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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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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tap Handle #626: Oasis - Tut Brown Ale

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  10 or less seen, small scale
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Okay, I'll admit that of the many things I have professed to love in tap designs, Egyptian influence is one that has not previously come up. This obelisk from Oasis is the first to make the list based on its shape and the hieroglyphics on each side. In stark contrast to the hieroglyphics, the name of the brewery and beer, which appear on the sides, evoke more of an art deco look that you might find in a club in the 1920's and 30's. With the tap being made of ceramic rather than resin, all the lettering and images are decals that have been fired on. Since the front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other, I reduced the number of photos taken. The tap dates back to the late 1990's period of the brewery, making it extremely hard to find despite Oasis being one of the largest brewpubs in the country during that time. These ceramic taps chipped easily and were often thrown away as a result. I've never seen another.

Click through to read more about Oasis Brewing, their Tut Brown Ale, and to see more photos of this iconic tap...

Oasis Brewery was founded in Boulder, Colorado in 1991 by George Hanna. Hanna had been the general manager of the Walnut Brewery when it opened its brewpub in 1990. He decided to strike it out on his own the next year. At the time that Oasis opened, there were only a few other breweries in Boulder. Oasis quickly became one of Colorado's biggest producing and award winning breweries; by 1995 they were the second largest brewpub in the country, had taken home 5 medals from the Great American Beer Festival, and began planning a new state-of-the-art facility. In 1996 they took home two medals at the World Beer Cup, and in 1997 they completed the Oasis Annex, a 12,000 square foot facility also located in Boulder that contained a tasting room and a packaging facility.

1999 saw Oasis grab four more medals at the GABF, including a gold, and another gold medal at that same year's World Beer Cup. Production reached 10,000 barrels a year with the capability to double that number. In 2000 Hanna struck a partnership with Jules Lieb, a 25-year veteran of the restaurant business. Together they turned the tasting room at the Annex into a restaurant called Capstones Brew Bar. Named after the company’s Capstone ESB beer, the restaurant seated about 40 and offered a natural foods menu and a direct supply of Oasis beer. However, growth and demand had begun to slow dramatically, and Hanna was stretched thin by running the restaurant, managing both brewery locations, and spending a lot of time on the road selling his beers. By 2002 the Capstones restaurant had closed and been converted back to a tasting room, while Oasis cut production at the Annex. In late 2002 the brewery was forced to close. Their beers were briefly brewed under contract by Rockies Brewing (Boulder Beer), but eventually that fell through as well.

Hanna moved to Denver and stayed in the restaurant business but always felt the itch to get back into brewing. In 2011 the Boulder Draft House, a 6,500 square foot brewpub, closed its doors. Seeing an opportunity, Hanna returned to Boulder, found an investment partner and picked up the lease. He turned the space into the Los Oasis Latin Grill, an upscale Oaxacan Mexican restaurant with exotic dishes such as mole, plantains and nopal cactus with prawns, seabass and chicken, all of which was complemented by the restaurants’s 10-barrel high-end brewing system, which was inherited from the Boulder Draft House. The new Oasis focused on Mexican-style lagers instead of their previous recipes.

But only three months after opening its doors, Los Oasis Latin Grill & Cerveceria went dark. Hanna's ex-partner and investor suffered some financial difficulties and had to pull out of the business. Additionally, Hanna was paying a hefty amount for the building's lease, the prices of the upscale Mexican food fare appeared to be too high, and poor reviews complaining about the service plagued the restaurant. Hanna continued to run the brewery side of the business while he searched for a new investor and worked on overhauling the restaurant's concept. However, despite some initial interest, nothing solid materialized and Hanna once again left brewing for the restaurant business.

In 2015, after watching craft brewing growth hit double digits, Hanna decided to give brewing one last shot. Along with his son, Jesse Hanna, son-in-law, Hawk Vanek, and friend, Erik Smith, Hanna resurrected Oasis Brewing and ran it as a family business, with all decisions being made by the group. They contracted with Denver's Prost Brewing to brew and bottle the beer using Hanna's original recipes. Staying true to their original marketing and decor of Egyptian gods, Oasis is symbolized by their “mascot,” the god Anubis drinking a beer. In Egyptian culture, Anubis is known as the guide between life and the afterlife. The resurgence and rebirth of Oasis goes hand in hand with the Anubis figure, a god of transitions and new beginnings. 

Oasis Nut Brown Ale is rich in caramel malt with a hit of floral hoppiness. Absolutely the one to try if you’re not quite sure about "dark" beer. It won a bronze medal at the 1994 Great American Beer Festival.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.01 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  no score

Since Oasis does not currently have a physical location, no address is provided.

Source Material
Oasis website

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