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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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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...

Buzzards Bay was founded in Westport, Massachusetts in 1998 by Bill Russell. Bill's parents, Bob and Carol Russell, had purchased a vineyard in 1982. Bill, who had been producing wines for the family vineyard for many years, had long thought about brewing beer, and starting moonlighting at the Union Station Brewery in Providence. Soon after this, the Russells purchased the nearby historic "Smith Long Acre Farm." Following a family discussion, the Russells declared they would create an organizational structure that would participate in the agricultural use of those lands for the production of food, wine, and beer. The Buzzards Bay Brewery started producing 3,000 gallons of ale a day in 1998. They brewed, bottled, and packaged all of their microbrews, and used a portion of their 140 acres to grow hops, barley, and pumpkins for their ales and lagers. Their German-made Kunzel 4-roll mill cracked the malt into superlative grist, and a custom-made Newland's 3 vessel brew house assisted in converting that grist into ales. Their double pre-evacuation bottling process meant reduced oxygen levels in the bottles, which guaranteed that their products remained stable after bottling.

In 2009, Bill decided to quit making the namesake beer in the face of sliding sales. The brewery continued to contract brewing for Pretty Things, Cisco, and Strangford Lough (based in Ireland). Bill said the economy played a role in Buzzards Bay’s struggles, but he couldn't pinpoint a single cause for the slumping sales. The brewery didn't stop producing its own beer entirely; putting aside the European brewing techniques used to make Buzzards Bay beer, Bill decided to go with an American flavor and a local focus to start a new line called “Just Beer.” They produced a total of four new beers under the new label, which were served in a number of local restaurants. Bill claimed that the brewery was carbon neutral, the cleanest brewery in the country.

In 2013 the Buzzards Bay name returned to the brewery. Originally unable to legally serve beer consumed on the premises without a special permit, they opened a Tap Room and a Beer Garden. Several factors led to the expansion, including the relocation of the old farmhouse, changes in legislation, and the sale of their trademark for Just Beer to the Boston Beer Company. The Tap Room was constructed with funds from the sale of the Just Beer trademark, and borrows space from a room formally known as "The Lab," It now features a brand new serving area equipped with a bar and a large, open space with several stools and counter tops.

Buzzards Bay IPA is an American grown version of this classic ale and one of Buzzards Bay's signature beers. It uses two caramel malts, victory malt and wheat malt along with a complex blend of hops (including: warrior, cascades, palisades, ahtanum, zythos, simcoe) and is dry-hopped with several of these hop varieties.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.99 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  90 out of 100 (outstanding)

Buzzards Bay Brewing
98 Horseneck Rd
Westport, Massachusetts 02790

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