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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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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tap Handle #564: Brau Brothers - Old No. 56 Light

Tap size:  9.75"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

I've acquired more than a few industrial or steampunk themed taps, which is what made this Brau Brothers tap handle appealing to me, as the copper tank design has a very industrial feel. One thing I love about these kinds of taps is the amount of sculpting detail work that goes them, because usually the artist takes the time to sculpt rivets, bands, handles, fittings, and other elements, which is the case here as well. It is actually a good likeness of the brewery's copper-clad finishing vessels (see photo top right). By the look of it, you would expect the tap to be heavy, and it would be - if it was made out of metal; however, it is actually made of a lightweight resin, making the tap almost weightless. This tap is very scarce...I have only seen one another. It's possible it was only used for promotional purposes, as the only photo I've seen of one was at a beer release party on the brewery's Facebook page. Despite the simpler tap design they now use, the ambiance of the tap room is special - the taps that dispense beer are attached to an old fire truck parked inside of the taproom (see photo bottom right). Very cool!

Click through to read more about Brau Brothers Brewing, their Old No. 56 Light beer, and to see more photos of this industrious tap...

Brau Brothers Brewing Company was founded in Lucan, Minnesota in 2006 by Dustin Brau, his brothers Trevor and Brady, and their father, Dale. Dustin's interest in brewing began around the same time he was studying at Southwest State University. He had a mail-order brewing kit he received from a supplier in St. Paul. He bought the property that became the Brau Haus right before he graduated from college in 1999, which at the time was a local restaurant in a single-story barn-red building on the edge of town. He thought that by adding a small brewhouse he could convince people to make the drive to town to eat. All the brewing equipment was purchased used and modified to fit. The pasteurizer came from a deli in Kansas City, the bottler from a New York brewery and the labeler from Germany, while the six fermenting tanks were from Baltimore. By 2006, they had already been brewing for about six years commercially when they decided to become a brewery. Dustin became CEO, Trevor helped nights and weekends, and Brady took care of IT needs. Dale was in charge of Quality, construction, and problem solving. They leased a 3,000-square-foot warehouse, producing an average 1,500 barrels of beer per year. About 40% was distributed in-state, with the rest shipped to the Dakotas, Iowa and Wisconsin.

In 2013 the brewery was forced to find another location. The growth of the brewery outpaced the small city's utility resources, and lack of space was inhibiting expansion. The brewery settled on the city of Marshall and moved into a 40,000 square foot building that was a former farm and sport retail space. It allowed them to add six more fermentation tanks, expand their packaging operations, and add barrel aging capacity. In addition, they were able to add a tap room and accommodate tours, and tripled their workforce, hiring 30 employees. They grow a couple thousand pounds and eleven varieties of their own hops and up to five tons of barley every year, which they malt themselves. The brewery has been growing up to 80% - 100% annually since the move.

The brewery’s signature antique fire truck, Old No. 56, was purchased in 2006 from the city of Lucan, and serves as the pub’s backbar. It sports twelve taps of Brau beers including year-rounds, seasonals and one-of-a-kind releases. Two beer engines dispense special, limited-run cask-conditioned ales. Brau Brothers does contract brewing for Purity Brewing and Bank Brewing.

Old 56 No. Light is an American light lager named after the fire truck the city of Lucan bought back in 1956 and used for 50 years before it was acquired by Brau Brothers. It is a crisp, light lager that utilizes two-row Pilsner malt and Sterling hops.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.23 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  80 out of 100 (good)

Brau Brothers Brewing Co.
910 E Main Street
Marshall, Minnesota 56258

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