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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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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Tap Handle #608: St. Francis - Gluttony Oktoberfest

Tap size:  10.75"
Rarity:  10 or less, small scale, seasonal
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

With the appearance of a statue of carved stone, this tap handle is sculpted to resemble Saint Francis. Usually Saint Francis is pictured with a bird in his hands to symbolize his love for nature and animals; here he holds a goblet of beer instead of a bird, and the symbolism is obvious. The detail is impressive, including the cobblestone base he is standing on, the front of which displays a label featuring the variety of beer. Nowhere on the tap is the name of the brewery displayed; however, the St. Francis figure himself, along with the symbol of the brewery which appears on both sides of the base, indicate that the tap belongs to the St. Francis Brewery. The tap is used for all of the brewery's "seven deadly sins" line, so labels such as Envy or Lust can also be found displayed on the tap. Due to scale of production (the seven deadly sins line is brewed by a contract brewer), these are very hard to find, and the seasonal Oktoberfest label is very rare as well. The rarity and visual appeal of the tap keep prices quite high for undamaged versions.

Fun fact: I believe Museum Restoration Expert Kelly is distantly related to one of the owners of the St. Francis Brewery, Rick Michalski.

Saint Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, informally named as Francesco, lived from 1181  to 1226, and was an Italian Roman Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Clare, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history. Pope Gregory IX canonized Francis in 1228. Along with Saint Catherine of Siena, he was designated Patron saint of Italy. He later became associated with patronage of animals and the natural environment, and it became customary for Catholic and Anglican churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of October 4.

In 1219, he went to Egypt in an attempt to convert the Sultan to put an end to the conflict of the Crusades. By this point, the Franciscan Order had grown to such an extent that its primitive organizational structure was no longer sufficient. He returned to Italy to organize the Order. Once his community was authorized by the Pope, he withdrew increasingly from external affairs. Francis is also known for his love of the Eucharist. In 1223, Francis arranged for the first Christmas live nativity scene. In 1224, he received the stigmata, during the apparition of Seraphic angels in a religious ecstasy, making him the first recorded person to bear the wounds of Christ's Passion. He died during the evening hours of October 3, 1226, while listening to a reading he had requested of Psalm 142 (141).

Click through to read more about St. Francis Brewing, their Gluttony Oktoberfest, and to see more photos of this venerable tap...

St. Francis Brewery & Restaurant was founded in St. Francis, Wisconsin in 2009 by Rick Michalski and a group of 4 other local investors. Michalski, an attorney, led a small group of local physicians and fellow attorneys to form Copul Enterprises, which is the parent company that owns the brewery. They purchased a piece of property and initially looked to the warehouse located on the north end of the lot as a potential site for the brew pub. After consideration, the group decided to build a brand new 7,200 square foot building housing a brewery, bar area, dining room and banquet facilities. Everything from individual beers to sandwiches and salads on the dining room menu was tagged with a local name to pay homage to St. Francis. Their initial beers included South Shore Stout, Mariner Nut Brown Ale and Archbishop Amber. They also produced root beer and sodas, provided growler fills, and conducted brewery tours and tastings.

In 2012 the brewery introduced a new line named after the seven deadly sins, which were contract brewed at Sand Creek Brewing. In 2013 the brewery had to pull the first bottled batch of its Lust hefeweizen off the shelves due to excessive carbonation, which arose from secondary fermentation that occurred in the bottles after packaging. By 2015 the brewery was in need of expansion to meet the rapidly growing demand for its packaged beers. They had considered a site in Milwaukee for a proposed 20,000-square-foot brewery and banquet hall, but due to costs to stabilize the soil on the site, they decided to focus on a smaller expansion into the warehouse at the north end of their lot, where they had once planned for the original brewery to go. The result would be less brewing capacity and a delay in building a banquet hall. The cost of the expansion was estimated at $8.5 million, and facing a $1.7 million gap, the brewery was reportedly turning to the city for help. The current status of this project is unclear.

Also in 2015, the brewery signed a five-year contract with Milwaukee County to operate a beer garden in Humboldt Park. The brewery began operating the beer garden in 2014 during a trial run with the county. Under the new agreement, the brewery pays the county 20 percent of its gross revenue and sets aside 5% of every sale for park maintenance. The beer garden serves beer, soft drinks and food from noon to 10 p.m. each day, but closes during the winter. The deal has proven to be a boon for the brewery, as it earned nearly $230,000 in gross revenue, including $220,000 in beverage sales, at the beer garden in 2015. The county also benefited by receiving $45,903 in revenue and $11,000 for park maintenance. 

Gluttony is a rotating seasonal offering by St. Francis. During January through March it's Filbert's Chocolate Porter; August through October it's Oktoberfest; and November through January it's Hog Wild Black Ale. Oktoberfest is a seasonal favorite...this traditional Bavarian lager has a smooth, malty flavor with a slight hop finish.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.91 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  no score

St. Francis Brewing Company
3825 South Kinnickinnic Avenue
St Francis, Wisconsin 53235

Source Material
St. Francis website

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