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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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Monday, February 20, 2017

Tap Handle #642: Scuttlebutt - Hoptopia Imperial IPA

Tap size:  9.75"
Rarity:  hand made, 10 or less seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Hoptopia is the first of three similar Scuttlebutt taps I own, featuring a "toy on a stick". Despite the toy on a stick look, the tap actually has a lot of small details that give it a little extra pop. The pirate, complete with a hook hand and eyepatch, holds a sign with the name of the beer sculpted into it. The name of the brewery is sculpted letter by letter down the shaft of the tap, and if you look closely you can see small silver nail heads on each letter, making it look as if each of them were nailed on. Hoptopia, along with the other taps in this style, is long out of production, and all of them are highly valued by tap collectors and rarely seen on the secondary market, with each variety commanding prices over $100 (and sometimes twice that).

Click through to read more About Scuttlebutt Brewing, their Hoptopia Imperial IPA, and to see more photos of this salty tap...

Scuttlebutt Brewing Company was founded in Everett, Washington in 1996 by Phil and Cynthia “Scuttle” Bannan. The idea for a brewery originated when Phil received a homebrewing kit for Father’s Day in 1990. As thoughtful as the gift was, it was also a source of strife - Scuttle wanted to use the kitchen for preparing meals for the family while Phil was crowding her out in favor of homemade beer. To maintain marital bliss, they decided to move the brewing out of the kitchen and into a larger operation after researching local operations like Red Hook and Pyramid. A business plan was established in 1995. The name Scuttlebutt, meaning “a drinking fountain on a sailing ship” or gossip, came from Bannan’s wife, Cynthia. She was nicknamed “Scuttlebutt” by her father before her birth when the gossip around Norfolk Naval Station was that Cynthia’s parents were having a baby.

They located the brewery on the Pugest Sound waterfront, which included a restaurant, and brewed their first beer in 1996 with a 20 barrel system in the brew house, two 20 barrel fermenters and one 20 barrel bright tank. Three styles of beer were brewed, and the first year finished with 170 barrels sold. Demand increased over the years, and by 2007 the production part of the brewery moved from the waterfront location to a larger warehouse across town, leaving the old location as a restaurant. The warehouse required some work to turn it into a production brewery, but on completion, the brewery went from the old building with 2,500 square feet and 12-foot ceilings, to the new building with 8,100 square feet and 18-foot ceilings.

In 2010 the restaurant moved to its current location, also on the waterfront. It has great views of Puget Sound and the menu offers a wide variety of options, including the fish and chips, dipped in Scuttlebutt’s special beer batter. Scuttlebutt beers are brewed with Northwest ingredients: barley from Vancouver; hops from Yakima and Mabton, Washington; proprietary yeast from Odell, Oregon; and water from the Spada Reservoir in the Cascade Mountains. The brewery focuses on sustainable practices, sending the spent grain from the beer-making process to feed cattle outside of Arlington, Washington

In 2016 the company finished an expansion of the brewery, which took a full year to complete. In addition to increasing production, a taproom was added, styled in a Prohibition-era speakeasy format, with dark interior and furniture, golden vintage Edison-style lightbulbs and a gorgeous "L"-shaped Redwood bar, sourced from a tree that once towered over property owned by the grandfather of Phil Bannan Sr. along the Russian River in California. The taproom’s 10 taps pour hard-to-find and specialty beers not available in the restaurant, with growler fills available. The bar also features a Crowler machine, or a small-scale beer canning machine. Scuttlebutt used top-of-the-line equipment in the bar, including silicon hoses and seals that will last longer and soda hoses, which are better at not holding onto flavors. 

Currently the brewery produces more than 20 styles of hand-crafted ales and lagers and produce more than 8,000 barrels per year, with their IPA being their most popular beer. The brewery is open for tastings and tours by appointment. They recently began a barrel aging program using rum and whiskey barrels from nearby Woodinville distilleries, and are looking at brewing collaboration beers with other Snohomish County brewers. Distribution was initially in restaurants, alehouses, and grocery stores in town, but has extended throughtout the state, as well as to Oregon, Idaho, Wisconsin, Arizona, and with their collaboration with Total Wine to twelve other states. In addition, Scuttlebutt is available in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China, Canada, England and Russia. The brewery takes part in an annual "Rock the Boat" beer and music festival, which is a collaboration with the Everett Music Initiative.

Hoptopia is an imperial IPA with a very strong hop aroma and flavor, but isn’t as bitter as the Gale Force IPA. There is a strong malt backbone to offer a level of balance but with over two and a half pounds of hops per barrel it resonates hops from start to finish. Hops were added at every stage of the process, including being dry-hopped with chinooks for two weeks. Hop used are chinook, centennial, columbus, cascade, and bullion.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.52 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  86 out of 100 (very good)

Scuttlebutt Brewery and Taproom
3310 Cedar Street
Everett, WA 98201

Scuttlebutt Restaurant
1205 Craftsman Way
Everett, WA 98201

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