AMAZING TAP HANDLES!!!

About This Site

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.

Copyright Legalities

Photos or tap descriptions used in this blog may not be misrepresented as your own. Photos may not be used for financial gain whatsoever, as the uniqueness of the photo would unfairly associate a seller's product and reputation with this site. Tap descriptions may be used word for word as long as this blog is cited as the source, and a link is provided to this site.

Brewery history may not be used for any reason without citing the blog post or original source from which it was taken, and providing a link to such.

Failure to follow the guidelines above is a violation of Copyright Law, which protects original works of ownership.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Tap Handle #747: Gatlinburg Brewing

Tap size:  11.25"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

I've known about this tap for a couple of years, but it only just recently became available to me thanks to a couple of club members and owner Steve Wilson. It features a bear dressed for the outdoors, with a camera in one paw and a big frothy beer in the other. As if the character wasn't unusual enough, he also possesses a long white beard and mustache. The bear's ears poke through his hat and his tail pokes through the seat of his pants. On the back of each shoe that the bear is wearing are the initials GBC. At the base is a large round area where a label bearing the brewery name is found, on both the front and the back. There is no label for the beer variety; the tap is used for all of the brewery's beers (I'll be profiling their Don't Feed the Bears Brown Ale). There's currently one on the secondary market but the price is extremely high; other than that one, I haven't seen another.

Click through to read more about Gatlinburg Brewing and to see more photos of this tap of unusual character...

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Tap Handle #746: Einstök - White Ale

Tap size:  10.75"
Rarity:  import, tap out of production
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

The double-bladed axe tap handle produced by Einstök Brewing in Iceland is influenced by the Viking people who settled Iceland in the late 9th century. The shaft of the axe bears the name of the brewery on all 4 sides, and includes the brewery's symbol (a silhouette of a helmeted Viking). Above the name, front and back, are elaborate patterns sculpted into the tap, while turning the tap to the side reveals the name of the beer variety, which is also sculpted. The beer variety can be difficult to spot due to the dark blue lettering on the dark grey background. Since the front and back are identical to each other, I have reduced the number of photos taken. This tap is no longer used by the brewery; instead, they have switched to a flat metal version that uses stickers for beer variety. Because this tap is retired, it is much harder to find than the current metal tap, but it is still fairly affordable when it appears on the secondary market.

Click through to read more about Einstök Brewing, their White Ale, and to see more photos of this very sharp tap...

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Tap Handle #745: Berghoff - Genuine Dark

Tap size:  8.5"
Rarity:  beer variety no longer produced
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This tap first appeared around 2006, tying it to the year in which Mountain Crest bought Joseph Huber Brewing Company (who was contract brewing Berghoff beers) and renamed it Minhas Brewing. Although several copies of this tap have cropped up on the secondary market over the years, this is one of only 3 or 4 that I've seen that had a label attached for the beer variety. The label gives the tap some extra character, as it humorously presents itself as a name tag. The tap itself, made of acrylic, looks like a glass of beer, right down to the dozens of little bubbles inside of it. The backside is flat. Since there isn't a lot of detail, I did not take any close up photos. Although the tap is a bit simplistic, I wanted it because of Berghoff's long and unique history, which was quite a challenge to piece together. I mentioned above that several of these have appeared on the secondary market over the years, although it's not clear if the tap is still currently in production. In addition to missing the label, several of these that have been presented for sale are scratched, as the acrylic, though fairly durable under normal use, is soft enough to be easily scratched.

Click through to read more about Berghoff, it's Genuine Dark beer, and to see more photos of this storied tap...

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Tap Handle #744: Budweiser - Bronze Hunting Dog

Tap size:  7"
Rarity:  about 10 seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

In the past I profiled a series of taps from Budweiser that share a common theme: a bronze colored sculpting on a wide base, with a label wrapped around it. These consist of the baseball player (tap profile #69), the bronco rider (tap profile #72), the football player (tap profile #85), the bull rider (tap profile #78), and the Clydesdale (tap profile #331), which are all part of what is referred to as the Heritage Collection. These are among the oldest taps I have, as you can tell by some of the low profile numbers. However, there is a sixth tap that is far more elusive, and took me a long time to acquire: this hunting dog. Like the Clydesdale tap, this one's a little on the small side, but the detail is impressive. As I mentioned above, the hunting dog is difficult to find. It is unknown how many were made, and for what specific purpose, but it appears that the first few that appeared back in 2006 (the year of manufacture) sold for a reasonable price. By 2015 the scarcity, combined with the desire of buyers looking to complete their Heritage Collection, had pushed it over the $100 mark, where it is still valued today - if you can find one.

For more about Budweiser, see this post.

Click through to see more photos of this sought-after tap...

Friday, January 3, 2020

Tap Handle #743: Moddy Brew - Gorgon Conquest Red Ale

Tap size: 12"
Rarity:  limited to 100 made
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

The first tap profile of 2020 comes directly from Moddy Brew. This has to be one of the most beautiful and amazing taps I've ever seen. It features a red-haired girl slaying a Medusa, also known as a Gorgon. As a big mythology and history buff, I am totally mesmerized by this tap! The sculpting and colors are exquisite, and if you look closely there are all kinds of minor details, such as bugs on the rocks at the base, snakes moving up the shaft of the spear, and sculpted patterns in the armor of the girl and the Gorgon.

Last July I did a profile on Moddy Brew's first tap, Deep Troubles. In that post I explained how I was struck by the the fact that you cannot see the girl's face...yet now the girl's face is visible. This is significant and you can find out what I learned as you read more of the write up.

The labels (pictured, right) are meant to be applied over the "M B" on the oval shaped stone just below the Gorgon. As was the case with the first tap, only 100 of these taps have been made, and each comes with a certificate of authenticity. You can order this tap through Moddy Brew's Facebook page, and it can also be found on eBay (search for "Moddy tap"), while supplies last.

For more about Moddy Brew, see this post.

Click through to read about the mysterious reveal behind the design and to see more photos of this legendary tap...

Monday, December 30, 2019

Tap Handle #742 - Three Huskies

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen, nanobrewery
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Thanks go out to one of my club members, as well as Justin Henderson, the owner of Three Huskies Brewing, for getting this tap into my hands and thus into the Museum. At the top of the tap is a place for labels; the upper label is shaped like a paw print with the brewery's initials in the center. Below that is a place for a label with the beer variety that goes over the brewery's logo (see photo to right...I'll be profiling the brewery's Snow Nose Scotch Ale.) The rest of the tap consists of, appropriately, the likeness of three Huskies, who gave the brewery its name. They include Justin's two dogs Akira and Aurora, and also Stella, which belonged to Justin's parents, Todd and Mary. The dogs each face a different direction, providing all sorts of display opportunities. Only a couple of these taps have appeared on the secondary market and have commanded a premium price.

Unfortunately Stella passed away since the brewery opened, but she is remembered in the logo and tap handle. Skye is the newest member of the brewery's pack, ensuring that the name Three Huskies is still very much appropriate.

Click through to read more about Three Huskies Brewing, their Scotch Ale, and to see more photos of this tap full of character...

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Tap Handle #741: Fegley's Brew Works

Tap size:  11.5"
Rarity: readily available, fragile
Mounting:  custom 3/8" ferrule on 3/8" anchor bolt

Although the Fegley's tap has been around for quite some time, it took awhile for me to get my hands on a decent one. The first one I purchased off the secondary market arrived broken in several pieces. Months later, so did a second one. I wasn't having much luck getting through to the brewery, but then I stumbled across this brand new one for a great price. Finally, Fegley's gets their Museum profile! I really like the look of the tap, with lots of gears and pipes that pay homage to the steelworkers who worked in the same town that the brewery is in. At the top of the tap is the brewery's name, with an 8 pointed, compass-like star below that, which is the brewery's symbol. Halfway down the tap is a large black circle within a gear, where beer labels are placed (I'll be profiling their Hop'solutely Triple IPA). The unique custom ferrule at the bottom is a nice touch. The front and back of the tap are reverse images of each other. These are easy to find on the secondary market and the price is usually very reasonable. With all the corners and gear edges that are exposed, the taps can be easily damaged so prospective buyers should examine taps closely.

Click through to read more about Fegley's Brew Works, their Hop'solutely Triple IPA, and to see more photos of this industrious tap...

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Tap Handle #740: Cervecería Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma - Dos Equis Lager Especial

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  fragile, import
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Way back in 2014, tap profile #396, I presented a Dos Equis Ambar Masquerade tap. This Lager Especial tap is the companion piece. It took me some time to find one at a decent price that did not have any damage to it. In that profile I explained that these taps were created in 2013 as part of a Halloween promotion that included a contest to win a trip to Miami and be in the Dos Equis Ultimate Masquerade Party. The promo ran from September 1st to October 31st, 2013. This tap, and its companion red tap for Ambar, were initially limited and hard to come by, but over the years they have popped up on the secondary market at times, usually for an affordable price. It's important to look for damage, however, as the many ridges and corners found on the tap tend to take abuse.

For more about Cervecería Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma and their Dos Equis brand, see this post.

Click through to read more about Cervecería Cuauhtémoc-Moctezuma's Dos Equis Lager Especial and to see more photos of this masquerading tap...

Friday, December 20, 2019

Tap Handle #739: Smashin Crab

Tap size:  10.75"
Rarity:  readily available
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This tap comes to the Museum thanks to the efforts of a collectors club member, as well as Autum, one of the owners of Smashin Crab. It's a fantastic and beautiful tap featuring the restaurant's logo at the top: a crab with a mallet inside of a life preserver. The tap itself looks like a weathered pier, with rope near the top and seaweed at the bottom. A brass colored frame on the base surrounds the name of the restaurant, which appears as a decal in white lettering. Regarding the design and use of the tap, Autum provided me with the following:

"The most interesting thing about the Smashin Crab Tap Handle is that it was NOT designed for beer or a brewery at all! They were made to be used to dispense our Signature Cocktails. There were initially 8 taps produced for the first 2 restaurants. The pieces were designed and executed by Steel City Tap Co. out of Birmingham, AL. Producing such a detailed design for the very small order was met with much opposition, but Smashin Crab was very persistent in getting the work done. Around a year later, 100 more taps were commissioned to accommodate for growth in the San Antonio market and for future franchising. 

The piece has taken on a life of it's own, with interest of collectors across the country without having stepped foot in any Smashin Crab location. The copper plates were created by our handy man to put the final touch of class on our bar display."

If you would like to purchase your own Smashin Crab tap handle, send Smashin Crab a message via their website contact form, or through their Facebook site. The cost is $115.

Click through to read more about Smashin Crab and to see more photos of this smashingly good tap...

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Tap Handle #738: Furnace Room - Wright House Red Ale

Tap size:  10.5"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This is the fourth and final Furnace Room tap that I will be profiling. The Wright House Red Ale tap handle's main feature is a column of red brick. At the top is decal with the name of the beer. Below that, a vintage steam engine protrudes from the brick structure. Under that is a decal with the words "red ale" against a white background, and at the very bottom is the label bearing the brewery's name. Sculpted streams of steam come off the the engine's smokestack and wrap all the way around to the back of the tap. On the sides, below the brick, are the flame decals that are the brewery's symbol and are seen on some of the other Furnace Room taps. I hate to sound like a broken record, but I have never seen a Wright House tap on the secondary market, and as I have stated previously, Furnace Room's production brewery has only been open for a year, so it's possible some of these could pop up in the future.


The Wright House (located across the parking lot from the Furnace Room Brewery) dates back to the early 20th century. Originally called The Railway Exchange Hotel, and then later The Station House Hotel, it was built by John Higgins, who saw the opportunity to cater to traffic created by eighteen passenger trains passing through Georgetown daily right on his doorstep. Higgins was married to George Kennedy's daughter (Kennedy was Georgetown's founder) and had the resources for construction. The building was purchased in 1913 by experienced hotelier Harry Wright. With the heavy rail traffic, and two paper mills directly across the tracks, the hotel was serving sometimes 200 meals daily during peak periods. The Grand Trunk Railway used the Exchange Hotel for passenger accommodation when a train accident occurred locally. The Wright family often supplied blankets to stranded passengers who were satisfied to sleep on the floor during emergencies. Harry Wright’s grandson, Glen Wright Hillock, was one the last family members to operate the hotel which closed in 2003. Like the former McGibbon Hotel in the downtown core, plans are underway for the old Station House Hotel to be partially preserved and provide accommodation to a new generation of Georgetown residents. Habitat for Humanity has recently purchased the site with hopes of constructing four townhouses.


Remnants of the Wright House circa 2017
For more about Furnace Room Brewery, see this post.

Click through to read more about Furnace Room Brewery's Wright House Red Ale and to see more photos of this landmark tap...

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Tap Handle #737: Furnace Room - Dynamo Cream Lager

Tap size:  10.5"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This is third of four taps I'm profiling from Furnace Room Brewing. Dynamo Cream Lager features a large turbine consisting of black, copper and brass colors, with black hoses on top of a normal-looking base. The front and back are reverse images of each other. Like the previous two taps I profiled, the Dynamo tap has a decal on the base bearing the beer name, while the brewery's name appears at the bottom on a label. And like the Chicken Man tap, the base has another decal on each side featuring a flame, the symbol of the brewery. I love the industrial look of the turbine/dynamo on the top half of the tap. I have never seen a Dynamo tap on the secondary market, but as I have stated previously, Furnace Room's production brewery has only been open for a year, so it's possible some of these could pop up in the future.


Built in 1888, the first electrical power station in Georgetown, Ontario was constructed by John R. Barber. The Barber brothers bought a wool mill and foundry along the Credit River in 1837, with the intent to turn it into a paper mill. They named the settlement which was quickly growing nearby 'Georgetown' (it was formerly called 'Hungry Hollow'). The converted wool mill began to use and produce rag paper. James Barber took over sole ownership of the mill from his 3 brothers; later, control of the mill passed to his son John. With the growth of the famous Canadian Grand Trunk Railway, and John's innovations, the mill switched over to wood pulp, employing hundreds of workers on almost 12.5 acres.

Remnants of the Credit River Dynamo
By this point, business was good enough that they were able to commission the construction of a hydro station several kilometres upstream, realizing the power that could further be harnessed from the Credit River. By damming the river, he created a waterfall that powered the turbines that ran the Dynamo. Remnants of the Dynamo and the dam are still visible today. The paper mill was the first business in North America to use long-distance power, and made many contributions to almost every aspect of Ontario's paper industry.

Barber's paper mill info courtesy of Jonathan Castellino at blogTO. Info on the Credit River Dynamo and still image (from video) courtesy of AuroraRon's video on Youtube.

For more about Furnace Room Brewery, see this post.

Click through to read more about Furnace Room Brewery's Dynamo Cream Ale and to see more photos of this historic tap...

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Tap Handle #736: Furnace Room - Beardmore Kolsch

Tap size:  10.75"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  custom flared 3/8' ferrule

This is the second of four taps I'm profiling from Furnace Room Brewery. This one features a large blue-faced head, with the most striking aspect being the long blonde beard. The head, which represents a man named George Beardmore, sits on top of a black base, which itself represents the Beardmore water tower in Georgetown, Ontario. As on the previous tap profiled Chicken Man, the Beardmore tap  has a decal on the base bearing the beer name, while the brewery's name appears at the bottom on a label, and the colors appear to be an artistic choice. This one is just slightly more more rare than the Chicken Man, as I have never seen a Beardmore tap on the secondary market, but as I have stated previously, Furnace Room's production brewery has only been open for a year, so it's possible some of these could pop up in the future.


Beardmore Tannery circa 1918
George Beardmore was born in Islington, London, England, on February 16, 1818. At the age of 14 he sailed from Bristol to Canada. He returned to England briefly in 1838, heading back to Canada in 1839 with his younger brother, Joseph, in tow. In 1840 the two brothers built the first stone tannery building in Canada, in Hamilton. The Beardmores worked hard and expanded and created a successful leather business. On the night of July 11, 1840, disaster struck when the tannery was destroyed by fire. Joseph Beardmore's health failed and he returned to England in 1846. He died 6 years later at the age of 33. George was able to re-established himself in Toronto, where he engaged in business as a leather merchant and at the same time continued to supply the trade in Hamilton. He then bought a small tannery at Grand River which was later destroyed by fire. Next, he bought a tannery in Guelph. In 1865 he closed shop in Guelph and headed to Acton, where he purchased the Sessions, Toby and Co. tannery in 1865. His four sons joined him into the business. In 1872 a fire destroyed most of the buildings but the Beardmores were able to rebuild. By 1899, after briefly moving to Muskoka and then returning to Acton, the Beardmore tanneries had a million square feet of floor space, the largest tanning operation in the British Empire. The iconic Beardmore and Co. water tower stood high above the many buildings that covered the 160-acre site.


The Beardmore Tannery was closed in 1986 and most of the buildings were taken down by the Mennonites in 1998. This picture of the Beardmore Tannery water tower (see left) was taken around 1995. The Old Hide House is located in one of Beardmore's warehouses. In 1974 Acton was amalgamated with the Town of Georgetown and incorporated as the Town of Halton Hills.

Beardmore information courtesy of Hidden Ontario: Secrets from Ontario’s Past by Terry Boyle; Halton Images; and www.eureka4you.com.

For more about Furnace Room Brewery, see this post.

Click through to read more about Furnace Room Brewery's Beardmore Kolsch and to see more photos of this iconic tap...

Friday, December 13, 2019

Tap Handle #735: Furnace Room - Chicken Man Pale Ale

Tap size:  10.5"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen, import
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This tap comes to the Museum courtesy of a collectors club member and Mike Glockner, one of the owners of Furnace Room Brewery. It is the first of 4 taps that I will be profiling from the brewery. The Chicken Man tap features a man holding a chicken behind the handlebars and tire of a bicycle, along with the front portion of a crate. On the shaft below is a decal bearing the beer name, while the brewery's name appears at the bottom on a label. On each side of the shaft is another decal featuring a flame, the symbol of the brewery. Except for the label and decals, the rest of the tap is colored in shades of green. Why green? I can't be certain - it may just be an artistic decision - but I will share that information if I get it. The Chicken Man was an actual real person as you will see below, and all of Furnace Room's beers, art and taps are themed off of places or legends in their hometown of Georgetown, Ontario. I've only seen one of these taps appear on the secondary market, so it is currently quite rare, but Furnace Room's production brewery has only been open for a year, so it's possible more of these could pop up in the future.

The Chicken Man is the nickname of an actual person named George Chaplin. He became a cult figure in Georgetown, Ontario where he used to ride his bike around town, transporting his pet chicken named "Cluck Cluck" everywhere he went. Originally the chicken was contained by a green milk crate on the front of his bike. After Chaplin took a particularly nasty spill one day, Cluck Cluck was moved to a crate on the back of the bike. Chaplin was a friendly person who would stop and talk to anyone, adding to his cult status. On one blog, a post titled "10 signs you grew up in Georgetown" listed #7 as: "You consider the Chicken Man both a local celebrity and a friend." According to some reports, Chaplin passed away in 2013.

Click through to read more about Furnace Room Brewery, their Chicken Man Pale Ale, and to see more photos of this legendary tap...

Monday, December 2, 2019

Tap Giveaway #15 - Results

This contest closed without any entries. I will have another contest sometime next year. For now, it's back to more tap profiles...

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Tap Giveaway #15 Announcement

It's time for another tap giveaway! This will be the 15th contest that the Museum has sponsored. Previous tap contest entries and winners were:

#1 - East Coast Taps nautical theme - won by Denis G. (out of 3 entries received for trivia contest)
#2 - Florida Keys mermaid - won by Sean W. (out of 6 entries received)
#3 - Big Dawg - won by Charlie W. (out of 4 entries received)
#4 - Beer Army - won by Ariel N. (out of 15 entries received)
#5 - Beer Army #2 - won by Larry C. (out of 14 entries received)
#6 - Red Hook Seedy Blonde - won by Bill S. (out of 13 entries received)
#7 - Leinenkugal IPL - won by John P. (out of 12 entries received)
#8 - Shiner Smokehaus - won by Graham B. (out of 12 entries received)
#9 - Haacht Rince Cochon - won by Blair B. (out of 15 entries received)
#10 - Hobgoblin (new style) x 2 - won by Patrick M. and Doug K. (out of 22 entries received)
#11 - Celt Thirsty Warrior - won by Jeff H. (out of 16 entries)
#12 - Leinenkugal IPL - won by Ken M. (out of 5 entries received)
#13 - Small Town Brewery Not Your Father's Root Beer - won by Al L. (out of 13 entries)
#14 - Small Town Brewery Not Your Father's Root Beer - won by Martin A. (out of 13 entries)

Market value of taps given away to date: approximately $770

I'm giving the winner their choice of one of the following three taps:


Tap #1: Leinenkugal IPL - The tap is new and unused in its original box. This is the same tap given away in contests #7 and #12. It is made to look like a wooden post with signs nailed to it.












Tap #2: Rivertown Pumpkin - The tap is new and unused in its original box. This is the same tap you'll find in profile# 586.













Tap #3: Pabst Old Tankard Ale - The tap is new and unused in its original box.












To enter the contest, you need only submit your name through the "Contact Me" feature in the sidebar, or email me if we've been in contact previously. In a bit of a change from previous contests (since I'm on a time constraint) I will choose one winner at random on Monday, December 2nd, so you have until Sunday, December 1st, 11:59 pm PST to enter. Once I announce the winner they will have 48 hours to respond to my email or I will choose a new winner. The two taps which are not chosen will be used for future giveaways. Good luck!

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Museum Turns 8 Years Old, Part 4: Upcoming Tap Profiles

A couple of years ago I added a new feature that was essentially a sneak peak of upcoming profiles. Although some of those profiles still haven't made an appearance due to various reasons, I felt that the topic was worth revisiting. Last year I was only able to profile 5 of the 10 taps I had chosen. Click through to find out which additional 5 taps I hope to profile over the next year...

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Museum Turns 8 Years Old, Part 3: Top 10 Taps Acquired This Year

"Top 10 Taps Acquired This Year" is a feature I debuted last year, and it turned out to be one of my most popular posts, so I thought I'd bring it back again this year. It's an opportunity to share some of my favorite acquisitions with my readers when you wouldn't see them otherwise for years. I've already profiled many great new acquisitions from partnerships with breweries this past year, such as Mission Springs, Labyrinth, Freigeist Bierkultur, Lake Monster, True Vine, Departed Souls, Karbach, Ghostface, South Beach, and Moon Under Water. Since those taps have already appeared on the site, in this post I'm going to focus on other taps I acquired that have not been profiled yet. Click through to see the taps, which have been presented in no particular order...

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Museum Turns 8 Years Old, Part 2: Individual Tap Statistics



In Part 2 of my series of anniversary posts, it's time to take a look at individual tap statistics. To revisit the concept, I'm listing which taps generate the most page views on the site. I've divided the rankings based on the year that I profiled the tap, so I've listed the 20 taps with the most views for Year 1, Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, Year 5, and Year 7. Since fewer taps were profiled in Year 6 and Year 8, only the top 10 will be ranked for those years. The number in parenthesis is the previous year's ranking if different than the current year; "NR" means the tap was not on the list last year. The first tap on the list has the most views, and the other taps follow in descending order.

There was a bit of movement for each year, although only a little at the top spots. Year 5 had a new #1, while Year 6 was unchanged. As expected, Year 7 saw a lot of movement, with 4 new taps on the list, and an octopus and kraken in the top 2 spots.

Click through to see the lists..

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Museum Turns 8 Years Old, Part 1: Summary and Statistics

Another year, another set of anniversary posts to celebrate the founding of the Museum and this blog. This first post takes a brief look at the past year and what I hope to accomplish over the next year, plus site statistics.

Click through to read more...

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Tap Handle #734: Wildrose

Tap size:  11.25"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

I purchased this tap from a friend and fellow club member who gave me a great deal on it, and I wanted it badly. The detail on this tap is incredible...it is basically a three sided tap, with a skull on each side. Underneath each skull is a pink colored rose. A sign on the front top has the name of the brewery, while another sign under the rose says "Brewing". The skulls, roses and signs are attached to a rust-colored, leather-clad post in the center that has barb wire wrapped around it. The tap has so much character, and the skulls definitely lend a morbid, creepy factor - but in a cool way, of course - this is a highly desirable collectible! No beer variety is found on the tap; instead it is used for all of the brewery's varieties (I'll be profiling their Mad Cow Milk Stout). This was one of the ten taps I was looking forward to profiling in my anniversary post from last year, so I'm happy to finally get it done. This tap has certainly been pretty scarce, with only perhaps a half dozen appearing on the secondary market at premium prices.

Note: Wildrose Brewing is not to be confused with Wild Rose Brewery, which was a Canadian brewer that was eventually consumed by Sleeman.

Click through to read more about Wildrose Brewing, their Mad Cow Milk Stout, and to see more photos of this incredible tap...

Monday, November 4, 2019

Tap Handle #733: Snowshoe - Weizen (Snoweizen)

Tap size:  10"
Rarity:  none
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

I'm taking a brief respite from recent brewery acquisitions to return to posting a couple of older taps. This tap is a classic from Snowshoe Brewing. To my knowledge it first appeared around 2007 or 2008, and their are several variations depending on variety. Featuring a snowshoe, appropriately enough, what differentiates the tap varieties are the names of the individual beers in raised, sculpted letters on banner that appears in a few different colors such as red, blue and green. There is also a variety that simply says "Snowshoe" with no beer name. Weizen is an older beer name that is now referred to as Snoweizen. Since the front and back are nearly identical (there are very minor differences), I've reduced the number of photos taken. It's a great tap to display next to Snowshoe's Grizzly tap, which I posted about in profile #511. They do pop up on the secondary market from time to time but the price has been wildly unpredictable.

For more about Snowshoe Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Snowshoe Brewing's Snoweizen and to see more photos of this chill tap...

Friday, November 1, 2019

Tap Handle #732: Moon Under Water - Tranquility IPA

Tap size:  10.25"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

I was able to acquire this tap thanks to one of my club members and Anne Farmer, one of the owners of Moon Under Water Pub and Brewery. Produced to commemorate the 50th anniversary (July 2019) of NASA's Apollo 11 mission which resulted in Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon, it's very impressive, not only in design but also in stability...this tap has some serious weight to it. An astronaut holds a large sign where a label can be placed (I have taken a photo of the 2 labels I received, to the right). This feature allows the tap to be used for all their beer varieties. The name of the brewery appears as a decal on a raised section on the base of the tap. On the astronaut's backpack are the words: "One small step for man One great beer for mankind". Below the backpack are some moon rocks that add a nice finishing touch. The bluish color scheme is pretty striking and I had to use a special filter on my camera to capture it properly. I've only seen a few of these hit the secondary market.

On July 16, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a journey to the Moon and into history. Four days later, while Collins orbited the Moon in the command module, Armstrong and Aldrin landed Apollo 11’s lunar module, Eagle, on the Moon’s Sea of Tranquility, becoming the first humans to set foot on the lunar surface. In July 2019, NASA commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission with a series of activities that included interviews with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins; hosting the Apollo 50 Festival, a free three-day event on the National Mall in Washington; dedication of Postal Service commemorative stamps; TV broadcasts; ringing the closing bell on Wall Street; a concert at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington; and several other events.

Click through to read more about Moon Under Water Pub and Brewery, their Tranquility IPA, and to see more photos of this out-of-this-world tap...

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Tap Handle #731: South Beach - Sail Ale

Tap size:  13.25"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen, nanobrewery
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This is the fourth and final tap from South Beach Brewing that I will be profiling. I can't really tell you much about about it, because I can't find a reference to it or a corresponding beer on South Beach's website...the box that it came in calls it "Sail Ale" but that name isn't found on the tap anywhere. I suspect that it might be used for the brewery's experimental beers brewed in-house at the nanobrewery, as opposed to their core beers which are brewed by a contract brewer. I wanted it because it's nautical and completes the set of South Beach taps. It features a wooden sailboat with what I assume is an artistic rendering of the sun near the top of the sails. The boat sits on waves, which in turn are on top of the brewery logo (Frank Sunatra). The word "ALE" appears as raised letters on both the front and back of the sails, as well as on a banner that appears at the top of the sail on the back side. The boat has port holes that only appear on the front side. It's a great nautical themed tap, and if I learn more about it in the future I will provide an update. As of the time of this post, I have not seen this tap on the secondary market.

Click through to see more photos of this intrepid tap...

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Tap Handle #730: South Beach - Sunset Blood Orange IPA

Tap size:  13.25"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen, nanobrewery, contract brewed
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Sunset Blood Orange IPA is the third tap from South Beach Brewing that I'm profiling, and it's a great one! Just like the other South Beach taps, it is very colorful and features a unique character that South Beach refers to as Conchy Astaire, The Flamingo. Per the brewery's website:

"Conchy is our Blood Orange IPA Mascot. Created with brilliant bright feathers and a dapper feathered hat, Conchy is always the talk of South Beach. He loves sipping fresh Florida OJ during brunch and eating local Florida shrimp. Although he’s an enormous celebrity in South Beach, you hardly see him out in public anymore. Nobody knows why."

Conchy, like Fred Pestaire in the previous post, is pretty chill with a stylish hat that has a feather stuck in it. Also like Fred, the name of the beer appears as raised letters, but on Conchy it is on his neck and wing. The stylish flamongo stands on top of the brewery logo (Frank Sunatra), in front of a piece of a blood orange. Unlike Fred, a Conchy sold on the secondary market for well over $100.

For more about South Beach Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about South Beach Brewing's Sunset Blood Orange IPA and to see more photos of this brilliant tap...

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Tap Handle #729: South Beach - Strawberry Orange Mimosa

Tap size:  12.5" tall by 4" wide
Rarity:  less than 10 seen, nanobrewery, contract brewed
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This next tap from South Beach is probably my favorite of the 4. The character's name is Fred Pestaire, The Pelican, South Beach's Strawberry Orange Mimosa Mascot. Per the brewery's website:

"He’s a true gentleman always dressed in a tuxedo with a top hat and a cigar. He loves his fans and thanks God each day for his wings and blue feet. Although he’s extremely friendly, if he were to wink at you it’s a secret sign that you’re part of his secret circle. Consider yourself very lucky."

Fred Pestaire is quite a dapper fellow in his top hat, bow tie and tuxedo. He is perched on an orange and a strawberry, which in turn is sitting on top of the brewery logo (Frank Sunatra). The cigar in his mouth is visible from either side. The name of the beer appears as raised letters on both sides of the beak. This is just an amazing tap and you have to see it in person to appreciate it. I listed the 4" depth from the back of the pelican's head to the tip of the beak, as it is wider than a normal tap, although if the tap is oriented correctly the wider depth won't be an issue. A couple of these have appeared on the secondary market, but to my knowledge have not sold.

For more information about South Beach Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about South Beach's Strawberry Orange Mimosa and to see more photos of this stylish hat...

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Tap Handle #728: South Beach - South Peach Shandy (Venus)

Tap size:  13"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen, fragile, nanobrewery, contract brewed
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Many thanks to one of my club members and Devon of South Beach Brewing Company for their assistance in obtaining not just one South Beach tap, but 4! This tap, referred to as "Venus" by the brewery, is their standard tap that is used for most beers, as it has a sign in the center in which a magnetic label can be placed. The overall design involves an abstract woman made out of pieces of fruit, ocean waves, normal body parts, and a strategically placed palm tree; although I don't know the origin of the character, the fruit is obviously a reference to the various Florida fruits used in South Beach beers. What I do know is that the character that appears in their logo (and which you will see on all the taps) is "Frank Sunatra", their mascot and the face of the brewery. In the brewery's words:

"Always smiling, you can find him sunning on the beach surrounded by coconut palm trees, blue skies and the beautiful blue colored ocean water. In case you need to find him, his GPS coordinates are always with him and if those don’t work, just follow his compass. When you greet him just remember to smile and buy him a beer."

Here, Frank Sunatra appears in the brewery logo at the top of the tap. At the bottom of the tap is a small sign that I believe reads "S 28.1 W 80.7". It's a little tough to be sure that what I've written is correct due to the artistic styling of the numbers. I also can't make any sense out of what the numbers mean; I originally thought it might be latitude and longitude values, but that would be located off the west coast of South America and is far from the brewery. For now it's a mystery, and if I find out more I will update this post. In summary, the tap is fantastic, truly a work of art based on the color and composition. A few have hit the secondary market but the price has been all over the place. The tap is a bit fragile, as all the exposed edges are prone to chipping.

Click through to read more about South Beach Brewing Company, their South Peach Shandy, and to see more photos of this fruitful tap...

Friday, September 13, 2019

Tap Handle #727: Ghostface

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This tap is so cool! A big thanks to one of my club members and Mike Cuddy of Ghostface Brewing for hooking me up with this tap and adding it to the Museum. It features a skeletal arm that holds a round disc (which resembles a hockey puck a bit), which in turn bears the name and logo of the brewery (and the words "spooky good"). The tap is not variety specific and is used for all of the brewery's beers (I have chosen to profile their Tempted Angel Belgian Dubbel). The spotty bronze/metallic coloration of the bones are a really unique touch and enhances the cool factor. I have not seen these on the secondary market.

Click through to read more about Ghostface Brewing, their Tempted Angel Belgian Dubbel, and to see more photos of this scary good tap...

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Tap Handle #726: Karbach - Hopadillo IPA

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

This is the second Karbach tap that I obtained from the brewery, and I really like the character who sits at the top of the tap: the Hopadillo. It's a fierce-looking armadillo made of hops. According to the brewery, he lurks in the shadows, waiting in bold anticipation. He's surprisingly bitter. Bitter about something. Legend has it that he feasts on those with fresh hops coursing through their veins. About a half dozen of these taps have appeared on the secondary market at very reasonable prices, although it's been a few months since one appeared.

For more about Karbach Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Karbach Brewing's Hopadillo IPA and to see more photos of this monstrous tap...

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Update 8-13-19

I have a few more breweries for whom I promised an immediate profile about them and their tap handles. As a result, next up will be another tap from Karbach, followed by one from Ghostface Brewing, 4 taps from South Beach Brewing, and one from Moon Under Water Brewing.

Once those are complete, I'll resume creating profiles for older pieces in the collection...

Monday, August 12, 2019

Tap Handle #725: Karbach (Anheuser-Busch) - Yule Shoot Your Eye Out Red Ale

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

Many thanks to Rachel of Karbach Brewing for helping me to add this tap to the Museum! I'll be the first to admit that while I do enjoy the movie "A Christmas Story", after repeated viewings some of the humor has worn thin. I will also admit that some of it never gets old, no matter how many times it's watched, and some of its catch phrases and imagery are deeply ingrained in pop culture. The hideous yet hilarious "leg lamp" is certainly one of those pop culture icons that is instantly recognizable as having come from the movie. That lamp appears here, with both leg base and lampshade included. It stands on a crate adorned in red and green holiday colors, with the name of the brewery on two faces of the crate and the name of the beer on the other two faces. The name of the beer evokes a sequence in the movie where young Ralphie is not allowed to own a BB gun, as his mother tells him it's because, "you'll shoot your eye out." In a clever play on words, the brewery has tied this phrase even more strongly to the Christmas holiday through the beer's name. While a half dozen or so of these taps have appeared on the secondary market, they have commanded a price around $100 apiece or more.

Click through to read more about Karbach Brewing, their Yule Shoot Your Eye Out Red Ale, and to see more photos of this iconic tap...

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Tap Handle #724: Departed Soles

Tap size:  11.5"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

I received this tap back in March from Brian Kulbacki, the owner of Departed Soles Brewing. I wish I could have finished this post sooner, as I really wanted to get Brian's story out there, but better late than never I guess! At the top of the tap is a sign bearing the brewery's name, and a pedestal at the base of the tap allows a place to put a label for the beer variety (I'm going to profile A Dark Night Black IPA). The main feature of the tap is the Statue of Liberty holding a mug of beer and wearing sneakers. The iconic statue is resting against a brick wall that has "graffiti" written on it, including the words "New Jersey". The statue and the graffiti reflect the fact that the brewery is located in Jersey City, and the sneakers are a passion of Brian's. In small letters above the graffiti art you will see "RIP CW".  This refers to Brian's friend Chris Ward, and when you read the rest of the post, the meaning of this will become very clear. I've seen maybe a half dozen hit the secondary market at prices over $100. The brewery shows some different, plainer taps on their social media accounts, so I'm not sure if the tap is still being produced.

Click through to read more about Departed Soles Brewing and to see more photos of this symbolic tap...

Friday, July 5, 2019

Tap Handle #723: Moddy Brew - Deep Troubles Blonde Ale

Tap size:  12"
Rarity:  limited to 100 made
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

It is extremely rare for me to acquire a tap that is not associated with an actual brewery (or cidery or meadery). I had decided early on in my collecting to focus on brewery taps because there was a story to tell, either about the brewery, the tap, or both. For most generic, homemade, or artistic taps (like those belonging to Ron Lee) that are not associated with a brewery, there isn't a story to tell.

This one, however, is a bit different.

After I was first contacted by Moddy Brewing (they wanted to know how to get their tap in the Museum) and I learned about the story behind the tap, I decided to acquire one when they became available. When I saw the photos they sent me of the design, the first thing that struck me was not the monstrous tentacles, which are pretty cool, or the girl, who is finely sculpted - it is instead the fact that you cannot see the girl's face. Since I thought this feature (or should I say lack of one) was probably significant, I reached out to Moddy Brew and asked them about it, and you can find out what I learned as you read more of the write up. The tap is very impressive in person, and the labels (pictured, right) match the tap perfectly (they are meant to be applied over the oval "M B" section of the tap). "Moddy Brew" appears at the very base of the tap, just above the ferrule, in gold lettering. Only 100 of these taps have been made, and each comes with a certificate of authenticity. To date, more than half of the Deep Troubles taps produced have been sold, so at some point they will no longer be available and could become hard to find. You can order this tap through Moddy Brew's Facebook page (link provided at the end of the post), and it can also be found on eBay, while supplies last. This is a great conversation piece and an excellent addition to the collection.

Click through to read about Moddy Brew and to see more photos of this symbolic tap...

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Tap Handle #722: True Vine - Mermaids and Unicorns

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

A big thank you to the wonderful people at True Vine Brewing who helped me obtain this beautiful tap! It features, appropriately enough, a stylistic mermaid and a unicorn (they remind me of Maurice Sendak's "Where The Wild Things Are" artistic style) on top of foamy bubbles, with the name of the beer appearing on a ribbon just below them. Under that is a shield-like sign that bears the logo of the brewery. The shaft of the tap has the appearance of a purple-colored treasure map that shows the outline of the state of Texas. At the bottom are some sculpted waves and a large ferrule. The beer and the tap were inspired by all the fairytale worlds that the brewery owners and employees experience as daddies of daughters within the True Vine Brewing Company family. The tap is scarce on the secondary market, with only a half dozen available since they first appeared earlier this year.

Click through to read more about True Vine Brewing, their Mermaids and Unicorns Blonde Ale, and to see more photos of this whimsical tap...

Friday, May 17, 2019

Tap Handle #721: Crying Eagle - Louisiana Lager

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

This is the third and final Crying Eagle entry, and once again it is a tap supplied by friend of the museum Morgan C. It features an image of the state of Louisiana at the top, with a water scene - complete with cattails and a dock - on the base of the tap, sculpted in bas relief. The purple, blue, and pastel color scheme is gorgeous and vivid. Unlike the previous two taps from Crying Eagle that I have profiled, I have actually seen one of these appear on the secondary market for a very reasonable price.

For more about Crying Eagle, see this post.

Click through to read more about Crying Eagle's Louisiana Lager and to see more photos of this beautiful tap...

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Tap Handle #720: Crying Eagle - Hop Blooded IPA

Size:  12"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Here comes another tap from friend of the Museum Morgan C. and Crying Eagle. This one represents a collaboration between the brewery and the legendary rock band Foreigner, with the name being a play on the title of one of the bands songs, "Hot Blooded". It features a large hop at the top of the tap, with blood vessels sticking out of it as if the hop were a heart. Those blood vessels extend into the lower part of the tap, where hops and hop leaves are sculpted in bas relief. A sign in the middle of the tap bears the name of the brewery and the beer variety. Like the previous Crying Eagle tap I profiled, Pistol Bridge, this tap is also fairly new and I haven't seen another.

Foreigner is an English-American rock band, originally formed in New York City in 1976 by veteran English musician and ex-Spooky Tooth member Mick Jones, and fellow Briton and ex-King Crimson member Ian McDonald along with American vocalist Lou Gramm. Jones came up with the band's name as he, McDonald and Dennis Elliott were British, while Gramm, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi were American. They are one of the world's best-selling bands of all time with worldwide sales of more than 80 million records, including 37.5 million records in the US. The band's debut, Foreigner, was released in February 1977 and sold more than four million copies in the United States, staying in the Top 20 for a year with such hits as "Feels Like the First Time", "Cold as Ice" and "Long, Long Way from Home". Their second album, Double Vision (released in June 1978), co-produced by Keith Olsen, topped their previous, selling five million records and spawned hits in "Hot Blooded", the title track "Double Vision" and "Blue Morning, Blue Day". Album number three, Head Games (September 1979), co-produced by Roy Thomas Baker, which was referred to by Gramm as their "grainiest" album, was also successful because of the thunderous "Dirty White Boy" and another title track hit "Head Games". The next album was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City with producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange, engineered by Dave Wittman (currently with Trans-Siberian Orchestra). 4 (released in July 1981) contained the hits "Urgent" (which includes the famous Junior Walker sax solo), "Waiting for a Girl Like You", "Juke Box Hero" and "Break it Up". Before releasing albums of his own, Thomas Dolby played synthesizers on 4 (he contributed the signature synth sound on "Urgent" and played the intro to "Waiting for a Girl Like You"). Their next album, Agent Provocateur, co-produced by Alex Sadkin, was released successfully in December 1984 and gave them their first and only No. 1 hit in 1985 (in the US, UK, Australia, Norway, Sweden, etc.), "I Want to Know What Love Is", a ballad backed by Jennifer Holliday and the New Jersey Mass Choir. The song was their biggest U.S. hit.

Foreigner information courtesy of Wikipedia.

For more about Crying Eagle Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Crying Eagle's Hop Blooded IPA and to see more photos of this hot blooded tap...

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Tap Handle #719: Crying Eagle - Pistol Bridge Porter

Tap size:  12"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This is the second tap that was supplied by friend of the Museum Morgan C., and features another Louisiana brewery, Crying Eagle. I will be featuring 3 Crying Eagle taps, and this is probably my favorite of the 3 due to the theme and colors. The tap is done in bas relief, with pistols at the top, the Calcasieu River Bridge below that, a sign featuring the brewery's name and the beer variety, and a sunset scene at the bottom with reeds and metal girders. The front and back of the tap are identical to each other, so I have reduced the number of photos taken. This tap represents one of the new core brews that the company rolled out during their rebranding in 2018, so it is very recent and I have not yet seen another.

The Calcasieu River Bridge was built between 1948 and 1952 in Lake Charles, Lousiana. Officials had planned to call it the Lafitte Bridge, after the infamous pirate Jean Lafitte, who was rumored to have buried some of his treasure in the area. About 10,572 decorative crossed pistols were originally placed as part of the bridge rail as a symbol of Southwest Louisiana's pirate history. It brings I-10/US 90 west from Lake Charles into Westlake. In the 50s, it was US 90, and was later grandfathered into an I-10 bridge. When that process took place, the federal government promised to replace the bridge, since it was not designed originally to be an interstate bridge, but that never happened. Decades later, the bridge has been rated structurally deficient by the DOT; in 2016, Travel and Leisure magazine put the bridge on the list of “America’s Most Dangerous Bridges”, coming in at number 7.


Bridge photos courtesy of SnarkyBytes.

Click through to read more about Crying Eagle Brewing, their Pistol Bridge Porter, and to see more photos of this iconic tap...

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Tap Handle #718 - Flying Tiger

Tap size:  12.25"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This incredible tap was supplied by a friend of the Museum, Morgan C., a Louisiana resident who was eager to get this (and a few other Louisiana taps) into my hands so that he could one day see them profiled here. I was thrilled to get the taps, so I decided Morgan should be able to see them here right away instead of waiting for years. Of the taps Morgan offered me, this Flying Tiger tap is probably my favorite, due to my personal ties to the military and aviation. It features a profile of a P40 Warhawk Flying Tiger airplane, which became the identity of the brewery due to its local ties to General Chennault, who was the commander of the Flying Tigers and lived in Monroe (where the brewery is located) for a time. The detail of the tap is impressive, from the nose art and cockpit decals to all the tiny rivets that have been sculpted across the surface. At the top of the airplane is a round sign that bears the brewery's name and logo. The tap is not variety-specific but is instead used for all beer varieties; I've chosen to profile their WarHawk Kolsch. This tap is definitely one of my favorite recent acquisitions. It's also pretty scarce since I have never seen another.


The First American Volunteer Group (AVG) of the Chinese Air Force in 1941–1942, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, was composed of pilots from the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC), Navy (USN), and Marine Corps (USMC), recruited under President Franklin Roosevelt's authority before Pearl Harbor and commanded by Claire Lee Chennault. The aircraft were to fly with Chinese colors but be under American control. The mission was to bomb Japan and defend China but many delays meant they flew in combat after the US and Japan declared war. The AVG was largely the creation of Chennault, a retired U.S. Army Air Corps officer who had worked in China since August 1937, first as military aviation advisor to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in the early months of the Sino-Japanese War, then as director of a Chinese Air Force flight school centered in Kunming. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union supplied fighter and bomber squadrons to China, but these units were mostly withdrawn by the summer of 1940. Chiang then asked for American combat aircraft and pilots, sending Chennault to Washington as an adviser to China's ambassador and Chiang's brother-in-law, T. V. Soong.
Chennault spent the winter of 1940–1941 in Washington, supervising the purchase of 100 Curtiss P-40 fighters and the recruiting of 100 pilots and some 200 ground crew and administrative personnel that would constitute the 1st AVG. The fighters were purchased without "government-furnished equipment" such as reflector gunsights, radios and wing guns; the lack of these items caused continual difficulties for the AVG in Burma and China. The 100 P-40 aircraft were crated and sent to Burma on third country freighters during spring 1941. At Rangoon, they were unloaded, assembled and test flown by personnel of Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO) before being delivered to the AVG training unit at Toungoo. One crate was dropped into the water and a wing assembly was ruined by salt water immersion, so CAMCO was able to deliver only 99 Tomahawks before war broke out. Shortages in equipment with spare parts almost impossible to obtain in Burma along with the slow introduction of replacement fighter aircraft were continual impediments although the AVG did receive 50 replacement P-40E fighters from USAAF stocks toward the end of its combat tour. AVG fighter aircraft were painted with a large shark face on the front of the aircraft. This was done after pilots saw a photograph of a P-40 of No. 112 Squadron RAF in North Africa, which in turn had adopted the shark face from German pilots of the Luftwaffe's ZG 76 heavy fighter wing, flying Messerschmitt Bf 110 fighters in Crete. The P-40's good qualities included pilot armor, self-sealing fuel tanks, sturdy construction, heavy armament, and a higher diving speed than most Japanese aircraft – qualities that could be used to advantage in accordance with Chennault's combat tactics.

The group consisted of three fighter squadrons of around 30 aircraft each. It trained in Burma before the American entry into World War II to defend China against Japanese forces. The group of volunteers were officially members of the Chinese Air Force. The group first saw combat on 20 December 1941, 12 days after Pearl Harbor (local time). It demonstrated innovative tactical victories when the news in the U.S. was filled with little more than stories of defeat at the hands of the Japanese forces and achieved such notable success during the lowest period of the war for both the U.S. and the Allied Forces as to give hope to America that it might eventually defeat Japan. AVG pilots earned official credit and received combat bonuses for destroying 296 enemy aircraft, while losing only 14 pilots in combat. The combat records of the AVG still exist and researchers have found them credible. On 4 July 1942 the AVG was disbanded and replaced by the 23rd Fighter Group of the United States Army Air Forces, which was later absorbed into the U.S. Fourteenth Air Force with General Chennault as commander. The 23rd FG went on to achieve similar combat success, while retaining the nose art on the left-over P-40s.

Some of the more notable members of the Flying Tigers were:

  • Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, who broke his contract with the AVG in the spring of 1942 and returned to active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps. He went on to command the "Black Sheep" Squadron and was one of two AVG veterans (the other being James H. Howard of the USAAF) to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
  • David Lee "Tex" Hill later commanded the USAAF 23rd Fighter Group.
  • Charles Older earned a law degree postwar, became a California Superior Court judge, and presided at the murder trial of Charles Manson.
  • Kenneth Jernstedt was a long-time Oregon legislator and mayor of his home town of Hood River.
  • Robert William Prescott, founder of the first scheduled cargo airline in America named Flying Tiger Line.

Flying Tiger AVG info and photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Click through to read more about Flying Tiger Brewing, their WarHawk Kolsch, and to see more photos of this decorated tap...

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Tap Handle #717: Switchback - IPA

Tap size:  13.5"
Rarity:  less than 10 seen
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This tap comes to the Museum courtesy of Collectors Club member Jason C. I'll let Jason describe his contribution to the Museum in his own words:

"This tap represents Switchback's Connector IPA and it is based on the world's tallest filing cabinet. It's kind of a funny story around here and represents the fact that one of our interstates was never completed due to the amount of paperwork that blocked it. Apparently it would take filing cabinets 38 feet tall to store all the paper. It still stands near the Switchback Brewery and is visited quite often by folks traveling to the area. I've always thought it was a funny story and it made me appreciate the tap handle that Switchback created for this beer."

Many thanks to Jason for this background on the tap. I'll admit I thought this tap was a strange one, and now that I know the story behind it, it adds so much more to its character and history. It definitely represents the stack of filing cabinets that Jason mentioned (see photo below). There are drawers popped out on each side, just like they do on the real-life sculpture. The beer name appears all over the tap, but the brewery name only appears in fine print on the very bottom file cabinet, on both sides. It's a great addition to the Museum, as I have only ever seen one or two on the secondary market.



In 2002, Bren Alvarez, a 45-year-old Burlington architect (who also co-owned an art gallery), created "File Under So. Co., Waiting for...," a satirical sculpture commenting on the bureaucracy of urban planning. Over 40 feet tall, the monument sits on a vacant lot, and is essentially a stack of 11 metal filing cabinets in brown, beige, black, gray and green, with a total of 38 drawers, one drawer for every year the project had been in existence at the time of the sculpting. The drawers, some left partially open, are actually now facades that were reattached. The sculpture symbolizes the paperwork that has accumulated since 1965, when the controversial Southern Connector was first proposed to link downtown Burlington (Vermont) with Interstate 89. The purpose of the stalled beltway, which would have stretched about 2.5 miles, was to relieve traffic congestion. The cabinets are welded together and stabilized by an interior steel post. On one side, Alvarez used a blow torch to emblazon a map of the area, along with a timeline in Roman numerals that reflects the phantom road's history from 1965 to the present. Over the decades, as the project experienced one delay after another, the corridor's route and design were changed, often as a result of heated debate.

After the sculpture was completed, a 30-minute play, "Paper Highway", was developed by a local poet, and was performed at the monument's site by a cast of eight, along with the Burlington Taiko drummers. The plot of "Paper Highway" involved people in the year 2552, who find the sculpture and believe it to be an exciting archaeological discovery and an ancient shrine to the gods.

A local politician, when interviewed about the newly completed sculpture, made a bold proclamation that the Connector project would move forward in 2003, and exclaimed that the sculpture would have to be moved. As of 2019, the Connector project is dead, and the sculpture still stands. Adding another 17 file cabinets to the structure (to represent the years 2003-2019) would be incredible, but is entirely unfeasible.


Sculpture article courtesy of Seven Days.

Click through to read more about Switchback Brewing, their Connector IPA, and to see more photos of this iconic tap...