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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, November 17, 2016

Tap Handle #638: Local Option Bierwerker

Tap size:  10.75"
Rarity:  readily available
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Considering that Local Option's owner, Tony Russomanno, carries a pocketknife around with him, in that context the design choice for this tap makes perfect sense. Featuring a fully extended switchblade, possibly the coolest feature on the tap is the brewery's logo, sculpted as a three-dimensional medallion, with a profile of a skull sporting a mohawk made from the building skyline of downtown Chicago. The lighting may look a bit off in these photos...I relocated my photo area to the barcade, but I am still working on a good lighting scheme. Although the tap seems small, it is deceptively normal-sized at nearly 11" tall. It is easy to find and is very affordable.

Click through to read more about Local Option Bierwerker, their Dampf Loc all-barley ale, and to see more photos of this cutting edge tap...

Local Option was founded in 2010 in Chicago, Illinois by Tony Russomanno. He took over a bar in 2005 that had a checkered history. In 1985, the district tried to vote itself dry because the bar was a huge problem with drugs and bikers. The owners were selling the bar to a new operator, but the district collected enough signatures so that the new owners had to start over in obtaining their license. Once that went through, the district held a vote to decide whether they would be dry. The name of that vote was called the Local Option vote, but the district lost. The bar won the vote and was renamed Local Option (LO) to irritate its opponents. Russomanno, who had previous experience in running Chicago restaurants and bars, as well as a vast knowledge of European beers, hired friend and former co-worker Noah Hopkins. Once a month, Hopkins would brew small batches of beer at Bluegrass Brewing. Russomanno and Hopkins would then scale them up to contract brew on location at breweries that they admired and trusted, such as Dog Brewing, Against the Grain, Dark Horse, and Central Waters. They focusing on balanced, German-influenced beers with delicate flavor profiles.

Dampf Loc, their first beer, was an all-barley ale, followed by Mourning Wood, an oak-aged coffee amber ale, and Outlawger, a German pilsener. By 2013 their production was about 2000 barrels, with distribution split between Chicago and New York (a small portion was also exported to Western Europe and the UK). Bierwerker beers can be found at 15-20 beer shops in the city and suburbs and more than 180 bars, as well as Local Option itself. The bar has 31 taps that typically carry a mix of European, local and national labels, plays heavy metal music, and serves Cajun-influenced dishes such as Creole wings, po’ boy sandwiches, muffaletta, jambalaya and knockout tacos. They were featured on RateBeer’s “Top 50 Beer Bars in the World” list for several years.

Dampf Loc is an all-barley warm fermented ale inspired by “Dampfbier”, originally crafted by medieval peasant inhabitants of the Bavarian Forest. A modern interpretation of its Teutonic predecessor, this “Hefe Gerste” is true to its roots; unmistakable in character and accessible to beer drinkers of all palates. It has a mild hop profile, medium body and a clear, rich, orange hue.

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

Local Option Bierwerker
1102 W Webster
Chicago, IL 60614

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