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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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tap Handle #275: Mad River - Jamaica Red Ale

This tap arrived as part of a group purchase, and it was so nice that I decided to keep it. This is another one of those taps where pictures don't do it justice. I've also seen a Steelhead version that has a green handle and it's quite nice as well.

Mad River was founded in 1989 in Blue Lake, California by Bob Smith. In the late seventies, Smith became a member of the original group that founded the “Humbrewers Guild”, and dreamed of opening his own craft brewery. While buying home brewing supplies, Smith met Ken Grossman, who ran a homebrew store in Chico. After Grossman shared his plans to build a brewery in Chico to be called Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Smith became determined to found a similar brewery in Humboldt County. In 1989, Sierra Nevada, having outgrown its starting brewery and with a new larger plant under construction, offered to sell their original equipment to Smith. In turn, Smith developed a prospectus and found the investors necessary to establish the corporation known as Mad River Brewing Company.

Construction began that winter, and in late 1990 the first draft Steelhead reached the market. Occupying just 4000 square feet and having a bottling line that took all six employees (including the office person) to run, Mad River sold twice as much beer as projected for its first full year of sales. Increasing demand in many markets outside of the Humboldt area allowed Mad River to grow about 30% per year. To keep up with demand, the plant grew to 12,000 square feet, with 20 employees including 5 full time packaging people. They also won awards, with Steelhead Extra Pale Ale and John Barleycorn Barleywine winning gold medals at The Great American Brew Festival. Mad River currently produces 6 year-round ales and 4 reserves. They were built on the foundation of reuse and recycle, long before it became cool to be a “green” business.

Jamaica Red Ale was originally brewed for a famous Reggae festival that happens each year in Humboldt County. It is a malty bitter American Amber style ale, with a mahogany hue. It brings an intense spectrum of hop flavors from the spicy aromatic to lingering bitter, all underscored by a full- bodied caramel richness. Recommended food pairing is Jamaican Jerked Chicken. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.32 out of 5.

Mad River Official Website

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tap Handle #274: Samuel Adams - Octoberfest

This is my second Samuel Adams Octoberfest tap (the first can be found here). I was not initially impressed by this tap when it was first released, but once I obtained one in a group purchased, I really liked it. All varieties are similar, with differences in the names on the label and handle. The tap has 3 sides.

For more about Samuel Adams, see this post.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tap Handle #273: Iron Fist - Renegade Blonde

I've seen two breweries that use fists as their taps: Revolution and Iron Fist. Both are similar, although Revolution taps are colored while I've only seen silver on the Iron Fist. Both are also expensive. This is really a heavy and superb tap.

I couldn't find out much about Iron Fist. They were founded in Vista, California (near San Diego) in 2010 by the Sieminski family. Young brewmaster Brandon Sieminski has won accolades for his recipes, and Iron Fist filled in a hole created from Green Flash Brewery's move from Vista to Mira Mesa, which has caused the brewery to increase in popularity. The family-run business focuses on community and a tight-knit feel. They focus on Belgian-inspired ales, with 10 brews on tap in their brewpub.

Renegade Blonde is a Kölsch Style Blonde with a crisp, malty flavor and a refreshingly bitter finish, not unlike a lager. With age, it develops a mild, fruity character, like an ale. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.2 out of 5.

Iron Fist Brewing Official Website

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tap Handle #272: Lost Abbey

This is a nice tap that reminds me of the Moylans and Nola taps that also feature a cross. One size fits all with this tap - it's not variety-specific and is used for all Lost Abbey brews.

Lost Abbey's origins began in Solano Beach, California in 1987 by Vince and Gina Marsaglia. The two siblings bought a struggling pizza place called Pizza Port and turned it into a local favorite. Vince took advantage of free space in the restaurant’s storage area to dabble with home brewing. At the urging of friends and fans, Vince and Gina decided to go into the brewpub business. Pizza Port offered its first craft-brewed beers to patrons in 1992. In 1997 the company opened a second location a few miles north of Solana Beach in Carlsbad, and a third in 2003 in San Clemente. That same year the original location in Solana Beach won Great American Beer Festival “Small Brewpub of the Year”.

In 2006 Vince and Gina expanded production by brewing in a facility formerly owned by Stone Brewing Company in San Marcos. They joined with Tomme Arthur and Jim Comstock to form two brands in the same building, Port Brewing and Lost Abbey. With Port Brewing focused on American ales, Lost Abbey's brews were Belgian-inspired. Five beers are issued under the Lost Abbey label year-round, and a number of seasonal and specialty releases are offered at various times throughout the year. As many of these are blended and aged for up to 18 months in French Oak, Brandy and Bourbon barrels, Lost Abbey beers are universally recognized for their complexity, unique flavors, and bold, boundary-pushing styles. Their brews have won numerous awards at the Great American Beer Festival. They are currently looking for a second location that will house the Lost Abbey brand on its own.

As a Catholic-raised Christian, Arthur attempts to brew his beers using religion as the basis and context for his brews. This has led to some controversy for the brewery, however, especially over the release of Witch's Wit, a summer seasonal with the label depicting a woman being burned at the stake. Many people found this offensive and organized a boycott of the brewery.

Lost Abbey's highest-rated brew is probably Serpent's Stout, a thick and opaque winter seasonal with hints of mocha, caramel, and vanilla. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 4.03 out of 5.

Lost Abbey Official Website (this website is more like a blog)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Tap Handle #271: Brasserie Lefebvre - Blanche de Bruxelles

There are a few different variations of this tap - such as the boy standing on a flat base and a smaller one of the boy on a pedestal. You would expect it to be more expensive since it is from an overseas brewery and not readily available. The tap is based on the Manneken Pis, a famous statue in Belgium of a little boy peeing into a fountain (pictured to the right).

The Lefebvre brewery was founded in Quenast (in the Brabant region of Wallonia, the French speaking district of Belgium in the valley of the Senne), in 1876 by Jules Lefebvre. Lefebvre was a gamekeeper, farmer, inn keeper and brewer, who opened his pub near the neighboring porphyry quarries so that the numerous workmen, made thirsty by stone working, could come to refresh themselves. In 1916, during the first World War, the brewery was dismantled when the occupying Germans commandeered metals. In 1921,  Jules's son Auguste moved the brewery from the centre of the village towards a neighbouring hill in order to avoid the annual floods of the Seine. The new brewery was installed in the place of a brewery that had been in bankruptcy, in the location where the present buildings are. Also in 1921, Gaston, Auguste's son, modernized the brewery by starting the bottling of beer.

During the period from 1940 to 1945, the war and the death of the wife of Gaston slowed the activities of the brewery down. The brewery was not dismantled but was obligated to produce beer with a low alcohol level. In 1960, Pierre Lefebvre took over the brewery, and in 1975, Philippe Lefebvre, the 5th generation brewer and holding a diploma in marketing, assumed control of the brewery. In 1980 the brewery started exporting beer. In 1983, the Abbey of Floreffe entrusted the Lefebvre family with a licence for the brewing of its special beers. The license included 3 beers at the beginning but quickly widened to 5.

In 1989, a white beer was added and named Manneken Pis ("Little Man Pee"). A couple of U.S. states banned sales of the beer in the 1990s, due to the name and its label depicting the famous Brussels fountain of the same name. The brewery changed the name of the beer to Blanche de Bruxelles and was able to keep the image on the label, which was important for a brewery with an export market that accounts for 80% of overall production. Paul Lefebvre, the son of Philippe, currently runs the brewery, with a lineup of about 15 varieties.

Blanche de Bruxelles is a Belgian White that owes its natural cloudiness to the large percentage (40 %) of wheat that goes into its composition. The natural spice aromas of coriander and bitter orange peels are added during the brewing process. The brewing method, which includes infusion, is very slow. The beer, which is not filtered, is bottled and re-fermented with yeast and brewing sugar. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.12 out of 5.

Brasserie Lefebvre Official Website (the site is in English and is well done)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tap Handle #270: North Coast - Pranqster Pale Ale

I had my eye on this one ever since I visited taphandles.com and saw all the cool taps they have made for various breweries. It's really a great tap - I love how the inside is "hollowed out" and you can look through the Q.

North Coast Brewing was founded in 1988 as a local brewpub in the historic town of Fort Bragg, on California’s Mendocino Coast, by brewmaster and president Mark Ruedrich. Throughout the years the brewery developed a strong reputation for quality, winning more than 70 awards in national and international competitions. In 1994, North Coast acquired the rights to Acme Beer, a brand with a heritage dating back to the San Francisco of the 1860s. North Coast currently brews 19 varieties and is the 42nd largest craft brewery in America, with distribution in 47 states, as well as Europe and the Pacific Rim.

Pranqster is a Belgian style pale ale using a mixed culture of antique yeast strains that results in a floral nose, a full fruity flavor and a clean finish. Recommended food pairings are beef tenderloin marsala, tomatoes stuffed with shrimp, melon, and coconut flan. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.48 out of 5.

North Coast Brewing Official Website