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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Friday, September 27, 2013

Tap Handle #320: Newcastle - Bombshell Pale Blonde Ale

This is a beautiful tap featuring a buxom blond holding a beach ball. Following on the heels of their Werewolf tap, Newcastle is on a roll!

Bombshell is an English style blonde ale. The combination of Cascade, Hellertau and Northdown hops balance this golden colored ale’s light aroma and bitterness with toasted malt to ensure a silky smooth finish. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 2.69 out of 5.

For more about Newcastle, see this post.

Tap Handle #319: New Belgium - Dig

This is another tap that was a gift from Patty, my grandmother. It's kind of figural, but more like abstract art...it's shaped like a surfboard but has holes in the side like a steel girder. It probably has something to do with a bicycle based on the brewery's history. All varieties use this same basic shape, with the only difference being the label (of which Fat Tire is the most well-known). The red button at the top is reflective, so when a photo is taken with the flash on, the button glows like it is lit. These are really common.

New Belgium Brewing was founded in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1991 by Jeff Lebesch. After touring Europe on a bicycle in 1989, Lebesch, an electrical engineer, returned with recipes and ideas for his home brewing hobby. He first created Fat Tire and Abbey, and his Belgian-inspired brews garnered enough praise from friends and neighbors that Jeff and his wife, Kim Jordan, took their basement brewery commercial. Jordan, social worker by day and mother of two children, was the bottler, sales rep, distributor, marketer and financial planner, and recruited a neighbor for artwork. Next they brought on Peter Bouckaert, a Belgian Brewmaster previously working at Rodenbach. Bouckaert assumed brewing duties and Jordan became CEO, as Lebesch began pursuing other interests.

The brewery is housed in a large glass and weathered-wood building, with vintage bicycles parked outside, and is located adjacent to the public bike path along the Cache La Poudre River. In 2009, Lebesch left the company completely, and by 2010, New Belgium was the third-largest craft brewery and seventh-largest overall brewery in the United States. In 2012 they decided expansion was necessary, and began construction on a second brewery in Asheville, North Carolina, to expand into east coast markets by 2015. Currently New Belgium has over 480 employees and over $180 million in sales, with distribution to 32 states. They brew 9 year-round varieties and 17 seasonal/special/small-batch varieties, and their beers have won over 90 awards at festivals and competitions. The company is now 100% employee-owned and has been frequently selected as one of the best places to work in the U.S.

New Belgium Dig is an American Pale Ale with Sorachi Ace hops providing a fresh Spring zing with incredible lemon aroma, and Nelson Sauvin hops with bursts of passion fruit, mango and peach. Cascade and Centennial hops round out this crisp, clean Pale Ale. This beer is not currently in production, according to their website. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.33 out of 5.

New Belgium Official Website

Thursday, September 19, 2013

On Vacation Again

My vacation is nearly over, so I'm headed to Las Vegas this weekend for a little fun. I'll return with new posts early next week...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tap Handle #318: Kona - Koko Brown

I got this tap as a gift from my grandmother, Patty, and it's my fifth Kona tap. It's very beautiful and has a lot of detail.

For more about Kona, see this post.

Tap Handle #317: Arcadia Ales - IPA

This tap had been #2 on my wishlist for a long time before I finally obtained it. Arcadia discontinued them since they were prone to breaking...in fact several of the taps I've seen in the past had cracked handles or chips. They now use simpler wooden taps, so these figural sword and anvil taps have become extremely rare, and one in good condition may be even harder to find.

Arcadia Ales was founded in 1996 in Battle Creek, Michigan by entrepreneur Tim Suprise. Suprise established the brewery along with several other shareholders, and located it in an old building that was originally the first Chevrolet dealership in Battle Creek. TC's Wood-Fired Fare is the accompanying restaurant that was founded alongside the microbrewery. All beers are produced on the brewery's Peter Austin brewhouse, and open-fermented in the brewery's cellar, using a traditional English Ale yeast. Its products are distributed in Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, and New York. The company has begun construction of a new facility on Kalamazoo's downtown riverfront, representing a $5.4 million investment in developing a mixed-use facility that is to include a packaging microbrewery, company office space, riverfront pub/eatery, and a riverfront beer garden, and is scheduled for completion in 2014. The expansion will allow Arcadia to eventually produce up to 60,000 barrels per year, with another 1,500 to 2,000 barrels of beer brewed in experimental batches at the original Battle Creek location once the Kalamazoo location is operational.

Arcadia Ales IPA is dry-hopped with Columbus hops in their open fermenters, boasting a bright floral aroma and flavor reminiscent of pine and lemon peel. The pronounced hop bitterness is balanced by a medium-bodied caramel and biscuity malt character with a nutty finish. It showcases many subtle earthy bitter notes, rather than the resinous citrus-rind bite often featured in many American-style IPAs. Recommended food pairings are Indian cuisine, Cajun, Creole, aged bleu cheese, and grilled seafood or shellfish. It won a gold medal at the 1998 World Beer Championships. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.17 out of 5.

Arcadia Ales Official Website

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tap Handle #316: Kokanee Sasquatch Footprint

This is a tap that Kelly has owned for years, and he decided that it should become part of the collection. It features a six-toed footprint that ties in to Kokanee's use of Sasquatch in their marketing. Kokanee makes several different figural taps, from snowboards to wood signs. This is a very rare tap, I've only seen 1 or 2 others.

Kokanee is named after the Kokanee Glacier, and traces its origins to the Columbia Brewery. Located in Creston, British Columbia, the Columbia Brewery was once a part of the Fort Steele Brewery, which was opened in 1898 by brewmaster Albert Mutz. In 1901 the Fort Steele brewery relocated to Fernie where it later became known as the Fernie/Fort Steele brewery. This was one of four breweries operating in the Kootenay area at this time. The other active breweries were Cranbrook, Nelson, and Trail. In the late 1950s, these breweries were combined under one name, Interior Breweries, and were later combined yet again to a central location of Creston. Creston became the ideal location because of its excellent water source and was in the heart of the geographical market.

In 1959 Interior Breweries began producing their beer in the newly built brewery in Creston. It was at this time that the Kokanee brand was introduced and marketed to locals. In 1972, Interior Breweries became known as the Columbia Brewing Company and launched provincial distribution of its beer. In 1974, Columbia Brewing Company was purchased by the Labatt Brewing Company, with plans on expanding the Columbia market. The Columbia Brewing Company was renamed in 1993 to Columbia Brewery. Labatt was then bought by Interbrew (which later became AB-InBev). The Columbia Brewery brewed three varieties of Kokanee, as well as Wildcat and Alexander Keith's, and in 2012 Labatt announced that Budweiser would be brewed there after investing $1.4 million to increase capacity. Kokanee is also brewed at Labatt's Edmonton plant.

Since Labatt took over the brewery in 1974 with expansion in mind, Kokanee has become noted for its marketing, including the use of Sasquatch, the Kokanee Ranger (who pursued Sasquatch), and the Glacier Girls (who the Kokanee Ranger recruited to help capture Sasquatch). In an online promotion, fans voted on killing off the Kokanee Ranger, although his ghost appeared in subsequent ads. Another promotion was held for the Ranger's replacement, and fans chose Glacier and Fresh, a Starsky and Hutch type buddy duo, who beat out a foul-mouthed goat, a day trader, and Ma Ranger (the Kokanee Ranger's mother) among others. In 2013, a full length feature film was released by Kokanee titled "The Movie Out Here", and featured many of Kokanee's ad characters.

Kokanee is a pale lager that is smooth, clean and lightly hopped. It is brewed with mountain stream fed water and a blend of 3 malts and features a unique combination of superior Western-grown North American hops. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 2.11 out of 5.

Kokanee Offical Website

Tap Handle #315: Hacker-Pschorr - Maibock

This is one of two Hacker-Pschorr figural taps that I've seen, and it is the more rare of the two by far. It features a goat with red eyes in a barrel, drinking out of a frothing tankard. I was lucky to grab mine at a great price due to the rarity (this beer is no longer referred to as Maibock) and the fact that since it's from Germany, it isn't readily available here in the U.S. A really beautiful tap.

The Hacker brewery was founded in 1417 in Munich, Germany. In 1793 brewery servant Joseph Pschorr married Maria Theresa Hacker, daughter of brew master Peter Paul Hacker and acquired his father-in-law’s house and brewery. In the next 15 years, through hard work and with a talent for business, he transformed the small Hacker Brewery into the top brewery among some 50 operating in Munich. When Ludwig I, the Crown Prince of Bavaria, was to celebrate his wedding in Munich in 1810, he decided it was an occasion for all of Bavaria to celebrate. He commissioned Pschorr (among other Munich brewers) to develop special brews to commemorate the occasion, which today is known as Oktoberfest. In 1820, Pschorr purchased the Bauerhansl Brewery and other buildings in the Neuhauserstra├če to build the Pschorr Brewery.

In 1841 Joseph Pschorr died, bequeathing equal shares of the brewery to his sons Georg and Matthias Pschorr. George took over the Pschorr Brewery and Matthias assumed control of the Hacker Brewery. From this point on, the two breweries were operated independently, but in close proximity to each other. The brothers both constructed state-of-the-art breweries, and benefited from a direct rail line connecting to the train network for their high volume of shipping and export all over the world. During the first half of the 20th century, both the Hacker and Pschorr breweries weathered a series of tragedies – World War I, inflation, the Nazi regime, and World War II. Because of heavy bombing damage during the second war, facilities of the remaining breweries were shared. In 1972, economic and physical changes to the beer market led to an agreement to merge the two companies into Hacker-Pschorr Brewing.

By Munich law, only the six breweries within the city limits of Munich are invited to serve their beer at Oktoberfest. Hacker-Pschorr is one of the six. They currently produce 15 different varieties, although several of those are seasonal. Paulaner HP USA imports Hacker-Pschorr and Paulaner in the U.S.

Hacker-Pschorr Maibock (now referred to as Hubertus Bock) is a heller bock made with barley malts and plentiful Hallertau hopping. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.16 out of 5.

Hacker-Pschorr Official English Website ( for a real challenge, check out the original German site here)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tap Handle #314: Flying Dog - Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale

I obtained this tap as part of a group purchase. It's not very figural, with just a small "flying dog" attached to the top of the handle, but with a name like "Doggie Style" it's worth hanging on to. They are pretty common. Differences between varieties include the graphics around the base of the handle and different labels.

Flying Dog Brewery was founded in Aspen, Colorado in 1990 as a brewpub, by George Stranahan, Jim Caruso, and Richard McIntyre. Stranahan is an astrophysicist with a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University and a mountain climber, photographer, rancher, writer, philanthropist, and an educator who has founded three schools. After returning from climbing K2 (the 2nd highest peak in the world), Stranahan saw a painting in Pakistan of a dog flying and the image stuck with him. Returning to the U.S., he co-founded the brewery, the first to open in Aspen in over 100 years, and one of the first brewpubs in the Rocky Mountain region.

Flying Dog has an iconic brand identity featuring the art of Ralph Steadman, best known for his surreal illustrations of Hunter S. Thompson’s articles and books. The reputation of Flying Dog beers grew quickly, and demand soon exceeded the brewpub’s capacity. In 1994 Flying Dog opened a 50-barrel brewery in Denver, Colorado from which its ales were distributed to more than 45 states, and became Colorado's 2nd largest craft brewer. In 2006, Flying Dog acquired the Wild Goose brand when they purchased the Frederick Brewing Company located in Frederick, Maryland for $1.7 million. In 2008 the last bottles rolled off the Denver line and all production was moved to the Maryland facility, although their headquarters remains in Denver. Increased costs for raw materials prompted the relocation to Frederick, as well as the fact that the company sells more than 60 percent of its beer east of the Mississippi River, and the Frederick brewery is huge, able to produce 100,000 barrels per year. In 2010 they sold the Wild Goose brand to the Logan Shaw Brewing Company.

Currently Flying Dog is concerned about packaging from Wild Blue, Rascal’s Wild Red and Shadow’s Wild Black, three fruit-infused lagers that have canine mascots and are adorned with scribbly artwork reminiscent of Steadman’s style. All are brewed by A-B Inbev. Many consumers are complaining about the packaging of these products being too close of a resemblance to Flying Dog packaging. Flying Dog does not have the resources to challenge a giant company like A-B Inbev, and must live with the risk that poor ratings from the copycat brands could affect the Flying Dog brand.

Doggie Style Classic ia a pale ale with grassy, citrus hop aroma, a brilliant amber-copper color and pleasant malt flavor that comes from the addition of Carastan malts. It won a silver medal in the 1999 Great American Beer Festival. Recommended food pairings are cheddar cheese, burgers, barbecue, Thai, and Mexican. Weighted average on ratebeer.com is 3.28 out of 5.

Flying Dog Official Website

Friday, September 6, 2013

On Vacation

Sorry for the lack of posts, I've taken a much needed vacation to Seattle this week. I should have some new taps up by Sunday or Monday...