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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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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tap Handle #555: State Street - Amber Ale

Tap size:  15.25" tall x 5.5" wide
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Made to look like an actual street pole during the early 1900s Chicago (which you can barely see in front of the OG Shoes sign in the photo to the right), State Street's tap handle is monster: at 15.25" tall it is one of the tallest in the collection. and thanks to the signs on top, the width is 5.5", forcing me to move my stage back to take some of the photos. The pole itself is fairly simple but is made of metal, giving the tap a heavy, solid feel. The street signs are plastic and nicely done; metallic green paint was used for the color, which makes the signs highly reflective. The front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other, so I've taken a smaller number of photos. Due to the fact that the brewery was small (their beers were contract brewed) and that they were only in existence for two years in the 1990s, this tap is very scarce - I've never seen another.

State Street is a large south-north street in Chicago, Illinois, USA and its south suburbs. It begins at North Avenue, the south end of Lincoln Park, runs south through the heart of Downtown Chicago, and ends at the southern city limits, intersecting 127th Street along the bank of the Little Calumet River. Its intersection with Madison Street has marked the base point for Chicago's address system since 1909. In its early days, State Street became a shopping destination during the 1900s when it was considered one of the busiest streets in the world. It is home to several landmark buildings, including the Chicago Archbishop's Mansion, The Original Playboy Mansion, Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago Theater, and many others. It is referred to in the song "Chicago," sung by Frank Sinatra, where Sinatra refers it to "State Street, that great street."

Click through to read what little I could find on State Street Brewing and to see more photos of this scarce tap...

State Street Brewing Company was founded in Clarendon Hills, Illinois in 1995 by Steven Cahillane. 
Cahillane was a a political science major at Northwestern University and had an MBA from Harvard, and was a former executive for Romano Bros., a Chicago-based spirits distributor where he headed up the account of its major client E&J Gallo. Looking to get into the microbrew craze, he rounded up several investors, and rather than take on the expense of opening a brewery, he turned to the Evansville Brewery to contract his first beer, State Street Amber Ale. Evansville was housed in the historic Fulton Brewery, which later was known as the Sterling Brewery. Evansville Brewing, established in 1988 after G.Heilman had closed the doors it due to overcapacity, was brewing their own brands of Cooks, Wiedemann, Drewry's, Falls City, and Sterling, as well as several contract brews including State Street.

With bottling and canning options available, Cahillane had chosen to distribute State Street's Amber Ale in bottles and kegs to select locations around Chicago. Soon their Amber Ale was also being sold in retail outlets with packaging featuring turn-of-the-century photography of the historic street and its streetcars. Cahillane had plans to increase sales by opening a brewpub, but for the next two years sales were lukewarm as the craft bubble began to burst and a recession loomed. By 1997 State Street Brewing had closed. The Beer Me! website states that they were sold to the Evansville Brewery; however, Evansville declared bankruptcy and closed that same year in 1997. The Evansville brands were sold to Pittsburgh Brewing. Since State Street was not a Pittsburgh Brewing brand, and Evansville was having financial troubles, it is highly likely that State Street simply closed and was not sold to Evansville.

No entry on Ratebeer or Beer Advocate exists for State Street Brewing.

Since State Street Brewing is defunct, no address or website is provided.

Source Material

Old State Street photo courtesy of
Newer State Street photo courtesy of

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