AMAZING TAP HANDLES!!!

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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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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tap Handle #632: Witch's Hat

Tap size:  10.25"
Rarity:  10 or less seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This tap combines some unique elements that make up Witch's Hat Brewing's origins. First is the witch hat on top of the tap, named for a feature on the train depot in town (that is now a museum and events center) and is over 100 years old (see photo to right). Here, however, the connotation has been given the fantasy element of a hat you might see depicted on an actual witch. The second element is the railroad lantern, which of course fits with the train depot theme nicely. The "patina" on the lantern looks really nice, and although the "glass" is really clear resin, it has been colored slightly to resemble the purplish tint you sometimes see in aged glass. I've only seen two others, which means the tap is very hard to find. I don't see a place for a label, so I suspect the tap is used for all varieties...I'm going to profile their flagship beer, Trainhopper IPA.

Click through to read more about Witch's Hat Brewing, their Trainhopper IPA, and to see more photos of their illuminating tap...




Witch's Hat Brewing Company was founded in South Lyon, Michigan in 2011 by Ryan and Erin Cottongim. The couple grew up in the town, and when they found a used “Mr. Beer” homebrewing kit at a garage sale in 2004, they grew hooked on brewing, with Ryan overcoming some initial bad batches to spend his free time developing and perfecting recipes. By 2010 they had started a local homebrewing club and had already begun bouncing around the idea of a brewery when disaster struck: Ryan and Erin both lost their jobs. However, instead of seeing this as a tragedy, they saw it as an opportunity instead, and decided to open a brewery. They named their brewery Witch's Hat, after the town's hundred-year-old train depot with its distinctive conical design, which is now a museum and events center. The couple was married there in 2007 and it seemed like a unique and obvious choice for a brewery name.


Their first beer was Holy Confusion, a barleywine ale and was contract brewed by Frog Island Brewing. Meanwhile, the couple worked with the Michigan Small Business Technology Development Center, which helps small businesses with business plans and proposals, to turn the idea into reality. They opened their tap room in a space previously occupied by a coffee shop that was able to accommodate about 35 people, and included a gas fireplace and table-tops Erin created using the couple’s extensive beer bottlecap collection. Old-school conductor's lanterns provided ambient lighting while contributing to the train theme. There were 12 taps, including five regular, two seasonal, and five rotating small-batch beers. Root beer and cream soda were available for those who prefer soft drinks. There was no kitchen but customers could bring in their own food. The 1600 square foot brewhouse featured a locally designed and built four-barrel system that could brew 600 barrels per year. The brewery also established a mug club, and provided growler fills and sampler flights.


In 2013 Witch’s Hat Brewing secured a new home within South Lyon, resulting in a larger taproom with seating for 80 and the ability to increase production in a 8,000 square foot building. The search for a newer, larger facility had begun once it became apparent that maximum production capacity at the brewery’s original location was no longer sufficient to satisfy demand. With the new brew-house, Witch’s Hat could increase production to over 2500 barrels per year.  Brewing at the new location began in 2014, with the new taproom opening later that year.  With the added capacity, Witch’s Hat focused on their flagship beers, which was crucial to the company’s plans to increase their presence in southeast Michigan, most notably through those bars and restaurants that supported craft beer. The additional capacity also afforded the opportunity to introduce their specialty beers into the market, and also begin distribution of their popular barrel-aged beers and meads. Their beers are currently distributed throughout Michigan. Witch's Hat is also very active in the local community; collectively the company has raised over $30,000 for local charities including the Humane Society of Huron Valley, Gleaners Food Bank, Blessings in a Backpack and more.


In 2016 Hydro Dynamics, Inc, announced that its technology integrated into the ApoWave hop extraction technology had its first commercial brewery installation at Witch’s Hat Brewing.
Witch’s Hat was the first brewery to conduct onsite R&D with the ApoWave technology, and they will also be the first commercial location. The ShockWave Power Reactor (SPR) cavitation technology can be used for increased hop flavor extraction. This allows brewers to produce bitter beers with 50% to 90% less bittering hops and 50% to 75% less aroma hops for dry hopping.


Train Hopper IPA is Witch's Hat's flagship beer, beautifully balanced and hop forward. It is brewed with 5 different types and American hops and a delicate malt bill to balance. Tasting notes are grapefruit, orange pith, and sourdough, with the bitterness balanced by the malt presence.  It is a runaway train of hop flavor and aroma! Recommended food pairings are spicy foods, Thai food, barbecue, meats, and cheeses.


Ratebeer weighted average:  3.62 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  87 out of 100 (very good)


Witch's Hunt Brewing Company
22235 Pontiac Trail
South Lyon, Michigan 48178




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