AMAZING TAP HANDLES!!!

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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.

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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.

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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...

Chesapeake Bay Brewing Company was founded in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1984 by Allen Young. Along with a ragtag group of beer lovers, Young had radical plans to sell German-style specialty beers on the East Coast. They started Chesapeake Bay Brewing, which was one of the first microbreweries on the East Coast, and soon became rising stars in a fledgling industry, winning a gold medal for their Double Bock in the inaugural Great American Beer Festival, and establishing a cult following in the brew pubs of suburban Washington. The brewery was pieced together using old equipment from a shuttered R.C. Cola plant, scrap dairy tanks and refurbished parts harvested from decommissioned Navy vessels.


Their signature creation, the Chesbay Double Bock, was revolutionary, but only a handful of pubs agreed to sell the award-winning beer. Six-packs of the brewery’s other offerings - Chesbay Amber and Chesbay Gold - collected dust on store shelves, and unfortunately, the unpasteurized lagers had short shelf lives and deteriorated badly when not kept refrigerated. The company changed its name to Virginia Brewing Co., but within a few years, the operation was shuttered. Young attributed the brewery's demise to being ahead of their time and on the wrong coast. He left Virginia Beach to work at another brewery, in an Ohio college town.


In 2001, the Chesapeake Bay Brewing Company was reborn in Raleigh, North Carolina in 2001 under Ernie F. Pride, a successful entrepreneur in other business ventures. The 22,000 sq. ft. brewery produced four different styles of beers, including a Pilsner, Pale Ale, Red Ale, and a Porter. Distribution was limited to the Mid-Atlantic States. Later that year they merged with two other local microbrewers: Rock Creek Brewing and Potomac River Brewing. But in 2003 the end finally came for Chesapeake Bay Brewing when lagging sales forced it to close its doors for good. The brewery site was sold to the Edenton Brewing Company in the fall of that same year. Edenton Brewing changed its name (and ownership) in 2007 to Big Boss Brewing Company, and still brews out of the old Chesapeake Bay brewery location today.


Chesbay Pilsner (also known as Chesbay Lager) poured to a deep golden color with a light fizzy head formation and an appetizing toasted malt nose. The brew had a medium body full with sweet toasty malt and rich and chewy toffee notes. The finish balanced nicely and led slightly to bitter. Recommended food pairings were stuffed cabbage rolls and fresh baked bread.


Ratebeer weighted average:  2.92 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  no listing


Since Chesapeake Brewing is long out of business, no address or website is provided.


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