If you have tasted the incredible ales and lagers from the Paradox Brewery, chances are it was poured from an unusual handmade beer pull.
In fact the name of one of their signature brews -- Beaver Bite --was inspired by a piece of wood that had been chewed by a Beaver.
Each beer pull is now crafted by two of the brewery’s founding team: Leo Clark and Dave Bruce.
We recently caught up with Dave, as he was varnishing the last batch of around two dozen handles at the brew house workshop.
The wood used is Sumac, Pine and Beech. Dave finds perfect pieces from the west side of Paradox Lake on state land.
His last venture out to get wood was in early November, by boat.
“I had remembered a huge available stash earlier n the summer, but it was gone last time I was out. I rounded a little bay and found a fire pit…looks like some kids had been burning it off all summer."
Lucky for Dave, there was more than enough pieces to be had.
The process is relatively simple. After identifying which pieces will make good handles – which involves keeping and eye out for unusual kinks, knots and patterns -- Dave cuts them to size. Each craftsman has their own approach to the beer pull handles. Leo goes with rounded tops. Each has their own way of making cuts into the wood, giving it a rustic look.
Dave says he likes using Sumac wood. “It's real brilliant fall foliage color with yellow toned wood. You can see the pattern of the grain. It’s a very soft wood and you can’t do much with it, but those who like it, praise it.”
Dave also likes using Beech wood, “because of the smoothness of the wood”.
No matter what the wood used in the handles -- if you haven’t tasted the brewery’s fine ales, pay a visit soon to their tasting room.
And, you can read our other stories on the brewery by clicking the links below.