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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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Monday, May 16, 2016

Tap Handle #605: Stony Creek - Cranky IPA

Tap size:  10.25"
Rarity:  readily available
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

What a beautiful tap Stony Creek has designed! During the brewery's re-branding in 2015, owner Ed Crowley Sr. brought in Good Beer Hunting's Michael Kiser, a brand strategist and expert storyteller. Kiser worked with Crowley to design a visual aspect that would embody the re-branding he was looking to accomplish. Together, they designed the vibrant, multicolored heron that is prominently displayed throughout the company's entire portfolio. "Cranky" is a nickname for the Great Blue Heron, which is central to Stony Creek's logo that appears on a label on the front and back on the tap. Below that logo is an oval section where a label for the beer variety is placed. You have to look closely to realize that the heron's legs extend through these labeled areas, and its feet emerge from underneath as it stands on top of the gorgeous copper ferrule. At one time these taps were very hard to find, but they have now become cheap and plentiful.

Click through to read more about Stony Creek Brewery, their Cranky IPA, and to see more photos of this colorful tap...

Stony Creek Brewery was founded in Branford, Connecticut in 2010 by Manny Rodriguez and Peggy Crowley. Initially they produced a small number of brews that were contract brewed by Thomas Hooker Brewery, specifically IPAs named after Connecticut's two state area codes, 203 and 860. They also featured a 203 Lager, and a 401 IPA as a salute to Rhode Island's only area code. As a small-scale craft brand without a brewery of their own, Stony Creek had minimal options for expansion. Ed Crowley, husband of co-founder Peggy Crowley, worked as a co-owner at Dichello Distributors in 2012 when he noticed an increase in the market of craft brewing. He sold his shares of Dichello Distributors (50% of total shares) to get start up money for the re-branding of Stony Creek Brewery, and pursued his dream of craft brewing. The new Stony Creek Brewery became much more than just a small-scale contract-produced craft brand. Ed Crowley reinvented every aspect of the Stony Creek brand from what it was in 2012. He began by bringing in his son Ed Crowly Jr. as owner. Crowley Jr. followed in his father's footsteps when he graduated from college, working in sales and promotion for a local craft brewery in Florida and then joining his father back in Connecticut at Dichello Distributors.

The re-branded Stony Creek re-opened in 2015, and has since grown to become one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the state of Connecticut. Their $20 million facility took four years of planning and 10 months of construction to complete. The family hired local architects and construction crews to build the facility, and all the equipment, except for the bottling line, was made in the U.S. The brewery's 30,000 square feet makes it the second largest brewing facility and taproom in Connecticut (behind only Two Roads Brewing). There is a 2,500 square foot tasting room, accented with polished farm tables and a granite fireplace, and two outdoor decks, one on the first floor outside the Tap Room, and the other by the celebration room on the second floor, both overlooking the Branford River. The upper deck adjoins a private party space for up to 160 people, and the brewery has their own professional catering business in the building. The back deck leads down to a ground level that has more seating, a bocce ball court, custom-designed cornhole boards and fire pits. There is 160 feet of dock space and the brewery is accessible to boaters on Long Island Sound. The front of the building features a 30-foot tall glass wall providing oncoming customers a sneak peek at Stony Creek’s tap room. Although the brewery does not serve food, since it does not wish to compete with local restaurants, guests are welcomed and encouraged to bring their own food, or order from food trucks or takeout from the local restaurants.

Stony Creek produced more than 10,000 barrels during its first 12 months. Recognizing that demand was quickly outpacing supply, the brewery reinvested $3 million on 13 new fermentation tanks, two bright beer tanks, a dedicated mash tun and a centrifuge. They are capable of producing 60,000 barrels, but are currently at 45,000 barrels. As a result of the company's success, Stony Creek has already begun planning for a secondary brewing facility. The brewery currently has four signature beers available year round (Dock Time Lager, Cranky IPA, Little Cranky Session IPA and Big Cranky, a Double IPA) and three seasonals (Snow Hole, Sun Juice and Crum, an apple cinnamon oatmeal amber ale). They also feature the Flip the Bird specialty rotating series, which includes offerings such as Crimsang (a blood orange soured double IPA fermented with a saison yeast), LichtenLizzy (a Berliner Weiss/smoked Rausch hybrid), Reposado Negro (a black wheat wine aged in tequila barrels), and Chahklit (a Baltic porter combining a Jamaican chocolate tea recipe with cocoa nibs, almonds and Ceylon cinnamon, aged in rum barrels).

Stony Creek is the first brewery in the state to offer crowlers, an instant canning alternative to growlers. People will be able to choose a beer that’s on draft and the bartender will fill up a large 32-ounce silver can that will be sealed and labeled at the bar. The brewery will offer standard 64-ounce growler and 32-ounce half growler fills as well; however, crowlers keep the beer fresh longer and also serve as a great souvenir for brewery visitors. The brewery’s popular Mug Club boasts more than 250 members. In addition to its own beers, the brewery features Connecticut wines on tap and devotes several draft lines to other Connecticut beers to help support the state’s brewing industry as a whole. The brewery currently distributes throughout Connecticut, as well as parts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Cranky is an India Pale Ale with assertive hop character enhanced by a smooth malt backbone. It showcases citrus and tropical fruit hops balanced by notes of black pepper and pine. This IPA is cranky enough to satisfy your bitterest of dispositions.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.12 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  81 of 100 (good)

Stony Creek Brewery
5 Indian Neck Avenue
Branford, Connecticut, USA 06405

Source Material

1 comment:

  1. The heron was designed and illustrated by a local Connecticut artist, Lisa Sotero