the older Rivertown varieties that is no longer produced.


Ratebeer weighted average:  3.17 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  78 out of 100 (okay)


Rivertown Brewing Company
607 Shepherd Drive, Unit 6
Cincinnati, Ohio 45215-2152




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