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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Monday, October 29, 2012

Tap Handle #203: Leinenkugel - Sunset Wheat Canoe

These canoe taps produced by Leinenkugel are prolific and popular. Each variety of beer has its own color, and the Sunset Wheat is blue. The other varieties do not have the orange slice (although one has a lemon). Also, there are small 7" versions and larger 14" versions of each variety (this is the larger version). Although it says "Leinie's" and not Leinenkugel, the names are used interchangeably by the brewery. Pictures don't quite do this tap justice; it's impressive when you hold it in your hand.

Sunset Wheat is a Belgian-style Witbier brewed with coriander for a smooth creaminess and citrus flavor, and it won a silver medal in the 2006 Great American Beer Festival. Recommended food pairings are seafood and spicy pepperjack cheese. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 2.91 out of 5.

For more about Leinenkugel, see this post.

Tap Handle #202: Kona - Wailua Wheat

I originally wasn't going to get this tap, as I already had a couple of other Kona taps and the Big Wave was more desirable to me, but it came with a group of other taps. It is a very colorful and beautiful tap.

Wailua Wheat is a spring and summer seasonal that has a citrus flavor from being brewed with passion fruit, and won a gold medal at the 2011 U.S. Open Beer Championship. Recommended food pairings are grilled fish or shrimp, roasted chicken, salads, Asian foods, and vanilla ice cream. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 2.75 out of 5.

For more about Kona, see this post.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tap Handle #201: Heidelberg - Light Pilsner

This is an old tap, I believe, from the late 60s or early 70s. The castle on the top is rather small, but has good detail, and their are leaves up the length of the shaft.

Heidelberg actually began as the Columbia Brewing Company, founded by Emil Kliese and William C. Kiltz in 1900, in Tacoma, Washington. Kliese was a 35 year old, German-born brewmaster who had emigrated in 1883. In the mid-1890's, Kliese made his way west securing a position with the newly established Capital Brewing Co. (which became Olympia Brewing). By 1899 he was their head brewmaster. A business opportunity arose when some Tacoma investors wanted to open another brewery in that town. They required an expert brewmaster, and he wanted to operate his own brewery. Kiltz was sales manager and Kliese was owner, president and brewmaster.

During Prohibition, Columbia survived by making near beer and soft drinks including Birch Beer, Chocolate Soldier, Blue Jay, and Green River. Kliese's younger brother, Paul, succeeded him as the brewmaster at Columbia in 1918, and Emile died the following year. Paul remained as brewmaster until the family sold the brewery in 1921, after which he was succeeded by his assistant, Otto Birkmaier. Birkmaier was brewmaster until his death in 1945. During his lifetime he was one of the most highly regarded brewers in the country.

In 1932, with National Prohibition certain to be repealed, Elmer E. Hemrich and a group of other Seattle investors purchased Columbia for $100,000. Rather than enlarge the old frame building, it was dismantled and a larger concrete structure was built in its place. Hemrich re-introduced the popular pre-Prohibition Alt Heidelberg and Alt Pilsner brands. In 1936, Columbia was the first Pacific Northwest brewery to introduce canned beer. After World War II, recovering from shortages of malt and machinery was a slow process, but in a few short years their production was at max capacity. By 1948 Columbia began a massive expansion project, and in 1953 the brewery became Heidelberg Brewing Company. In 1954, Heidelberg began another period of expansion with the installation of a second brewing line and additional storage tanks in a four story addition. Heidelberg was now the largest brewery north of San Francisco and west of Milwaukee.

In 1958 Carling purchased the Heidelberg for $3.5 million. Though it was unknown at the time, selling the business to an outside entity was the beginning of the end. In 1979, Carling-National was purchased by Heileman. Prior to the purchase of Heidelberg, Heileman had acquired Rainier. Owning two major plants in such close proximity gave Heileman too large a share of the regional market, and violated anti-trust laws; however, instead of voiding the sale, which had already been completed, Heilman was forced to close one of the plants. So, in 1979 the old Columbia Brewery closed its doors for good. The building was vacant and in decay for some time; historic preservation was considered, but a report showed that the multiple expansions through the years had destroyed all traces of the old brewery - there was nothing to preserve. Considered an eyesore, the brewery was demolished in 2011.

Heidelberg's Light Pilsner was a light version of their popular (Alt) Pilsner. There is no rating on ratebeer.com (although they do rate Heidelberg Light at a weighted average of 2.76 out of 5).

There is obviously no website, but all of the above history was found and used with permission from www.brewerygems.com. You can find the link to the Heidelberg page here. Check out the brewerygems site...it's full of lots of great information and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Museum Turns One Year Old, Part 2: The Future of the Museum

This is the second part of a two series remarking the one year anniversary of the Museum...

The current collection is right about at 250 tap handles. I've been questioning as to whether or not I should let the collection get over 300 taps. I'm pretty sure I don't have room to display all of them, and it sucks to leave them in boxes. But I've become quite addicted to acquiring them, and every so often I find a rare one that I've never seen before.

If I do limit the collection size to 300, I may have to sell more to make room for ones that I like better. But I've slowed down the acquisitions quite a bit, and I'll worry about going past 300 taps if and when I get there.

I also have a few brewery trips planned for next year: I'd like to see the insides of the Rogue and Pelican breweries that I've posted about. I'd also like to check out Bridgeport and Widmer here in Portland, and Pyramid, Red Hook, and Elysian (I've been to Red Hook but didn't take any pictures).

Also during the next year I'll have to work on how to organize my taps. It should be *fun* trying to figure out how I'm going to display these....

The Museum Turns One Year Old, Part 1: Stats

This is the first in a 3 part series remarking the one year anniversary of the Museum's blog...

One year ago today I started this blog. It's been quite an endeavor, I think: 200 tap handles listed, a couple of brewery visits, and some lucky breaks in acquiring taps have fueled the Museum. When I started this, I had about 105 taps from over 10 years of collecting; in the last year that total has jumped to 250 taps! Let's take a look at some blog statistics to see how it's fairing. Has anyone (besides Heff) noticed?

Total Pageviews: 10,940
Analysis: That's not bad for the first year of a blog that I don't promote in any way! August was the biggest month with 1617 views.

Most Viewed Posts: #105 Angry Orchard (630 views); #132 Dogfish Head (158); #75 Shock Top (111)
Analysis: I can understand Angry Orchard because it looks amazing. And the Dogfish Head is really rare. But Shock Top is really common, I'm not sure why it's so popular...must be the beer.

Top referring site: Google image search
Analysis: This is a result of not promoting the blog. Most people find there way here by clicking on images of beer taps in Google image search. I'll be updating to Goggle+, as well as visiting places to promote the blog, and see if that makes a difference.

Audience: U.S. (9039 views); Russia (684), Canada (176)
Analysis: The U.S. cements its reputation as a beer-drinking country. I was also surprised to see Russia far ahead of Canada. One final note: with 3 billion people, either China doesn't drink much beer, or their government filters out beer-related internet searches...

Browsers: Safari (2795); Internet Explorer (2694); Chrome (2178)
Analysis: Safari does not include mobile Safari stats, so Mac-based Safari is the most frequently used browser when visitors hit the site. I use Chrome myself...I used to love Firefox, but it has become slow, as well as being a memory hog.

OS: Windows: (6356); iPhone (1726); Mac (1223)
Analysis: This contradicts the previous stat, showing that PC users are the most frequent. Why the disparity? Well, PC users run several different browsers (IE, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and even Safari), while Macs pretty exclusively run Safari. So while Safari is the single most used browser, PCs are far more prevalent, they're just split over more varieties of browsers.

And there you have it. In another year we'll see if the stats have changed at all.

In Part 2, I'll talk about the future of the Museum and my acquisitions...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tap Handle #200: Tallgrass - Velvet Rooster Belgian Tripal

This is a beautiful tap, the colors and details are really nice. When I received the tap, it arrived broke. Fortunately I had purchased 2, and I gave my friend Kelly the broken one to see if he could fix it.

Velvet Rooster is a Belgian Tripel that pours a golden straw color with brilliant clarity, topped with a lofty pure white head, and has a wonderful floral nose with subtle fruit notes. The taste is clean and crisp, with subtle fruit notes and a touch of candy like sweetness. The beer has a Champagne-like effervescent that provides a crisp offset to its sweet finish. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.29 out of 5.

For more about Tallgrass, see this post.




A Trip Past Pelican Brewery

A couple of weeks ago, I made another trip out to the central Oregon coast. I had fully intended to visit the Rogue Brewery, but as often happens, I was sidetracked by other places and my companions' agendas, and I didn't make it to Rogue. The weather was so beautiful, Saturday was a perfect day: playing on the beach, snapping photos, and exploring little towns like Waldport, followed by a night in Florence of playing slots at the Three Rivers Casino, watching the Ducks demolish the Huskies, and singing karaoke while partaking of Amaretto and 7-Up.

Sunday was more of the same, heading back up the coast to Lincoln City, Neskowin, and Pacific City, finally finishing out the day with slots, karaoke, and all the seafood I could eat at Spirit Mountain Casino in Grande Rhonde, and then the drive home. It didn't hurt that I walked away from the slots with an extra $150 in my pocket.

However, while in Pacific City I stumbled across the Pelican Brewery. Once again I was pressed for time, as we had to meet our friends at the casino for dinner, but I did manage to snap a couple of photos, and vowed that I would return to sample some of their offerings. I have actually seen some of the taps on eBay but didn't know where the brewery was. Now I do. Enjoy the photos!





Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tap Handle #199: Anheuser-Busch - Margaritaville Lone Palm Ale

There's nothing really fancy about this tap - it's just a palm tree with a small sign - although it has a nice paint job. I actually wanted this one for the novelty. You see, Lone Palm Ale is served in Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville restaurants. And I ate at a Margaritaville restaurant in Orlando, where I observed this tap at the bar. Since it brings back memories of my trip, I had to have it. Some versions have the Margaritaville slogan, as seen below, but don't say the name of the ale, Lone Palm. Since it is only sold in Margaritaville restaurants, these are pretty rare finds.


Lone Palm is an amber ale brewed by Anheuser-Busch at their St. Louis brewery for the Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville restaurant chain, like the Landshark brand. Unlike Landshark, however, Lone Palm does not have it's own website. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 2.63 out of 5.

No website as stated above, but you can find out more about the Margaritaville restaurant chain here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tap Handle #198: Hornsby's Draft Cider

Hey, another toy on a stick! But what can I say, I'm a sucker for rhinos. The detail is great on this one, right down to the apple stuck on the rhino's horn. It's pretty rare, too.

Hornsby's Cider was started in 1994 by the Ernest and Julio Gallo Winery. E & J Gallo was founded in 1933 in Modesto, CA and is the world's largest winery. Hornsby's proved to be a popular brand, eventually becoming the second largest cider brand in the U.S. In 2011, Hornsby's was sold to C & C Group, an Irish cider company that is big in Europe with their own cider brand Bulmers, and also the international brand Magners.

Weighted average for Hornsby's Draft Cider on ratebeer.com is 2.81 out of 5.

Hornsby's Official Website. A big thumbs down to Hornby's for wanting your name and email just to get into the site. Thanks, but no thanks...I'll pass.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tap Handle #197: Hook & Ladder - Backdraft Brown Ale

There are two versions of this tap; I prefer this one, as the other version only says "Hook & Ladder" and does not have a label with "Backdraft Brown" on it.

Backdraft Brown is a brown ale that uses specialty malts to give it a roasted taste, a hint of chocolate, a nutty aroma, and brown color. Cascade hops provide balance. Recommended food pairings are roast pork, smoked sausage, grilled salmon, and aged Gouda. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 2.96 out of 5.

For more about Hook & Ladder, see this post.

Tap Handle #196: Tyranena - Fargo Brothers Hefeweizen

I realize this is one of those "toys-on-a-stick" type of tap handles which I'm not usually fond of. However, I couldn't resist this one as it's from a small brewery and very rare. This is also an older style tap as Tyranena's newer taps are blocky and white. And I like steamboats, too.

Tyranena was founded in the small town of Lake Mills, Wisconsin in 1998 by Rob Larson. The brewery has a 45,000 barrel capacity, includes a bottling line, and features a tasting room and beer garden, though it does not serve food. It is known for its hoppy beers and barrel-aged beers that use bourbon barrels from a distillery in Kentucky.

Fargo Brothers Hefeweizen is a seasonal Bavarian-style weitbier with a clove-like flavor and aroma with banana undertones and no bitterness. The unfiltered yeast makes this beer cloudy. It's named after the Fargo Brothers, a family that arrived in Lake Mills in 1845, who became community leaders and shaped the city. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is  3.28 out of 5.

Tyranena Official Website

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tap Handle #195: Miller - MGD Tomahawk

This tap was placed at #11 on my wishlist when I removed the Coors Microphone from the list ( I had just acquired the MGD microphone). There's not much detail but it still looks really great.

For more about Miller MGD, see this post.