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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, April 8, 2016

Tap Handle #590: 40 Arpent - Milk Stout

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

The 40 Arpent tap is simple but attractive. To the right I have attached the design notes for the tap found on the brewery's website. A round disc sits on top of a shaft made of corn and wheat stalks; the disc bears the decal featuring the emblem of the brewery. On top of that is a small yellow sign that was originally desgined to be slotted to allow a beer variety card to be inserted, but at some point the design changed and it is instead recessed, allowing a label to be attached. The color is dominated by the green corn stalks and the disc, but the yellow sign and wheat stalks offsets the green nicely. The front and back are not the same and have variations in their sculpting, which is why I have taken a full set of photos. Since the brewery is relatively new and fairly small, this tap can be hard to come by on the secondary market - I believe I've only seen 3 or 4 others - and it commands a higher price than you would expect.

An arpent is a French unit of land measurement - slightly smaller than an acre - that was originally used by the French to divide property along a waterway. Land grants given by the King of France to Louisiana residents were often six arpents wide by forty arpents deep. The land grants created several 40 arpent canals that allowed inhabitants access to waterways as well as a chance to develop their land. St. Bernard’s 40 Arpent Canal, which was built in the 18th century, stretched from what is now the Faubourg Marigny, roughly paralleling the Mississippi River on the East Bank down through modern St. Bernard Parish and part of the East Bank of Plaquemines.

Click through to read more about 40 Arpent Brewing, their Milk Stout, and to see more photos of this attractive tap...

40 Arpent Brewing Company was founded in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2011 by Michael Naquin. Naquin was a Louisiana native who grew up knee-boarding in the 40 Arpent Canal, watched his older brother experiment with a homebrewing kit. and got to taste the homebrew results. In 2000, Naquin moved to New Orleans, where a visit to Acadian Brewing spurred on his love affair with craft brewing. With leftovers from his brother’s kit and some new supplies, Naquin created his first two beers: an Irish Red Bean Ale and a Milk Stout. Receiving his wife Emily's full support, he learned all he could about brewing beer, spending time in Asheville, North Carolina where the craft brewing industry was thriving, then returning to New Orleans to work as an apprentice at the Zea Bar and Grill, Crescent City Brewhouse, and finally as a contractor at NOLA Brewing. Naquin decided that he was equipped with the tools and experience he needed to finally turn his dream into a reality, and in 2011 he founded 40 Arpent Brewing Company.

It took a few years of raising startup capital, finding a location, constructing a building, obtaining equipment and clearing government hurdles before Naquin was able to brew on a larger scale than his homebrewing setup. He located the 10bbl brewery in a 6,000-square-foot warehouse located on the Mississippi River. Friends from the St. Bernard Parish had encouraged him to scout the area for a location. By chance, he happened to meet a family who was a wholesaler of florist supplies and were looking to lease one of the lots they owned; Naquin and this family were able to work out a lease agreement. Naquin had spent several years working in the refrigeration trade and also as a barber at a hair salon co-owned with Emily, which had provided him with building skills. He was able to build most of the brewery’s physical plant himself, handling all the plumbing, electricity, refrigeration, drywall, and sheet metal work. Once construction was complete, and after waiting through government delays for approvals, in 2014 he brewed his first flagship beer, the Milk Stout recipe made with lactose that he had developed over the years on his homebrewing system. Its popularity at taps around the city exploded.

The second flagship beer was Red Bean and Rice Ale. Before he could brew the beer commercially, Naquin needed federal formula approval from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which is required for beers that use uncommon ingredients. Brewed with locally grown red beans and Louisiana rice, Naquin brewed three batches in his 10 barrel brew house, each batch using 50 pounds of white rice and 52 pounds of cooked Camelia red beans that went directly into the grain mash. The third beer was Delacroix Abbey Ale, named for the swampy Isleño fishing village in eastern St. Bernard. Naquin also had another secret weapon for his beers: high-quality municipal water from the Mississippi River, which he purified even further by using a heavy filter. Naquin described the local water as “super hard,” a trait that lead to an airier, drier finish in the brews. The three beers were distributed to 42 taps throughout New Orleans.

In 2015 Naquin won a St. Bernard Parish startup competition that offered a prize package valued at $110,000. Naquin was one of five finalists who had about 10 minutes to pitch their business ideas. Five judges deliberated and ultimately selected the brewery as the winner. The brewery received a $42,500 check and in-kind services, including office space as well as legal, marketing and accounting services. Naquin anticipated that the in-kind services would help spread the word about the brewery's new features, as well as help build on its website and online sales. Combined with an accompanying grant from the Meraux Foundation, Naquin planned on building a 1,000 square foot taproom with a bar and deck, seating area, a stage for live music, and space for food trucks.

Future plans for the brewery also include opening its doors to homebrewing enthusiasts and those looking to join the industry. Without exposure to homebrewing and other craft brewers who were eager to teach all that they know, 40 Arpent wouldn’t be possible. With that in mind, the brewery hopes to become the #1 destination in the south for homebrewer education, with plans to offer courses and hold a homebrew competition to celebrate the first year of production. The brewery also plans to strive towards sustainable brewing, with plans to establish a grain co-op, recycle grains by sending them to local farms, and to experiment with growing their own hops.

40 Arpent Milk Stout evokes cafe au lait, without the caffeine but with a little chocolate. Made with Mount Hood hops, the robust flavor comes from the roasted malt, while lactose conveys a hint of milk. If you drink coffee, you will absolutely love this beer. Although Milk Stout was the first beer released by the brewery and was considered their flagship beer, it is not currently listed on the brewery's website as an active beer.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.52 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  no rating

40 Arpent Brewing Company
6809 N. Peters Street
Arabi, Louisiana 70032

Source Material
40 Arpent website

40 Arpent Canal photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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