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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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Friday, June 9, 2017

Tap Handle #651: Cobbler Mountain Cellars

Tap size:  11.75"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

The Cobbler Mountain tap is one that photos can't do justice to...once you hold it in your hand you appreciate all of the fine details that went into its production. The most prominent features are the large barrel in the middle of the tap and the tree branch that forms the shaft of the tap. The barrel has a symbol on the side that looks Celtic, along with the name of the cidery. That name also appears as recessed letters on the tsp shaft, giving it the appearance of being "carved into the wood". An elf character holding an apple appears on the end of the barrel, and he is designed in bas relief. Finally, at the top of the tap is a circle that bears the same symbol that is found on the side of the barrel; however in this case it is made of brass and die cut. In fact there are matching brass plates above and below the barrel bearing the words "hard cider". It's a beautiful tap and very scarce, too - only 200 were made, and this is the only one I've ever seen at the time of this writing.

When I first spoke with Laura Louden, the owner of Cobbler Mountain Cellars, about acquiring this tap, she was able to provide me with some of the backstory behind it. Louden's father, a writer and teacher, used to tell his students tales about the elves and fairies that lived in the woods, and one of his characters was named "Scrumpy". The elf that appears on the end of the barrel on the tap is also named Scrumpy, in homage to Louden's father and his tales. Scrumpy is also a term used in Western England to refer to what was otherwise called "rough", a harsh cider made from unselected apples. Today the term is more often used to distinguish locally made ciders produced in smaller quantities and using traditional methods, from mass-produced branded ciders.

As a hard cider fan, I also took Laura up on her offer to acquire a case of their ciders, with 8 different varieties to try (see photo to right). I'll be sharing my thoughts about each variety in a subsequent post.

Click through to read more about Cobbler Mountain Cellars and to see more photos of this magical tap...

Cobbler Mountain Cellars was founded in Delaplane, Virginia in 1999 by Jeff Louden and his wife, Laura McCarthy Louden. Laura's father was a writer for the Associated Press and a human rights advocate. Later he became a teacher and advocate for disabled children. He had discovered the Big Cobbler Mountain area in Virginia in 1959, and his love of creatures and exploring led him to purchase 90 acres of land there. But after his early, unexpected passing, the land sat unused for 40 years.

Jeff’s experience with apple trees had begun with gardening and digging in his childhood backyard in Cleveland, Ohio. As an adult, planting became a therapeutic pastime for him, cultivating his passion and curiosity. As a break from the world of finance and business, Jeff studied books and articles on the art of cider making, and he would seek conversations with growers and makers. When he and Laura moved to the property on Cobbler Mountain in 1999, they were able to turn their farm
life dream into a reality. Over the next 10 years they cleared the land, constructed a new road and bridge, planted vines and fruit trees, created hiking trails, built a farmhouse, began making boutique ciders and wines, and opened their doors to visitors in June 2011. 

After years of patience, the farm is seeing its rewards, including award-winning wines and the invitation to serve eight of the wines to the Department of State, Office of Protocol in Washington D.C. They embraced an imaginative environment inspired by Laura's father, where fairies and elves, barefoot children, and fireside stories are part of the place's setting. In 2014 they opened the Tasting Tavern, where ciders and wines are served, and the Casual Loft and Medieval Barrel Dining Room available for rentals. Cobbler Mountain products are distributed in pubs, restaurants and stores throughout Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, and West Virginia, and shipped to other places via UPS. They produce 4 year round varieties of ciders and 6 other seasonals.

Cobbler Mountain Cellars Original Honey is a semi dry cider, with honey on front of palate and ginger gold on the finish. It uses Virginia Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Ginger Gold and local Virginia Honey varieties; this mix is also the original foundation for all of their blends. Original Honey won silver medals at the 2014 & 2015 NY Finger Lakes International Wine Festivals.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.04 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  no entry

Cobbler Mountain Cellars
10363 Moreland Road
Delaplane, VA 20144

Source Material
Cobbler Mountain website and Facebook page

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