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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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Friday, March 25, 2016

Tap Handle #585: Wooden Robot

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

When I first saw photos of this incredible tap, I hoped that someday I would be able to acquire one. Josh Patton, one of the co-founders of the brewery, was intrigued by the museum concept and soon my hopes were realized. Conceptually, the Wooden Robot mascot is brilliant. With a metal pail for a head, light bulbs for eyes, the body of a barrel mounted to a wheel, and one arm made from a hop scoop and the other a brewer’s mash paddle, the disparate parts symbolize what the brewery stands for: blending old world techniques with new world innovations. The robot holds a sign with the brewery's logo on it, while parked on a pile of hops that sit on top of two stacked barrels. A rectangular, cream-colored plaque on both the front and back allow labels to be placed to identify the variety of beer. Although I don't currently have a label, the brewery is sending me one soon; in the meantime, I'll profile the brewery's Good Morning Vietnam Coffee Vanilla Blonde Ale. This tap is very scarce; mine is the only one I've ever seen.

And as if the tap isn't enough, there is a life-sized version of the Wooden Robot mascot in the brewery (with the light bulb eyes fully functional) to greet visitors who enter the brewery (see photo to right, courtesy of Trip Advisor). Someday I have to get to Charlotte, North Carolina to visit the brewery, taste one of their beers, and to check this mascot out!

Click through to read more about Wooden Robot Brewing and to see more photos of this imaginative tap...

Wooden Robot Brewing was founded in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2014 by Dan Wade and Josh Patton. The two were best friends in middle school, and although they attended different universities, they both started homebrewing in college. Patton moved to the Charlotte area in 2009 after graduation to go to work in the banking industry. Wade was having doubts about becoming an engineer, so he delved further into brewing, going to work for Swamp Head Brewery in Gainesville, Florida. Convinced he was on the right career path, he enrolled at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he earned a Master of Science in Brewing and Distilling. In his free time, he traveled Germany and Belgium, where he got hooked on Belgian ales. After graduating, Wade went back to Swamp Head Brewing and also spent a few months at Rogue Ales in Oregon, but it wasn’t long until he and Patton were talking about opening their own brewery. They looked at larger cities along the East Coast, but settled on Charlotte due to its booming economy, especially the microbrewing sector.

In 2014 they formed Wooden Robot Brewery. The name “Wooden Robot” represents the blending of wood (high quality ingredients, expressive yeast strains, and extended aging in oak barrels) with a robot (unique, creative beers). They signed a lease on a 5,700-square-foot location that formerly housed the Marigny Dance Club, got a demo permit, and took out all of the bars, DJ booths, and most of the walls. Construction on the brewery continued into 2015, when production began and the doors opened for business. The end product of the renovation melded natural light with industrial touches such as corrugated roofing panels, and features light-colored cypress wood on the walls, bars and tabletop. A 1,600-square-foot taproom wraps around the 15-barrel brewhouse, with windows allowing a peek inside and skylights infusing the space with light. Four classic communal beer hall tables were set up, as well as a lounge area with couches and coffee tables. 

The initial production rate was 1,000 kegs in the first year, with space to accommodate the equipment necessary to get them to 5,000 kegs based on demand. The brewery's approach was to supply both American and Belgian styles on its 16 taps. Their first 6 varieties were a pale ale, saison, IPA, double IPA, weisse, and a coffee vanilla blonde. They also brewed some collaboration beers for their grand opening, such as Hop Rocks, a sour IPA brewed with Fullsteam Brewery, Paranoid Android, a farmhouse IPA brewed with Birdsong Brewing, and Mango and Cash, a mango saison they brewed with Heist Brewery. Wooden Robot added more brews over time and continued to innovate with beers such as Good Morning Vietnam, a coffee vanilla blonde, and Thick as Thieves, a blackberry sour ale, and many of their experiments utilize wild yeasts as well as bacteria for sours. In 2016 Beer Advocate named Wooden Robot one of the best new breweries in 2015, out of over 1,000 new breweries that opened in 2015.

Good Morning Vietnam is a blonde ale made in collaboration with Wooden Robot's neighbors at Charlotte's Enderly Coffee. They combine the coffee with fresh roasted Madagascar vanilla beans to produce an eye opening, enjoyable ale.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.2 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  no rating

Wooden Robot Brewery
1440 S. Tryon Street Suite 110
Charlotte, North Carolina  28203

Source Material
Wooden Robot website

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