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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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reviews For The Sweet Tooth Quick Hits: Sonoma Cider, Johnny Appleseed Cider, Ciderboys Cider, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, Pelican Kiwanda Cream Ale, Square Mile Cider

Happy New Year everyone! While I was waiting for a friend doing Christmas shopping in World Market a couple of weeks ago, I noticed they had a special "build your own six pack" deal, with an extra 20% off at the register. So I thought, why not? I picked out Sonoma Cider's "The Anvil" Bourbon Hard Cider, a Pelican Brewing Kiwanda Cream Ale (which I picked up the tap handle for a couple days later!), Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale, Johnny Appleseed Hard Cider, Ciderboys "Mad Bark" Cinnamon Hard Cider, and a Scuttlebutt Amber Ale. Okay, that last one I bought because I liked the label and ended up giving it to my dad on Christmas Day. Then my dad presented me with a six pack of Square Mile Hard Cider! The following is a quick summary of what I thought of each one...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tap Handle #457: Zuma - Cancun Pilsner

Tap size:  11"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  large 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

The first thing you notice about the Zuma Cancun tap is the beautiful deep blue color of the lizard hanging on the side. Its tail is wrapped around the base of the tap. At the very bottom appears the words "Atlanta, GA". On the back is a mark we have seen on other taps profiled on this site like Rock Creek Nuttrageous and Drop Kick: an S inside of a C, followed by an '05, dating the tap to the height of Zuma Brewing's success, when their beers were winning regional competitions. I really wanted this tap for the beautiful lizard and also because the brewery is closed and the tap is scarce...I have never seen another.

Click through to read more about Zuma Brewing, their Cancun Pilsner, and to see more photos of this vibrant tap...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Tap Handle #456: Widmer - Green and Gold Kolsch

Tap size:  11.5"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This tap was a very generous gift from a gentleman who used to work for a tap manufacturing company. I thought it was a great acquisition due to the fact that it's a brewery local to me (Portland) and was made for the Portland Timbers soccer team's fan base, which is known as the Timbers Army and is legendary in its rabid following of the team. The tap is made to look like a cut log, which is appropriate since the Timbers are associated with the slowly declining (but still prominent) timber industry in Oregon. The front and back of the tap are identical, but the top pieces can rotate to create a different look if desired. It was created for a Timbers Army homebrew competition winning entry and had a limited distribution, so the tap is very scarce...I've never seen another.

For more about Widmer Brewing, see this post.

Click through to read more about Widmer's Green and Gold Kolsch and to see more photos of this manly tap...

Friday, December 26, 2014

Tap Handle #455: Morgan Street - Golden Pilsner

Tap size:  9"
Rarity:  Rare
Mounting:  large 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

For quite some time I resisted acquiring this tap, because I thought the chubby, smiling bear with red eyes was too funny-looking, but when I had the chance to purchase one at a decent price I couldn't resist. The bear is standing on cut rock and holding a sign with the Morgan Street Brewery logo on it. Around the base is a label with the name of the variety of beer. The large ferrule is always a nice touch. The tap used to be easier to find, but seems to be in less supply. If one is patient, however, they can be had at a good price.

Click through to read more about Morgan Street Brewery, their award-winning Golden Pilsner, and to see more photos of the tap...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tap Handle #454: Mellow Mushroom (Red Brick) - Bogart Ale

Tap size:  9.25"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This is the first of two taps I'll be profiling that feature an Alice in Wonderland theme. Alice in Wonderland was a book written by Lewis Carroll in 1865 that has since been featured in print, illustrations, paintings, cartoons, TV shows and movies. The Mellow Mushroom tap is gorgeous - the colors are bold and bright, but it's the detailed sculpting that really sets it apart from other taps. Featuring a caterpillar and Alice on top of a mushroom, the caterpillar has 6 arms (which are all holding bottles of beer) and 2 legs, with the word "Bogart" on its belly indicating the name of the beer. And check the pupils in Alice's eyes - it shows that a lot of attention to detail was placed in the tap's design and production. The tap is very hard to find...although there are many Mellow Mushroom locations, Bogart Ale was only offered locally in the Atlanta area. The beer has been out of production for many years, and these taps are prone to damage thanks to all of the caterpillar's arms and the fragile mushroom that got beat up (since there is no ferrule). If you see one you should grab it, because I've only ever seen 5 that weren't damaged. However, the skyrocketing price of this tap, along with its scarcity, might make acquiring one very difficult.

Click through to read more about Mellow Mushroom pizza restaurants and to see more photos of this whimsical tap...

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Tap Handle #453: Lone Star - Pistol

Tap size:  9" tall x 5" deep
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

I had wanted this tap for quite some time and missed out several times before acquiring it. It is the most rare and desirable of all the Lone Star taps, which makes it the most expensive and the hardest to obtain. It is definitely coveted by mancave owners since it depicts a revolver. If it wasn't for the trigger being filled in, it would actually look quite real. Mine has a little paint peeling but is in otherwise great condition. I listed the depth in the tap size because it is so wide that I had to move it away from the backdrop at certain angles in order to photograph it. There is a Lone Star Light version of the same tap, with the exception of  blue lettering on the handle instead of red.

For more about Lone Star, see this post.

Click through to see more photos of this coveted tap...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tap Handle #452: Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery - High Altitude Pale Ale

Tap size: 11"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This tap was a bit difficult to photograph properly, as the internal nut was not mounted squarely, making the tap tilt to one side. This "tilt" is commonly found on many older taps. Although this tap is mostly flat, it is only partially bas relief style - the bighorn sheep is fully three-dimensional. The sheep stands on top of a snowy peak with a patch of clouds hanging behind the mountains, and his cartoonish features make him quite a character. Since the Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery is a relatively small outfit, and this beer has been discontinued for some time, this tap is extremely rare - I've never seen another like it.

Click through to read more about Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery, their retired High Altitude Pale Ale, and to see more photos of this lofty tap...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tap Handle #451: Williams Orchards (Sunshine Imports) - Excalibur Hard Apple Cider

Tap size:  10"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

When I first obtained this tap, I mistakenly thought it was from England. It was only after I did the research for this post that I discovered it was used to dispense Williams Hard Cider in the Southern California area. However, the majority of the imported cider goes into a canning line, so very few of these taps were made. Featuring the legendary sword of Arthurian legend, it depicts Excalibur in its most famous state - stuck in a stone, waiting to be pulled out by King Arthur. The banner wrapped around the sword is a nice touch, as is the apple symbol on the hilt. The rarity of the tap, when combined with the loss of some taps due to breakage, makes this one quite rare indeed, and the high secondary market price reflects that.

Click through to read more about Williams Hard Cider and Sunshine Imports, their Excalibur brand, and to see more photos of this legendary tap...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tap Handle #450: Fat Head's - Spooky Tooth Imperial Pumpkin Ale

Tap size:  9"
Rarity: Uncommon
Mounting:  large 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

With Fat Head's Brewery's opening of a new brewpub near me in Portland last month, you can expect a post next year since I plan to visit there. For now, however, I'll settle for profiling their tap and brewery history. This tap looks amazingly like the chubby guy on the label. He's quite the character, bald and potbellied, wearing nothing but sunglasses and a barrel, and holding a frothing mug of beer. There's a label attached to both the front and back that indicates the variety of beer. The detail is excellent, and the Spooky Tooth label (which seems to be a pretty rare one) depicts the Fat Head guy as a vampire. Thanks to the soaring popularity of the brewery, these taps are plentiful and easy to find on the secondary market, and are reasonably priced.

Click through to read more about Fat Head's Saloon & Brewery, their Spooky Tooth Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and to see more photos of this hilarious tap...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Tap Handle #449: Choc Beer Company (Krebs Brewing) - Basement Batch

Tap size:  11.75"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  large 3/8" ferrule

When you first look at this tap, you might think it's just a pair of handcuffs and not understand how it connects to the brewery. All of the Choc's core beers are called "Story" beers. Founder Joe Prichard's grandfather, Pete Prichard, is the subject of the "Story" beers, with each beer (and tap handle design) representing a significant event in Pete's life. Basement Batch represents the period of Pete's life from Prohibition through the 1960s, when Pete brewed choc beer illegally in his basement and was eventually incarcerated for doing so. The handcuffs on the tap handle are associated with that incarceration, giving the tap a symbolic meaning that goes far beyond the average tap. So although the tap isn't as elaborate as others, its "Story" is a perfect fit in my museum. The oversized black ferrule is quite unique too. The Basement Batch tap is very rare - I've only seen one other.

Click through to read more about Choc Beer Company, Pete Prichard (who paved the way for the brewery), their Basement Batch beer, and to see more photos of this storied tap...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tap Handle #448: Rock Creek - Nuttrageous Brown

Tap size:  9.25"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

I have seen 3 taps from the defunct Rock Creek Brewery, and this tap is the rarest of the 3. It features a man dressed in renaissance clothes, holding a tankard of beer in one hand and a pipe in the other, while leaning on a half-barrel. The name of the variety and the brewery appear below. All of the Rock creek taps use the same tapered white base. On the back of the white base is an "S" and a "C", along with a date of 1999, meaning it was produced when Rock Creek started up their new brewery in Raleigh, North Carolina. That same mark appears on the Weston Drop Kick Ale Tap, so both taps were manufactured by the same person or company. Like many older taps, the paint is starting to crack, especially on the back, but so far there is no peeling. This tap is very rare - I've never seen another, so its value is hard to determine.

Click through to read more about Rock Creek Brewery, their Nuttrageous Brown Ale, and to see more photos of the tap...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Tap Handle #447: Buzzards Bay

Tap size:  9"
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

This whimsical tap features a cartoonish-looking buzzard on top of a pier. There's also some coils of rope around the top of the pier, and a sign that says "IN SEASON". The detail on the buzzard isn't as good as it could be, but the rest of the tap is nicely done...the rope is actually grooved to resemble rope, and the pier has lines carved into it to make look like wood, and the coloring is well done. Mine has some paint peeling on the right side of the buzzard's head, but otherwise it's in good condition. The tap was used for all varieties, with no place for a label to indicate a variety. This tap is pretty rare, I've only seen about 3 others.

Click through to read more about Buzzards Bay and to see more photos of the tap...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Tap Handle #446: Big Rock - Canvasback Ale

Tap size:  8.5"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting: ???

Back on November 5th I wrote a post about the "Cream of the Crop", the taps that I would have trouble replacing due to price and rarity...this is one of the taps that made the list and was hinted at in the post. Though it's a little on the small side, it's very well done, featuring a duck floating among reeds and grasses. Many taps have a solid paint color slapped on them, but this tap features shadowing and highlights in the painting that show attention to detail and a lot of work. The mounting is a bit of a mystery - there is a deep hole in the bottom that is not threaded, and a 5/16" anchor bolt wasn't large enough to screw into it. This tap is very rare - I have never seen another.

Click through to read more about Big Rock's Canvasback Ale and to see more photos of this outstanding tap...

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tap Handle #445: Chesapeake Bay Brewing - Chesbay Pilsner

Tap size:  11.5"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  standard 3/8" ferrule on 5/16" anchor bolt

Like Florida Beer's Hurricane Reef tap and the Big Rock Fowl Mouth tap, this tap exemplifies a bas relief art style. Depicting an image of a great blue heron amid wetlands (which Chesapeake Bay is known for), the tap is from the second incarnation of the Chesapeake Bay Brewery (2001 - 2003) rather than the original brewery (1984-1990s). The flat back shows signs of the paint cracking, but so far there is no peeling, although some of the lettering has small spots of paint loss. This tap is extremely rare - I've never seen another.

Click through to read more about Chesapeake Bay Brewing Company, their Chesbay Pilsner, and to see more photos of this elegant tap...

Display Cabinets Still Available

I'm giving this post a "bump" to let everyone know that the display cabinets listed on the blog back in October are still for sale. The original post is as follows:


A blog reader in Delaware is selling some tap handle display cabinets. There are a total of 4 cabinets. Two cabinets are 55" x 3' which hold about 35 large taps and 35 smaller knobs; the other two cabinets are 55" x 4' which hold about 45 of each. So altogether the cabinets will hold about 160 large taps and 160 small taps/ball taps. They are made from white oak and plexiglass, and they do not come apart. The seller is asking $350 for each cabinet, or $1200 for all four.

Please note that no taps are included - this is only for the cabinets. Shipping these would probably be difficult, but if you live within driving distance of Delaware you should think about checking them out, as cabinets specifically for tap displays are very difficult to find, and not all of us are competent woodworkers.

If you are interested, please contact me using the "Contact Me" gadget over in the sidebar and I'll put you in touch with the seller. Here are some photos of the cabinets: