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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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tap Handle #269: Anheuser-Busch - Shock Top Lemon Shandy

Tap size:  12.25"
Rarity: Common
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

I have several other Shock Top taps, this version was the third variety I've profiled. As with all my Shock Top taps, this one is the 12" version. It was first produced in 2012. The sliced lemon head is very similar to the standard Shock Top orange slice head, but the lemons around the base make it feel substantially more beautiful and detailed. The amount of detail makes them easily prone to chipping when used, and sometimes that chipping can be hard to spot. It is not rare at all - you can pick one up almost anytime you want to - although the price is a bit higher than the standard Shock Top tap.

For more about Shock Top, see this post.

Click through to read more about Shock Top Lemon Shandy and to see more photos of this rad(ler) tap...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tap Handle #268: Ayinger - Celebrator Doppelbock

This is an incredibly rare tap that was added to my wishlist when I first expanded it. I finally got my hands on one. Since it comes from overseas and is not available in any online store, combined with high demand it is tough to come by and expensive.

In 1876, Johann Liebhard took over the family business in Aying, an agricultural and forestry estate called “Zum Pfleger” about a half hour from Munich. Attached to it were a tavern and butcher shop for extra income. The business had been in the family since the Napoleonic period, around 1810. Within a year, Johann began to change things. Rather than continuing to serve other breweries' beers to his patrons (there were some 6,000 breweries in Bavaria in those days), Johann decided to brew his own. He invested in a brew house, malt house, and a fermentation cellar.

When it came time to retire, Johann handed the business over to his eldest daughter, Maria and her husband August Zehentmaierk. In the early 1920s, the family business took a serious hit when the tavern burned to the ground. August and Maria set out to rebuild and erected what is still today the "Brauereigasthof Aying,” the Ayinger brewery's inn and restaurant. It was completed in 1923. In 1926, Ayinger invested in a bottling line. By 1929, half Ayinger's annual production of 10,000 hectoliters went to Muinich, and in 1930, Ayinger opened its first tavern in the big city. In 1936, August died unexpectedly at age 56, and his daughter Maria together with her husband Franz Inselkammer took over the business, which they navigated through the difficult years of World War II. In 1953 Franz Inselkammer purchased the Platzl Hotelin Munich. This acquisition was a breakthrough event for the Ayinger brewery due to unparalleled name recognition. Demand for Ayinger beer increased in the 1950s, and in 1963, Franz Inselkammer Jr., took over the reigns of the family enterprise. By the late 1970s, the brewery had grown to its current volume of output. In 1999 a new, modernized and automated brewery was built. Today, Ayinger makes about a dozen traditional Bavarian beer styles.

Ayinger Celebrator Dopplebock is a strong winter lager with a dominant malty taste and has won several international awards. It has a creamy head of tight bubbles contrasting beautifully with its profound dark robe. It is full-bodied and velvety from half a year’s aging. Although it is strong, it is not overpowering. There is a wonderful and complex balance between the various malts, the alcohol and the subtle hops. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 4.05 out of 5.

Ayinger Official Website

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tap Handle #267: Alaskan - Amber Mast With Life Ring and Compass

This is an awesome tap.. I should first clarify, though - there are two versions of this tap: the standard version and a second version that lights up. Unfortunately there's no way to tell if it lights up by looking at it. The compass at the top unscrews and the batteries go inside. I've taken a second photo with the tap lit up. The light does not stay on; it is motion-sensitive, and is designed to light up when the tap is pulled. The lifering also glows in the dark.

Alaskan Amber is an altbier that is richly malty and long on the palate, with just enough hop backing to make this beautiful amber colored "alt" style beer notably well balanced. It is based on a recipe from a turn-of-the-century brewery in the Juneau area. It was voted "Best Beer in the Nation" in the 1988 Great American Beer Festival Consumer Poll, and has won numerous awards and medals in competitions. Recommended food pairings are king or silver salmon, flavorful meats, hearty Italian dishes, delicate cheeses, artichokes, roasted red peppers, and gourmet pizza. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.34 out of 5.

For more about Alaskan Brewing, see this post.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tap Handle #266: McSorley's (Pabst) - Irish Black Ale

This is an incredibly detailed tap that has been very popular. The main difference between varieties is the paint job, right down to the old bartender's vest. You have to love the motto on the handle: "be good or be gone."

McSorely's Old Ale House was founded in 1854 in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan by John McSorley. He was was an Irish immigrant who arrived in New York in 1851 at 18 years old, and patterned the bar after an Irish public house. McSorley died in 1910, but his son Bill had already been running the bar for 20 years by then. Many politicians were regulars there, which is why Bill paid no attention to Prohibition and continued to serve alcohol during that time. No piece of memorabilia has been removed from the walls since 1910, and there are many items of "historical" paraphernalia in the bar, such as Houdini's handcuffs, which are connected to the bar rail. In 1970 Mc Sorley's lost a court battle and was forced to admit and serve women, although they didn't get their own bathroom until 16 years later.

In 1934, Bill sold the Fidelio Brewery the right to brew and sell McSorley's Ale. Fidelio was purchased by Rheingold Brewery after World War II and production was moved to Brooklyn. Operations remained there for thirty years before being sold to Schmidt's. In the early 1990s Stroh Brewing acquired the brand, but during the Stroh breakup in 2000 McSorley's went to Pabst. Pabst contracted the beer to be brewed at the Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where it still produced and is sold at the bar and throughout the mid-Atlantic states.

Irish Black Ale is a dark Schwarzbier, an Irish equivalent of a Stout, although the bitterness comes from the hops used, rather than a Stout's bitterness which comes from malts. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 2.96 out of 5.

You can find a little bit of info about McSorley's on the Pabst website, but it's pretty sparse and one brand out of dozens...McSorely's does not have it's own website.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tap Handle #265: Kona - Big Wave Golden Ale

This tap was on my wishlist for a long time. Luckily I got it in a group auction for a great price. What a great tap!

Big Wave Golden Ale has a subtle fruitiness and delicate hop aroma. The lightly roasted honey malt contributes to the golden hue of this beer and also gives a slight sweetness that is balanced out by a special blend of hops. Recommended food pairings are seafood, poultry, salads and light pasta dishes. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 2.88 out of 5.

For more about Kona, see this post.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tap Handle #264: 3 Sheeps

Tap size:  12"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

What a great name for a brewery, a play on the old "3 sheets to the wind" drunken exclamation. The amount of detail, beautiful painting, and matte finish really make this tap stand out from a crowd. The tap is not variety-specific...there's no label, so it is used for all varieties. It's rare and a little on the expensive side, but it is worth it when you're holding it in your hand. A real beauty!

Click through to read more about 3 Sheeps Brewing, their Really Cool Waterslides IPA, and to see more photos of this amazing tap...

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tap Handle #263: Shipyard - Monkey Fist IPA

Another great Shipyard tap, similar in style to the Old Thumper taps. The monkey's expression is awesome, and he's got a fistful of hops.

Monkey Fist is a brilliant copper in color and exploding with Warrior, Glacier, and Cascade hop character. It is named after the knot tied at the end of a sailor’s rope that serves as a weight and make it easier to throw. Recommended food pairings are buffalo shrimp, aged cheddar, smoked duck, blackened fish, Cajun, and baked beans. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.28 out of 5.

For more about Shipyard, see this post.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Update

Sorry everyone, I've been a little tied up this week and haven't been able to post. I actually need to take photos and get them uploaded, which I'm hoping to do this weekend. Look for a new post on Saturday evening or sometime Sunday...

Monday, April 8, 2013

Updates and a New Toy

First I just wanted to mention that I have updated a couple of posts:


The Tommyknocker Jackwhacker post, found here, has an updated photo to show my new tap that has replaced the old.


The Genesee Dundee Pale Bock post, found here, has been updated to include the other plate sets I have acquired to go with the tap.





As many of you know, a little over a year ago I was thrilled to pick up the Dogfish Head Steampunk Tap Handle, which at the time was #1 on my wishlist of taps, and which I featured here. My latest acquisition is related to this tap.






Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: The Dogfish Head Steampunk Clock...


This rare beauty (there are fewer of these than the taps) was picked up cheap. It does need a little work - the left gear is supposed to turn and the right needle is supposed to spin, but neither do. There's also a section of LEDs not functioning on the right side. But these are all minor issues that I can easily repair/replace. I now have a clock to match my tap!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Tap Handle #262: Full Sail - Big Daddy J's Malt Liquor

As I state in my "Welcome to the Blog" post, I have obtained a few taps that are not figural, and this tap is one of them. It probably represents something to do with sailing or windsurfing, but I really wouldn't know. It was part of a group purchase and very cheap, and it's pretty sharp looking, so adding it to the collection was an easy decision. Since it's also a local brewery (about 50 minutes from my house), I've wanted one of their taps so that I could profile them. The only difference among varieties is the label, although the Brewer's Share and Brewer's Reserve taps are more rare. Sometime in the near future I'd like to visit the brewery.

Full Sail Brewery was founded in 1987 in Hood River, Oregon. Thanks to companies like Widmer Brothers, Bridgeport, and Portland Brewing, Oregon was at the forefront of the microbrew movement, and Full Sail was also getting started during that time. Taking over an old Diamond fruit cannery that had been derelict for 15 years, Full Sail decided to avoid cast offs and instead installed all new equipment. The next year they installed a manual bottling line using a wine bottling machine and became the first northwest microbrewery to sell bottled beer.

In 1999, the 47 employees of Full Sail bought the company in a stock offering program, making the brewery fully employee-owned. In 2003 they began contract brewing for Miller, including the Henry Weinhard brand. Full Sail is currently the 9th largest craft brewery and the 17th largest brewery in the U.S. The brewery features a pub and a tasting room; in addition, there is a smaller brewhouse in Portland. The brewery has won multiple medals in various championships and festivals (you can find the full list on their website, and it's truly impressive).

Big Daddy J's is a malt liquor that is golden in color and hopped with Hallertau Hersbrucker hops, perfectly balanced so that its clean and drinkable smoothness makes that 8 percent alcohol go down easily. It's part of the Brewer's Share series, small batches with each variety bearing the name of a brewmaster that donate a portion of the proceeds to charities. Once available only on tap in the brewery, Brewer's Share varieties are now available in both bottles and on tap during certain seasons (Big Daddy J's is available during autumn). Big Daddy J's won a silver medal at the 2012 World Beer Championships. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.04 out of 5.

Full Sail Official Website

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Tap Handle #261: Left Coast - Hop Juice

This was part of a group tap purchase, and I wasn't sure whether to keep it due to its simple design and "toy on a stick" look, but the price was so good I decided to add it to the collection.

Hop Juice is a double IPA monster that uses Premium American 2-Row and a touch of light crystal malt to create a solid malt foundation. Five different hop varieties are used; it spends two weeks dry hopping in the fermenter, contributing to its great hop aroma. The finished brew starts out sweet and finishes with the crisp bitterness of a double IPA. This drinkable blend will have you HOPPING till nights end. Hop Juice won a gold medal at the 2015 Las Vegas International Beer Competition, a bronze medal at the 2013 LA County Fair, a silver medal at the 2004 California State Fair, and a bronze medal at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival.

Ratebeer weighted average: 3.66 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  81 out of 100 (good)

For more about Left Coast, see this post.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tap Handle #260: Bulmer's - Strongbow Hard Cider

Another group purchase tap that was worth the low price I got it for. There's not much to it, but the arrows sticking out of the quiver are pretty awesome.

In 1962, H.P. Bulmer began crafting Strongbow in Hereford, England. It is named after the Cambro-Norman knight Richard de Clare, later Earl of Pembroke, nicknamed "Strongbow" for relying heavily on Welsh archers during campaigns in Ireland, where at the time the Irish had few bows and relied on javelins. By 1970, it was the second highest selling cider in the world after its Bulmer's stablemate Woodpecker. In 2003 Bulmers was purchased by Scottish & Newcastle, who in turn were taken over by Heineken in 2008. In January 2011, Heineken announced their intention to take the Strongbow brand global. Strongbow is currently the number one cider brand around the world.

Strongbow Cider is a blend of bitter-sweet cider and culinary apples, with 50 different varieties of apple used. The apples are grown in England and France. It is mass-produced using modern methods, and contains apple concentrate and sugar. It is fermented with a controlled yeast strain, and at least some varieties are flavored with artificial sweeteners. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 2.44 out of 5.

Strongbow Official Website