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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, October 12, 2016

Tap Handle #636: Greenbrier Valley - Wild Trail Pale Ale

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Talk about your creepy taps! Greenbrier Valley has two of them, and this is the first one profiled. It is, I believe, supposed to be Sasquatch's foot on a bike pedal. The brewery's artwork for the beer label features Sasquatch riding a mountain bike, so that does appear to tie the tap to the artwork. However, I would have preferred a tap that had a full figure of Sasquatch on the bike that matched the label since the artwork is very cool. There isn't a lot of detail on the tap except for all the hair sculpted on the foot, and the individual toes and toenails. The base is three-sided, with each side bearing a decal featuring the brewery's name and the name of the beer. The tap doesn't appear on the secondary market very often, but when it does, the price is not too expensive.

Click through to read more about Greenbrier Valley Brewing, their Wild Trail Pale Ale, and to see more photos of this unusual tap...

Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company was founded in Lewisburg, West Virginia in 2014 by Wil Laska and David Kucera. Laska was a retired U.S. Navy pilot, business man, and craft beer connoisseur, while Kucera was a craft beer enthusiast and home brewer. They met in 2012 through a mutual friend, and when they found out that they shared a common interest in craft beer, home brewing and starting their own commercial brewery, they decided to join forces. Once they had formulated a business plan and worked out the finances, it took quite some time to deal with the paperwork and bureaucracy involved in opening the brewery. During that time they hired brew master Brian Reymiller, who had 17 years of experience working at Hops Bar and Brewery, Falls City Brewing Company, and Victory Brewing. The brewery building was a $1.3 million, 13,000 square foot state of the art facility in the Greenbrier Valley Airport Industrial Park, and had the largest fermentation capacity in West Virginia. A 20 barrel brewhouse and over 100 barrels of fermentation space (with room for much more) gave GVBC enormous capacity, and they planned to add two more 1,800 gallon tanks as demand picked up.

The brewery included a boiler to produce the steam required for mashing and boiling, a glycol chiller to cool the  wort after boiling and to control the fermentation temperatures, and a grain mill and grain storage unit. Their set up also included an uncommon mash filter device instead of a lauter tun. The facility began production as a package brewery, not a brew pub, and finally opened its doors for business in 2014. Bottles, cans and statewide distribution at bars and restaurants comprised the brewery’s initial offerings, but future plans include a tasting room adjacent to the production area. The first two beers produced at GVBC were Wild Trail Pale Ale and Mothman IPA. The two owners sought a West Virginia connection for each name. The brewery expanded its line to include such products as Steel Drivin’ Stout (an homage to John Henry), Patrick’s Irish Red, Devilanse Ale and Flanders Red Ale, which made use of bourbon barrels from Smooth Ambler Spirits, an award-winning distillery conveniently located just across the street from GVBC. Since the brewery is located so close to The Greenbrier and its famous congressional Cold War fallout shelter, the brews became known as "The Bunker Series.”

The owners utilized a mobile canning line out of Washington, D.C. to produce six packs for distribution to off-premise retail. But in order to keep up with the high demand and to grow the business, they decided it was time to purchase a canning line of their own. January 2015 marked a historic day both at GVBC and for the State of West Virginia, with the release of GVBC's canned beer. It had been 44 years since beer was last canned in West Virginia, and West Virginia became the last US state to offer a canned craft beer. More employees were hired for the labor intensive canning line, and the canning machine allowed workers to control the beer in terms of carbonation levels. The brewery claimed consumers would notice a longer shelf life and an enhanced taste.

Later in 2015, the taproom was added, where beers were available for sampling, growlers could be refilled, and patrons could play darts and giant Jenga. Brewery tours are held every Saturday afternoon. The brewery hosts many events on a weekly and monthly basis with the 1st Saturday Concert Series bringing a diverse selection of musical acts and local food vendors. Yoga classes are offered every other Thursday. The brewery also hosts Ultimate Frisbee Exhibition games with the Fuster Ultimate Frisbee team. Ultimate Frisbee is similar to football with two team on a field with end zones, but with a flying disc instead of a ball. Teams score by catching a pass in their opponents’ end zones. Non-stop action and limitless flying options of the disc make this a sport that is both fun to play and fun to watch.

Wild Trail Pale Ale is a medium bodied golden-amber pale ale. Featuring the choicest hops from the Pacific Northwest, they lend a robust mango, tangerine, and piney flavor. The beer is also dry hopped to add a slight floral and hoppy note. The robust hops are balanced by a blend of British floor malted barley and American 2-row. Enjoy at home or after an adventure on one of West Virginia’s "wild trails".

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.29 out of 5
Beer Advocate: 85 out of 100 (very good)

Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company
862 Industrial Park Rd Suite A
Maxwelton, West Virginia 24957

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