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, December 31, 2012

Tap Handle #216 revisited: Coronado - Specialty/Mermaid's Red Hotel Del Coronado




I've re-done this entry to include the Mermaid's Red tap my dad was able to obtain on my parent's visit to San Diego last year, so I have included additional info on Mermaid's Red, as well as adding a few pictures my dad took. Awesome Christmas gift! I will probably get rid of the Specialty tap at some point...

Though it was never on my wishlist, I really liked this tap handle. It chips easily due to having lots of fragile edges on the top. That structure on the top of the tap is the main building of the Hotel Del Coronado (pictured to the right), a historic hotel built in 1887.  A very unique tap for sure.

Coronado Brewing Company was founded in San Diego, California in 1996 by brothers Ron and Rick Chapman. The Chapmans established a brewery and brewpub on the site that had a various times featured a market, a breakfast diner, and a pub. CBC quickly became popular behind an assortment of abundantly hoppy West Coast-style ales. That early success drove them to start distributing their beer outside the brewpub, with their first sale to historic hometown icon The Hotel Del Coronado. In 2003, when CBC struck up a relationship with a local craft distribution company, the increased demand drove an expansion in 2006 that tripled the size of CBC’s brewhouse and raised fermenter capacity by 230 barrels.

By 2010, CBC was brewing about 5,000 barrels of beer per year, allowing them to expand their reach beyond California. CBC still couldn’t produce enough beer to meet an ever-increasing demand, and the problem was solved in 2012, when CBC built a brand new 30-barrel brewhouse in a 22,000 square foot building on Knoxville St. in San Diego’s Tecolote Canyon area. The Knoxville production facility will eventually provide enough space for an overall annual capacity of 60,000 barrels, an increased space for their expanded barrel-aging program, and a tasting room. They currently brew 5 year-round beers and another 6 that are seasonal or specialty beers, and distribute to 13 states and 3 foreign countries.

Coronado specialty brews have featured many varieties over the years. The one currently listed on their website is Barrel Aged Brandy Barley Wine, created in 2011 and the first release in the Barrel Aged Beer line. It's brewed with brown sugar and orange blossom honey, and was aged for six months in oak brandy barrels. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.74 out of 5.

Mermaid's Red is an amber ale loaded with Cascade hops. It delivers a fresh floral aroma and sharp bitter notes, all while delivering a solid kick of roasted malts that fades seamlessly into a rich, chocolaty finish with hints of clove and caramel. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.25 out of 5.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mike's for Christmas

One of the great ironies of this site is that I'm not really a huge beer drinker. I've got to be in the right mood, and their aren't really a lot of beers I like - mainly fruit beers and cream ales. I do have a fondness for hard cider though, as well as vodka-based drinks like Mike's Hard Lemonade.

As a result, this Mike's Winter Grab Bag that a friend got for me was a perfect Christmas gift...

The Chocolate Cherry is simply awesome! I also liked the Cranberry Lemonade, which was nicely balanced. To my surprise, the Winter Blackberry was my least favorite - still very drinkable, though.

Hope you all have a great holiday season!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tap Handle #222: Sapporo - Katana Samurai Sword

This is a gorgeous tap, from the leather-wrapped handle to the mirror-polished blade with Japanese characters on it. The tap is not specific to any Sapporo variety. Definitely one of my favorite taps.

Sapporo beer started in 1876 in Sapporo City, Japan as a state-run brewery. Sapporo, the largest city in the Northern part of Japan, was a frontier town. Seibei Nakagawa, the first German-trained Japanese "Braumeister" (brewmaster) crafted the beer using locally produced ingredients and authentic beer crafting techniques. The beer quickly became a success and was consumed throughout the nation. The iconic star, initially a symbol of the pioneers in the area of Sapporo, was chosen to represent the Sapporo brand. In 1886, Sapporo was privatized. The next year, another company, named Japan Beer, was established in Tokyo, and began producing Yebisu Beer. The competition between Sapporo and Japan Beer, as well as competition with the Osaka (now Asahi) and Kirin breweries led to a 1906 merger of Sapporo, Japan, and Osaka breweries into the Dai-Nippon Beer Company, Ltd., which formed a near monopoly on the Japanese market until after World War II. After 1949, Dai-Nippon was split into Nippon and Asahi breweries, with the Nippon Breweries resuming production of Sapporo beer in 1956 and renaming itself to the present name, Sapporo Breweries, in 1964, when it was brought to the U.S. Yebisu Beer was relaunched as a separate brand in 1971, marketed as a German-style barley beer. In 1984, Sapporo U.S.A., Inc. was founded to maintain high quality and distribution of the brand throughout the country. Sapporo quickly established its status as the #1 selling Asian beer in the U. S.

In 2006, Sapporo acquired Canadian brewer Sleeman. Most Sapporo sold in North America is brewed at the Sleeman brewery in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Despite its name, Sapporo beer is not exclusively brewed in Sapporo - it is also brewed in Sendai, Chiba, Shizuoka, and Kyushu. The Sapporo site hosts a beer museum, as well as the Sapporo Beer Garden, which consists of two restaurants, including the atmospheric Genghis Khan Hall, where diners can sample the all-you-can-eat barbecued mutton.

Sapporo Premium is a pale lager with lush aroma of hops, crisp taste, refreshing flavor, and refined bitterness to leave a clean finish. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 2.22 out of 5.

Sapporo Beer Official Website

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tap Handle #221: Anheuser-Busch - Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale

Although this is not one of my favorite taps, lots of people seem to like it. There are two versions, a short and a tall one, and mine is the tall version.

312 Urban Wheat Ale is an unfiltered wheat ale with a spicy aroma of Cascade hops, followed by the crispy, fruity ale flavor delivered in a smooth, creamy body, the result of blending barley malt with torrified wheat. It has won 3 gold medals at the 2006, 2007, and 2010 Great American Beer Festivals and a silver medal at the 2008 World Beer Cup. Recommended food pairings are salad, fish, and mozzerella cheese. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 2.81 out of 5.

For more about Goose Island, see this post.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tap Handle #220: Rogue - Yellow Snow IPA

This is an awesome tap. While the fellow in red appears to be relieving himself, when you turn the tap around he's just clasping his hands together. It's actually the dog that's doing all the heavy lifting. Yellow Snow could benefit from a matte finish, but otherwise it's perfect and always brings a smile to people's faces when they see it.

Rogue Yellow Snow is an IPA was originally introduced for the 2000 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. It's pale golden in color with a hoppy fruity aroma, with big hop flavor up front complemented by medium body and hoppyness mid-pallet, and finishes with a characteristic lingering bitterness. Recommended food pairings are beef and spicy foods. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.62 out of 5.

For more about Rogue, see this post.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tap Handle #219: Coors - Cowboy & Bronco in Horseshoe

This is an absolutely gorgeous tap. From the belt buckle on top, to the horseshoe, horse and rider, and tooled leather handle, it is outstanding - pictures just don't do it justice. Although the belt buckle, horseshoe, and horse and rider are plastic, they did a great job of making it look like metal. I really love this tap!

For more about Coors, see this post.

Tap Handle #218: Olde Burnside - Ten Penny Ale

This is an excellent tap with a lot of detail. The Scotsman playing the bagpipes is very well done, and mine still has the protective plastic over the label. Sometimes these can be seen missing the Scotsman piece entirely.

Ten Penny Ale is a light Scottish ale and Olde Burnside's flagship brew. Recommended food pairings are lamb, sausage, turkey, herb bread, and cheddar cheese. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.16 out of 5.

For more about Olde Burnside, see this post.

Tap Handle #217: MillerCoors - Weinhard's Red

This is a great tap. The boar's head is nicely detailed, and it represents a piece of Portland history. I believe this tap dates to the beer's Olympia ownership days, but I'm not 100% sure.

Henry Weinhard's Brewing was founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1856 by Henry Weinhard. Weinhard was a German immigrant who had been an apprentice brewer in Stuttgart. He immigrated to the United States in 1852, and after stops in New York and Philadelphia, he settled in Cincinnati, where he worked for a brewery for 4 years, during which time he perfected his own recipes. In 1855, Weinhard made his way to Portland and found work in John Meunich’s Fort Vancouver Brewery. Weinhard remained at the Meunich Brewery for six months before moving to Portland and establishing a brewery with George Bottler. Unfortunately, the brewery did not expand at a satisfactory rate for Weinhard, so he sold his portion of the business to Bottler and moved back to Fort Vancouver to work for the Muenich Brewery, which he purchased six months later and renamed the Vancouver Brewery. Weinhard sold the brewery in 1862 and moved his small family to Portland.

Through a series of business transactions with Bottler and Henry Saxer, Weinhard was able to purchase both men’s breweries and eventually move his whole operation to Northwest Portland. The brewery quickly expanded and Weinhard purchased the Liberty Brewery that had been Portland’s oldest brewery at the time. In due course, the expansion of the brewery warranted the construction of a large brick building to house the brewing operation. The City Brewery, as it came to be called, was the most modern brewery in the Northwest. By 1890, the brewery produced 100,000 barrels of beer annually and was exporting it to far-off places like China and The Philippines. Weinhard was instrumental in promoting several public works, as well as making sure Portland was not bypassed by the railroad. Weinhard’s most infamous generosity to the Portland community came with the unveiling of the Skidmore fountain in 1887, when Weinhard offered to pay for the additional hose length that it would take to link the fountain to his largest lager tank in order to have the fountain spout free beer on its first day of operation (which was declined by the city). Weinhard died in 1904. After Weinhard's death, the brewery passed to his 2 son-in-laws.

The brewery survived prohibition by making soda, syrups, and near-beer. After Prohibition was repealed, it took a merger with Blitz Brewing and 20 years to recover and modernize. In 1979, Blitz-Weinhard was sold to Pabst, who sold it to Stroh's in 1996. In 1999 it was sold to Miller, who moved all brewing operations to the Olympia Brewery in Washington and put the building up for sale. In 2000 a developer bought the entire brewery complex, spanning 5 city blocks, and turned it into "The Brewery Blocks", a combination of office, condo, and retail space, part of the now-trendy Pearl District. Although some of the buildings were torn down and rebuilt, the main building was preserved and remodeled due to its listing on the National Registry of Historic Places. Henry's 12th Street Tavern in the remodeled brewery building is a reminder of the brewery's legacy, and the big brew tanks and smokestack are visible from the street. (Note: I see these buildings from time to time when I make trips into Portland to visit the iconic Powell's Books, which is right across the street).

After the Olympia Brewery closed, Henry's was eventually re-positioned as a microbrew and is currently brewed under contract by Full Sail Brewing in Hood River, Oregon. Weinhard's Red was an amber ale described as "red ale for beginners", and has been retired. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 2.65 out of 5 (the beer was more highly rated in its original Weinhard and Olympia days than it was under Full Sail).

Henry Weinhard's Official Website

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tap Handle #216: Coronado - Specialty Hotel Del Coronado





File:HotelDelCoronado.jpgThough it was never on my wishlist, I really liked this tap handle. It chips easily due to having lots of fragile edges on the top. That structure on the top of the tap is the main building of the Hotel Del Coronado (pictured to the right), a historic hotel built in 1887.  A very unique tap for sure.

Coronado Brewing Company was founded in San Diego, California in 1996 by brothers Ron and Rick Chapman. The Chapmans established a brewery and brewpub on the site that had a various times featured a market, a breakfast diner, and a pub. CBC quickly became popular behind an assortment of abundantly hoppy West Coast-style ales. That early success drove them to start distributing their beer outside the brewpub, with their first sale to historic hometown icon The Hotel Del Coronado. In 2003, when CBC struck up a relationship with a local craft distribution company, the increased demand drove an expansion in 2006 that tripled the size of CBC’s brewhouse and raised fermenter capacity by 230 barrels.

By 2010, CBC was brewing about 5,000 barrels of beer per year, allowing them to expand their reach beyond California. CBC still couldn’t produce enough beer to meet an ever-increasing demand, and the problem was solved in 2012, when CBC built a brand new 30-barrel brewhouse in a 22,000 square foot building on Knoxville St. in San Diego’s Tecolote Canyon area. The Knoxville production facility will eventually provide enough space for an overall annual capacity of 60,000 barrels, an increased space for their expanded barrel-aging program, and a tasting room. They currently brew 5 year-round beers and another 6 that are seasonal or specialty beers, and distribute to 13 states and 3 foreign countries.

Coronado specialty brews have featured many varieties over the years. The one currently listed on their website is Barrel Aged Brandy Barley Wine, created in 2011 and the first release in the Barrel Aged Beer line. It's brewed with brown sugar and orange blossom honey, and was aged for six months in oak brandy barrels. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.74 out of 5.

Coronado Brewing Official Website