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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, April 5, 2016

Tap Handle #589: Figueroa Mountain - FMB 101 Kolsch

Tap size:  12.25"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Typical US 101 sign
Every spring I can count on my dad to bring me a great new tap for my birthday that I've never seen before. Last year it was the La Quinta palm tree tap featured in profile #476; this year, it's the FMB 101 Kolsch tap from Figueroa Mountain. Its most prominent feature is the large US 101 sign at the top, with the initials of the brewery appearing where "US" would normally be found. Below that is a marker that indicates the Kolsch variety, and another small round sign with the brewery's insignia. All of these signs are attached to what resembles a metal pole sticking out of the base. The base itself is a scenic rendition of the winding roads, cliffs, and green fields found along Highway 101 as it passes through the Santa Ynez Mountains in California. All these features, combined with the tall size, make this a very impressive tap. I have not seen one on the secondary market, so that currently makes the tap scarce, although I think that will change very soon.

US 101 passing through Santa Ynez
U.S. Route 101 (US 101) in the state of California is one of the last remaining and longest U.S. Routes still active in the state, and the longest highway of any kind in California. US 101 was also one of the original national routes established in 1926. Although the highway has been superseded in overall importance for transport through the state by Interstate 5 (I-5), US 101 continues to be the major coastal north-south route that links the Greater Los Angeles Area, the Central Coast, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the North Coast (Redwood Empire). Significant portions of US 101 between the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco Bay Area follow El Camino Real, the historic road connecting the former Alta California's 21 missions. US 101 also has portions designated as the Santa Ana Freeway, Hollywood Freeway, Ventura Freeway, South Valley Freeway, and the Bayshore Freeway. The Redwood Highway, the 350-mile-long northernmost segment of the highway, begins at the Golden Gate and passes through the world's tallest and only extensive preserves of virgin, old-growth coast redwood trees.

Click through to read more about Figueroa Mountain Brewing, their FMB 101 Kolsch, and to see more photos of this scenic tap...

Figueroa Mountain
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. was founded in Buellton, California in 2010 by father and son team Jim and Jaime Dietenhofer. As a college student who got hooked on craft beer in the 1990s, Jaime wanted to be a brewmaster. He nearly blew up his dorm room at UC Santa Barbara in a failed attempt to brew beer. Even when he moved to Los Angeles after graduating with an economics degree, Jaime never put aside the goal of opening his own brewery, and he later sold his business in order to turn to brewing. He talked his father, Jim, into the idea, as Jim was looking to get out of the gold and silver buying business. After interviewing more than 100 brewers, they founded Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company in 2010 as a 100-barrel production brewery in Buellton, naming the brewery after the mountain that could be seen from their family home in Los Olivos. They self-distributed beer from San Luis Obispo County to Orange County, wanting to grow their brand and give buyers individual attention. They started a mug club in Buellton and it grew so big that they started running out of beer. People from neighboring cities would visit the brewery, indicating that the brewery had a large regional presence.

The Buellton taproom success led to a second taproom in Santa Barbara in 2013, with a two more opening in 2014 in Los Olivos and Santa Maria, thanks to a 893% growth rate and a policy of re-investing profits back into the company. Recognizing the growth potential and reaching the 20,000-barrel per year benchmark, Figueroa Mountain ceased self-distribution and signed an agreement with Pacific Beverage Company for coverage throughout the Central Coast in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties. In 2015 the brewery opened their fifth taproom in Arroyo Grande (in a former Applebee's) and their sixth in Westlake Village. Each of the six taprooms integrates itself into its surrounding community. No two of them are alike, as each area is diverse. The goal is to blend each taproom into the community, so people there feel immediately comfortable, represented and respected.

Also in 2015 they purchased a new 60 barrel system built in Germany. They bought almost a whole city block in Buellton, put the brewhouse in an adjacent building and expanded production capacity from 20,000 barrels to 110,000 barrels. Figueroa Mountain started contract brewing in Germany while searching for a location to build its own scalable production facility and brewpub in the Bavarian region of the country. They hoped not only to introduce their American-style beers to Europe, but also to gain insight from Germany’s stylistic and business differences and apply those lessons back on American soil. Future plans are to expand distribution to the Central Valley and Bay area in 2016. The brewery currently has 6 core beers, with several specialty beers including their "Hip Hoppy" series. The brewery is ranked 519 on the Inc. 5000 list.

FMB 101 is a Kolsch beer made with traditional German Noble Hops (such as Hallertau), and Weyermann Pilsner, Wheat, Crystal, and Dextrin malts. Fermented like an ale and cold-conditioned like a lager, this crisp, clean ale has notes of fresh cut grass, hay and mild sweet malt flavors paired with a light to medium body. It is inspired by the famous Highway 101 that runs along the coast of California and along the entire Pacific, running through California, Oregon and Washington states. California means sand, surf and sun on the “101”, and the Central Coast is no exception. Here the mountains meet the sea so this Kölsch-style beer is brewed as the best of both worlds. Formerly known as Jalama Blonde, the beer won a silver medal at the 2013 Denver International Beer Competition and a gold medal at the same competition the very next year.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.08 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  no score

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company
45 Industrial Way

Buellton, California 93427

Source Material
Figuroa Mountain website

US 101 information courtesy of Wikipedia
US 101 Santa Ynez photo courtesy of Songs of the Wilderness
Figueroa Mountain photo courtesy of

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