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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, February 7, 2016

Tap Handle #566: Hopworks Urban Brewery - Abominable Winter Ale

Tap size:  10.25"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This is the first of a two-part post profiling Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB): this first part is a profile of the tap and brewery; the second part will be a short write-up about my visit to the brewery a little over a year ago. On to the tap is brightly and boldly colored, with the head of the Abominable making up the top half, the HUB symbol smack in the center, and a shaft at the bottom that has the Abominable's claws wrapped around it. At the very bottom is a decal that says "ARR-R-GANIC". There is another decal inside the mouth proclaiming the name of the ale in a font that fits the design perfectly. The front and back are nearly the same, except for the position of the claws on the base, so I took a full range of photos to capture the slight differences. The overall impact is that the tap definitely stands out when placed next to others. It is rare, but still fairly easy to find and affordable. This is one of only a few taps that I have been able to walk into a brewery and purchase over-the-counter; Portland breweries definitely need to offer up better tap handles.

Click through to read more about Hopworks Urban Ale, their Abominable Winter Ale, and to see more photos of this outstanding tap...

Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) was founded in Portland, Oregon in 2007 by Christian Ettinger. Ettinger started brewing in his parent’s kitchen during his first summer break in college and it didn’t take long to decide he would open his own brewpub. He began his career at the Eugene City Brewery, and completed intensive Brewing and Science and Engineering courses from the American Brewers Guild. He took a job at the Laurelwood Pub and Brewery in Portland, and was awarded the World Beer Cup Champion Brewmaster while brewing at Laurelwood. Desiring to open their own brewery, in 2004 the Ettingers purchased a building that was built in 1948. The structure was originally a showroom for bulldozers; Sunset Fuel Company had inhabited the building from 1963 until Hopworks purchased it. The 16,800 square foot building was carefully deconstructed, with over an entire month of systematically demolishing the interior and recovering and organizing an amazing array of lumber and fixtures, and it was rebuilt using as many reclaimed materials as possible to minimize the environmental impact. The brewery and pub were designed with green-building principles in mind, utilizing the most efficient energy-saving equipment and materials affordable, with ample bike parking. The bar was built using recycled wood, steel grates and copper. The brewing equipment featured a 20 barrel direct-fire system with five fermenters and nine conditioning tanks, as well as a small bottling system.

In 2007 HUB officially brewed their first batch of beer, Organic Hopworks IPA. The brewpub opened its doors in 2008 and has served local food and sustainable beer ever since. They opened with 48 employees and brewed about 3,500 barrels of beer in their initial year, winning both gold and silver medals at the 2008 World Beer Cup. In 2011 Hopworks expanded into North Portland with Hopworks BikeBar, their second brewpub. Located on one of Portland’s most traveled bike routes, BikeBar is a super-efficient energy property designed to meet the Net Zero energy building standard. In 2012 they began canning their beer in an effort to reduce fuel consumption during transportation and to protect the quality of their beer. Later that year the Oregon Sustainability Board presented HUB with the Governor’s Oregon Sustainability Grand Champion Award. The award promotes and advances the inclusion of sustainable practices in government and the private sector.

In 2015 HUB earned their certification as the first B Corporation brewery in the Pacific Northwest and became the first Salmon-Safe Certified brewery in the world. Salmon Safe is a non-profit organization that links land management practices with the protection of agricultural and urban watersheds through inspections to standards, in order to protect Pacific salmon habitats, and of which Ettinger is a board member. HUB is 100% renewably powered and “cradle to gate” carbon neutral. Also in 2015 they expanded brewing capacity, bought an empty warehouse building near the main brewery, installed a custom Cleaning In Place skid to conserve water, and expanded their core portfolio to include Totally Radler, Nonstop Hef Hop, and HUB Hard Cider in 16 ounce cans, while opening a third pub at the Pine Street Market in downtown Portland.

The main location is divided into three distinct areas: family dining, a 21 and over bar, and a banquet mezzanine for parties up to 49 people. A brew cam provides a glimpse into the brewing process, which is in the basement, and there are TVs, pool tables, old school video games and pinball. There is also a custom made grundy tank fire pit. A bike sculpture consisting of 44 bike frames hangs directly over the bar. The brewery has hosted the Oregon Brew Crew Fall Classic, a home brew competition that features brewers from Oregon, California, Idaho and as far away as North Carolina. HUB also hosts the Handmade Bike & Beer Festival, in which bike builders from places like Puyallup, Eugene and Portland, as well as 12 different breweries, meet at the brewery's warehouse, with BMX tricks for entertainment, as well as live music and food.

Abominable Winter Ale is a mythological beer that emerges from the depths of HUB's brewery as a winter seasonal. Made with a medley of organic Northwest hops that are hopped in the kettle, hop-back, and fermenter, and utilizing organic Munich and Light Caramel malts, Abominable has a complex floral, spicy, and a citrus hoppiness backed up by just the right amount of malt sweetness. Don’t turn your back on the beast!

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.65 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  89 out of 100 (very good)

Hopworks Urban Brewery
2944 SE Powell Blvd
Portland, Oregon 97202

Source Material
HUB website

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