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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Tap Handle #591: Long Doggers (Florida Beer Company) - Hatteras Red American Red Lager

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

Hatteras Red is the eleventh lighthouse themed tap I have profiled (I think). Although the inspiration is the same as that for the Carolina Beer/Foothills Brewing tap from profile #97, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina, one feature that immediately sets it apart from the others is the surfboard leaning up against the lighthouse on the front of the tap. The surfboard has the name of the beer in raised letters on its surface. The base of the tap has maroon brick "panels" with tan accent bricks, and the shaft of the light house has a black and white striped pattern swirling around it. The top of the lighthouse is black, with a chromatic reflective tape placed around the top that catches and reflects nearby light to simulate the action of the the lighthouse. The tap is scarce; because the beer is contract brewed for the six Long Dogger restaurants in Florida, there probably weren't very many produced - mine is the only one I've ever seen.

Cape Hatteras Light is a lighthouse located on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks in the town of Buxton, North Carolina and is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. On July 10, 1797, Congress appropriated $44,000 for erecting a lighthouse on the head land of Cape Hatteras and a lighted beacon on Shell Castle Island, in the harbor of Ocracoke in the State of North Carolina. The Cape Hatteras light was needed to mark very dangerous shoals which extend from the cape for a distance of 10 nautical miles and had earned the nickname “Graveyard of the Atlantic.”. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was constructed in 1803 of dark sandstone, with a light consisting of 18 lamps with 14-inch reflectors. It was visible in clear weather for a distance of 18 miles. In 1860 the Lighthouse required protection due to the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1862 the Lighthouse, lens and lantern were damaged by the Confederate Army.

At the behest of mariners and officers of the U.S. Navy, Congress appropriated $80,000 to construct a new beacon at Cape Hatteras in 1868. Completed in just under two years, the new Cape Hatteras lighthouse cost $167,000. The new tower was the tallest brick lighthouse tower in the world at 200 feet above ground. The old tower was demolished in 1872. In 1879, the tower was struck by lightning. Cracks subsequently appeared in the masonry walls, which was remedied by placing a metal rod to connect the iron work of the tower with an iron disk sunk in the ground. In 1912 the candlepower of the light was increased from 27,000 to 80,000.

Ever since the completion of the new tower in 1870, there had begun a very gradual encroachment of the sea upon the beach. Since that time the surf gnawed steadily toward the base of the tower until 1935, when the site was finally reached by the surf. Several attempts were made to arrest this erosion, but dikes and breakwaters had been of no avail. In 1935, therefore, the tower light was replaced by a light on a skeleton steel tower placed farther back from the sea on a sand dune. The old tower was then abandoned to the custody of the National Park Service. After the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration erected a series of wooden revetments which reclaimed the beach, the Lighthouse was re-activated, although the nearby skeleton steel tower was left in place as a contingency.

In 1999, the Lighthouse had to be moved from its original location at the edge of the ocean to safer ground 2,900 feet inland. Due to erosion of the shore, the lighthouse was just 15 feet from the ocean’s edge and was in imminent danger. International Chimney Corp. of Buffalo, New York was awarded the contract to move the lighthouse, assisted, among other contractors, by Expert House Movers. The move was controversial at the time, with speculation that the structure would not survive the move, resulting in lawsuits that were later dismissed. Despite some opposition, work progressed and the move was completed on September 14, 1999. The Cape Hatteras Light House Station Relocation Project became known as “The Move of the Millennium.” General contractor International Chimney and Expert House Movers won the 40th Annual Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1999. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest masonry structure ever moved (200 feet tall and weighing 5,000 tons).

Adjacent to the Cape Hatteras Light is the Hatteras Island Visitor Center and Museum of the Sea, operated by the National Park Service, which is located in the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Double Keepers' Quarters. Exhibits include the history, maritime heritage and natural history of the Outer Banks and the Lighthouse. The visitor center offers information about the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, ranger programs and a bookstore.

Click through to read more about Long Doggers, their Hatteras Red American Red Lager, how I was able to link the tap to the restaurant, and to see more photos of this symbolic tap...

Long Doggers Eateries, Inc. was founded in Indialantic, Florida in 1997 by Al Steiginga and John "L.J." Burr. The two friends attended Florida Tech together, and opened the first Long Dogger restaurant together. In 2003, Tony Gebhardt (who knew Steiginga and John "L.J." Burr from Florida Tech) and Scotty Marathas became part of the ownership group, and a second Long Doggers was opened in Melbourne later that year.  The third location in Satellite Beach opened in 2004, and the fourth location in Palm Bay opened in 2007. The fifth Long Doggers opened in Viera in 2013.

The sixth Long Doggers in Cocoa Beach opened in 2015. At first, the partners were uncertain about opening a restaurant in a tourist town like Cocoa Beach, since Long Doggers has cultivated a local following, but after talking with city officials, they realized many Cocoa Beach tourists are return visitors. Each Long Doggers seats about 75 people (Viera is about 125 and Cocoa Beach is 150) and features the restaurant chain's signature surf and beach theme, with hand-crafted tikis by local artist Ed's Heads, bartops made by surfboard shaper Bud Gardner, and occasional live music provided by Franke Lutz, "Brevard County’s original Steel Drum Man".

The Cocoa Beach location is part of the Long Doggers five-year plan that includes opening five new restaurants, with Viera having been the first in that plan and Cocoa Beach the second. Locations for the other three restaurants are still in the planning stages. The restaurant has also been featured on The Food Network’s special Surf n’ Turf with CJ and Damien Hobgood, and sponsors several running and biking events. The Long Doggers partners also own Meg O'Malley's in downtown Melbourne, and they're looking to open brand a new Cajun-themed restaurant, Papa Leroux's, in the near future. They're still refining the plan and scouting locations, including trips to New Orleans for research.

I could find very little information about the Hatteras Red American Red Lager beer itself. There's no entry on Ratebeer nor on Beer Advocate. The only evidence I could find that it was an actual beer were a few sites (thank you Untappd!) that said it was contract brewed for Long Doggers by Florida Beer Company. At first I couldn't figure out why a hot dog restaurant in Florida would have a lighthouse from North Carolina as their tap. I thought maybe I was mistaken and looked at other breweries, especially in North Carolina. However, with more persistent digging, I found the answer - right on the Long Doggers website.

To the right is an image of part of the Long Doggers menu. Since it is hard to read, I'll summarize the story that is told on the menu. The owners of Long Doggers have been into surfing for is reflected in the theme of all of their restaurants. In 1987, Steiginga, Burr, and Gebhardt left Florida Tech after final exams for a weekend of surfing at Cape Hatteras, which, according to the surfing community, was considered the best surfing spot on the Atlantic coast. But the trip didn't go as planned; a windy storm caused tall waves and blew their camping tent away, and seemed like it would ruin the trip. But on the last day, the winds shifted and gave the friends three hours of perfect surfing. They still talk about that trip to this day, which cemented lifelong friendships and formed the foundation of Long Doggers. It only felt right that they should name their first house beer after the location where this grand adventure occurred. It also helps to explain why a surfboard appears along with the lighthouse on the tap handle.

Long Doggers Eateries, Inc.
890 N Miramar Ave
Indialantic, Florida 32903

Source Material
Long Doggers website

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse info courtesy of Wikipedia.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse photo courtesy of Vintage Grace.

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