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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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Sunday, June 26, 2016

Tap Handle #617: Melvin Brewing - 2x4 DIPA

Tap size:  10.5"
Rarity:  10 or less seen
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Thanks to the great people at Melvin Brewing, I obtained two great tap handles to enter in the Museum. The first is this "2x4 Man", also called "Carpenter", which represents their Imperial IPA (or double IPA if you prefer). The brewery has a character associated with each of their core beers. Melvin's graphic designer, Kelly Halpin, came up with the design for each character, which co-founder Jeremy Tofte describes as "dark and mysterious, which don't belong in the beer industry." And each one has a superpower. 2X4 Man "has the ability to saw crappy cans of beer in half," laughs Tofte. The most impressive feature of the tap is that it is primarily made of metal, making it very durable. Only the character, which is attached to the base later, is made of resin. Since it is metal, and there is a recessed rectangular area on the back of the tap, presumably a magnetic label could be placed in this area so that whoever is pouring the beer could change up the beer variety. 2x4 Man is probably my favorite of all the Melvin characters. Made of nailed together pieces of wood and donning a viking helmet, he appears to be sawing his own arm! The brewery's circus elephant symbol appears at the top of the tap, while the brewery name and beer appear at the bottom.

Click through to read more about Melvin Brewing, their 2x4 DIPA, and to see more photos of this constructive tap...

Melvin Brewing Company was founded in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 2009 by Jeremy Tofte and Kirk McHale. Tofte had grown up in Eugene, Oregon and the Seattle Washington area, where he ended up working for the family’s beer distribution company. He loaded trucks, repacked and delivered beer, and merchandised store shelves for breweries like Redhook, Pyramid, Grants, and Thomas Kemper. That’s when he became fascinated with craft beer and started home brewing at the age of 19. An avid snowboarder, he attended college in Bend, Oregon, and then in Portland. After living for several years in Portland, he moved to Jackson Hole (where his snowboarding interests were greatly satisfied), and in 2000 he bought a restaurant called Thai Me Up. Tofte, however, proved that he could not be tied up, when he packed up his things, sold his restaurant, and headed out on a surf trip around the world. He eventually returned to Jackson Hole to try to revive his former restaurant, which had bottomed out under the owners he had sold it to. As a last ditch effort to save the once popular eatery, Tofte sold his car, which netted him enough money to buy a 20 gallon brewing system that he installed in the prep area of his restaurant’s kitchen.

McHale began home brewing when he was just 14 years old with his brother in California. His first brewing job at age 20 was at the now Defunct Baja Brewing Company in San Diego. From there, he went to Pizza Port Brewing Company where he was in charge of both the Carlsbad and San Clemente locations. Following Pizza Port, he founded Breakwater Brewing in Oceanside, where he still remains partial owner. After taking some time off, he moved to Jackson Hole for a change of scenery. Jackson Hole is not a large town (under 10,000 people) and it wasn't long before McHale and Tofte met and found that they had a common interest in brewing. In 2009 they started Melvin Brewing as a nano brewery, eventually replacing the 20 gallon system with a 3 barrel system. They developed Melvin IPA and 2×4 Imperial IPA, which went on to win gold medals at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival, back-to-back Alpha King awards in 2012 and 2013, and a Gold Medal at the World Beer Cup. On the strength of these and other beer brands, Melvin Brewing was awarded the 2015 Small Brew Pub and Small Brew Pub Brewer of the year. 

Looking to expand, Tofte first tried to build a new production and bottling plant in Teton County, but he gave up due to a hard-to-work-with governmental climate. Instead, he won approval for a $2.9 million state grant to help build the 20,000 square foot, $5.7 million project on 6.8 acres in the town Alpine in  Lincoln County. The state has also approved a plan for a tasting room, and the town of Alpine received title on the land beneath the new brewery as part of the public-private partnership. Melvin has 15 years to pay back just over $2 million of the $3 million borrowed, and the loan is interest-free if Melvin creates 24 jobs by 2020. The new production facility utilizes a custom built Newlands 30 barrel, 4 vessel system, with an annual production capacity of 15,000 barrels. The GEA centrifuge was chosen with Melvin’s remote location in mind, providing a higher-yield that will help equalize shipping costs. Melvin emphasizes the 5th ingredient, CO2, a staple of larger brewers that can be overlooked by smaller breweries. The 3 barrel system in the Thai Me Up restaurant is used for R&D.

Aside from taps in Wyoming, Melvin brews can also be found in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Utah. The brewery is also working on plans to distribute to Alaska, and is bottling and canning select Melvin beers. Melvin Brewing now has more than 40 beer recipes to its name, with brands such as ChChCh-Cherry Bomb (Fruit Beer), Killer Bees (Honey Ale), Coffee Ruckus (Coffee Imperial Stout), Hey Zeus (Mexican Lager). Melvin will produce cork and cage bottles as part of the Manual Release Series, an experimentation focused on various barrel aging, different grains and yeast strains.

In 2016 Melvin promoted "National 2×4 Day" which had its own website at Special events were scheduled in February at 24 bars from Boston and New York to San Diego and Seattle. Melvin also participated in Sierra Nevada Brewing’s Beer Camp Across America project, collaborating with four other breweries to produce Moxie Moron Imperial Session IPA. Another collaboration effort contributed to a batch of 3-Way IPA, where Melvin teamed up with Fort George Brewing and Barley Browns Brewing. In the near future, a Melvin brewpub is expected to open in Bellingham, Washington, with brewpubs targeted for Denver and San Diego. The plan is to use the brewpubs as marketing and branding tools rather than as large production facilities.

Melvin's 2x4 is in their words, "the best damn Double India Pale Ale in the world" with a "stupid amount of hops." Checking in at 10% ABV, 2×4 has a light malt base that reveals notes of pine, citrus and tropical fruit. This Imperial IPA won a gold medal at the 2014 World Beer Cup, and also won the Alpha King Championship, two years in a row and counting.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.89 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  96 out of 100 (world class)

Melvin Brewing Company
75 East Pearl Ave
Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Source Material
Melvin Brewing website

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